The aloe vera plant has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It originated in the Arabian Peninsula but now grows in tropical and arid climates around the world. This widely used plant has been touted for its amazing healing powers for wounds of all kinds. Recently, aloe vera has gained the attention of many for its anti-aging properties. Read on to learn more about the aloe vera benefits for your skin, and side effects.
Topical aloe vera may offer several benefits for the skin, such as anti-aging, wound healing, moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
Several smaller studies have demonstrated obvious aloe vera benefits for the skin, but larger studies are needed.
For most people, topical aloe vera is generally well-tolerated and rarely causes any side effects.
What is aloe vera?
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that stores tremendous amounts of water in its leaves, It is well-suited to warmer climates, especially where water is scarce. Keep in mind that aloe vera craves plenty of sunlight, so if you want to grow your own, make sure you select the right location. There are many varieties of aloe vera, and only a handful possess the properties that rejuvenate the skin.
Benefits of aloe vera
The effectiveness of topical aloe vera for treating a wide range of medical conditions has been the subject of numerous claims. Despite the few studies and lack of research, the results are encouraging. However, more research with larger studies is needed to prove its benefits.
Here are some of the skin benefits that topical aloe vera may offer:
- Anti-inflammatory. The aloe vera plant contains compounds that reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. This may be helpful when treating conditions, such as eczema, acne, and sunburns.
- Antimicrobial. Aloe vera has some antimicrobial properties which may help improve acne and heal superficial cuts and abrasions.
- Moisturizing. Aloe vera can help moisturize dry skin without making it feel greasy. This is also helpful when treating skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
- Antioxidants. The aloe vera plant is full of antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E. These antioxidants protect the skin from damage from the sun's free radicals. This may make it beneficial for use for anti-aging and healing sunburns.
- Wound healing. Aloe vera has the ability to increase collagen production and cell renewal. This may help heal minor cuts and abrasions and superficial thermal burns quicker than other treatments.
- Skin lightening. Because aloe vera increases cell turnover, it may help lighten dark spots on the skin.
How to use aloe vera on the skin?
The first thing you must decide is whether to make your own aloe vera products or use store-bought ones, such as face masks, scrubs, cleansers, gels, and creams.
Pre-made aloe vera
If you decide on a pre-made aloe vera product, follow the directions on the back of the product. It is usually used once or twice a day, depending on what you are treating. Check the ingredients to make sure aloe vera leaf juice is the first ingredient and not aloe vera extract. As a result, you will receive better results because it will be more concentrated. To be effective, it should also include 15–25% aloe vera.
DIY aloe vera
To create your own DIY aloe vera gel, you will need a leaf from another person's plant or one that you grow yourself. Make sure you take a leaf off of a fully grown plant. If you own a plant, trim a leaf from the outside near the base of the plant. Once you harvest the aloe gel, you can use it as an aloe vera mask by applying it and letting it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse. If you want to use the aloe gel as an aloe vera moisturizer, just apply it and leave it on. To make a face scrub, combine it with sugar and coconut oil.
Follow these steps to make aloe vera gel:
- Turn the leaf upside down to drain out the latex, which is the white substance that will leak out of the plant after it is cut.
- Cut open the leaf and remove the tough outer skin.
- Scoop out the gel-like pulp on the inside of the leaf.
- Apply the pulp directly to your skin or mix it with preservatives, like vitamins C and E.
- Without preservatives, fresh aloe gel will last about a week in the refrigerator. With preservatives, it can last two months. You can also freeze it for 6 months.
How long does it take to see results from aloe vera?
Depending on what you are using topical aloe vera to treat, it may take several weeks to see visible results. If you are treating superficial thermal burns, cuts, and abrasions, aloe vera will show improvement in the wound within a few days. The moisturizing capabilities of aloe vera become apparent almost immediately. However, any anti-aging and acne benefits will likely take several weeks to months, so be patient.
Side effects of aloe vera
Aloe vera is generally well tolerated and has minimal adverse effects when applied topically. In rare cases, symptoms like hives, redness, stinging, itching, allergies, swelling, and rash may appear. Additionally, applying aloe vera topically is unlikely to cause interactions with prescription medication.
If you have a latex allergy, be sure to avoid contact with that part of the plant. It is always best to talk to your doctor before starting any new products to ensure they are right for you.
Who should not use aloe vera?
Most people can safely use topical aloe vera. However, some should avoid using it:
- Aloe vera may cause an allergic reaction if you are allergic to any members of the Lily family, such as onions or garlic.
- Avoid applying aloe vera if you have any allergies.
- Do not use aloe vera if you have deep burns, cuts, or active infections; instead, see your doctor right away.
- Finally, if you are pregnant or nursing, it may be best to avoid any products before consulting with your obstetrician.
Aloe vera is a popular natural treatment that has been around for centuries. It is easy to use topically and is usually safe for most people. However, there is a lack of substantial evidence to support its many uses, and larger randomized controlled trials are needed. If you want to try using topical aloe vera, talk to your doctor first to see if it can benefit you.
Is it good to use aloe vera on your face daily?
Yes, you can use aloe vera moisturizers on your face every day. They are generally well-tolerated and have few side effects. If you are concerned, try a test spot. You should not use aloe vera scrubs or face masks every day.
What does aloe vera do for your skin?
Aloe vera offers many benefits for the skin. It contains wound healing, moisturizing, skin lightening, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It is also beneficial for all skin types.
Does aloe vera clear skin?
Because of aloe vera's anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, it may help clear some cases of mild acne. It can also help moisturize acne-prone skin without clogging your pores. If you have moderate to severe acne, talk to your dermatologist first. Some mix homemade aloe vera gel with tea tree oil to help fight acne.
- Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences. The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review.
- Acta Pharmaceutica. Application of medicinal plants in several dermatovenerological entities.
- Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. Moisturizers for Acne: What are their Constituents?