Though Aloe Vera has been used for millennia by many different ancient civilizations, the Western world was quick to catch on to its therapeutic benefits. The Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality”, and it has many applications in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
Aloe can be consumed internally or can be applied topically to skin. For the purpose of this article, I’ll be talking about how Aloe is good for the skin and the different ailments for which it is used.
Inside the Aloe leaf, there is a clear gel which can be applied to the skin and hair, fresh out of the plant. In cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, the gel of the Aloe leaf is often mixed with other ingredients to potentiate and complement its effects. It is then applied to the skin in the same manner.
Let’s have a look at some of the ways Aloe can be a beneficial ingredient for your skincare routine.
1. Aloe is a treatment for sunburn
Pharmacy, health food store and supermarket shelves are flooded with Aloe Vera after sun products. This is because the most typical application for Aloe Vera is in the treatment of burned skin. It can even be applied to burns acquired from something other than the sun, but most commonly, it is used to treat sunburn. The main mechanism of action is that Aloe is extremely hydrating, restoring moisture to the skin that is lost after long exposure to UV rays.
Even if your skin hasn’t been burned, you can use Aloe as a moisturizer. After all, its hydrating properties are what make it so apt as an after-sun treatment. For women, Aloe can be used with or without another moisturizer. And for men, Aloe can be used as a natural, hydrating skin moisturizer after shaving.
3. For acne treatment
In Ayurvedic medicine, Aloe is a go-to treatment for any kind of chronic skin condition, whether it be eczema, psoriasis or acne. Inflammation is a big aspect of acne, and as an anti-inflammatory, Aloe can help to reduce any swelling and redness that usually comes with acne. On top of that, the compounds Auxin and Gibberellins are present in the Aloe plant. They are growth hormones of the plant, and stimulate the growth of new skin cells.
4. Stretch marks
The skin is an extremely elastic organ with the ability to stretch and contract without losing its elasticity. However, there are certain times in a person’s life where the skin stretches a lot and very rapidly, leaving stretch marks behind. Pregnancy is a perfect example, or any other situation where a lot of weight is gained or lost in a small amount of time. These marks are kind of like wounds, and Aloe’s wound healing abilities can help to reduce the presence of stretch marks.
5. Good skin health relies on nutrition
Good nutrition is fundamental to skin health, but that doesn’t just mean what we eat and drink. Everything that goes into our bodies, even from the atmosphere or cosmetic products, is some form of nutrition. In total, Aloe Vera has over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, anthraquinones, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids and salicylic acid.
Many of these nutrients come through our diet, and affect the appearance of our skin. Rubbing them on the skin externally is supplemental nutrition for the skin, and can dramatically change its feel and appearance.
Aloe is one of the best ingredients to add to your skincare routine. It’s natural, it’s very cheap (or free if you have one in your garden), and it is a nutritional powerhouse for skin. Always keep some in your herbal medicine cabinet for skin maintenance or for wound healing!