Aloe vera has been prized as a healing remedy since ancient times and remains an effective skin care ingredient today. The first recorded use of aloe by humans occurred in the 16th century BC in ancient Egypt, where it was praised as the “plant of immortality.”
Find out why and how aloe vera is good for skin!
What is Aloe Vera?
A cactus plant that belongs to the liliacea family, aloe vera can be found mainly in dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe and America.
Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents that contribute to the plant’s distinctive antiseptic, healing and soothing abilities. The fleshy aloe vera leaves are composed of three layers:
1. Rind (Outer layer): Protects the plant, produces carbs and proteins, and transports water and starch.
2. Latex (Middle layer): This bitter yellow sap found beneath the rind contains glycosides (a sugar compound) and anthraquinones (a laxative). The anthraquinones increase bowel movement when taken orally, but can cause irritation when applied to skin.
3. Gel (Inside): This clear gel is made up of 99% water plus glucomannans (a dietary fiber), amino acids, lipids, sterols and vitamins.
Image: Forever Living
The Benefits of Aloe Vera on the Face:
Aloe vera gel contains salicylic acid, glycoproteins, four fatty acids (cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol) and two plant hormones (auxin and gibberellins) that provide anti-inflammatory and healing properties. This makes it effective against wounds and insect bites.
As an astringent enriched with zinc, the plant also helps reduce pore size and keep out dirt and microbes. If you have oily skin, try Nature Republic’s Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera Cleansing Gel Foam for a refreshing cleanse without stripping skin of moisture. Follow with Benton’s Aloe BHA Skin Toner, which combines 80% aloe water, 200mg aloe extract, 200mg aloe juice, BHA, hyaluronic acid and snail filtrate to exfoliate skin and combat acne.
2. Soothe Sunburn
The healing and cooling properties of aloe vera can be used to reduce immediate pain or discomfort caused by sunburn, and speed up the skin’s healing process. In a 2008 study archived by the US National Library of Medicine, 40 participants were treated with 97.5% aloe vera gel for 48 hours after exposure to UVB rays. Results showed that aloe gel can reduce redness and inflammation better than 1% hydrocortisone in placebo gel.
Another study in 1995 tested 27 patients suffering from burn wounds. The burn area was divided into two equal-sized sections, one treated with Vaseline gauze and the other with aloe gel. The average time of healing was 11.89 days for aloe gel, and 18.19 days for Vaseline gauze.
Nature Republic’s bestselling Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel is formulated without parabens, mineral oils or artificial coloring, making it suitable for all skin types. Apply the pre-chilled gel to areas affected by minor burns or sunburn for instant relief and quicker healing.
3. Moisturizer, especially for Oily Skin
Glucomannan (a polysaccharide) and gibberellin (a growth hormone) in aloe interact with skin to boost cell renewal and collagen production, resulting in a softer, more supple complexion.
Aloe is a heaven-sent moisturizer for oily skin, thanks to its refreshing, non-greasy nature. Start your day with COSRX’s Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50 PA+++ for a moisturizing sun protection. Throughout the day, use Nature Republic’s Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel Mist for a quick pick-me-up.
4. Fade Acne Scars and Stretch Marks
Stretch marks appear due to minor tears in the layers of skin caused by sudden and excessive stretching. Aloe’s ability to promote cell renewal and collagen production makes it a natural treatment for acne scars and stretch marks. Benton’s Aloe Propolis Soothing Gel works wonders in fading acne scars with 80% aloe juice and 10% propolis.
Aloe leaves are rich in antioxidants including Vitamins C and E, beta carotene, flavonoids and tannins to fight against free radicals. PUREDERM’s Aloe Collagen Circle Mask is formulated with aloe and green tea extracts as well as collagen and Vitamin E. Use twice a week to firm skin, reduce fine lines and maintain skin elasticity.