Aloe Vera – Skin Benefits
Aloe Vera – Skin Benefits
The incredibly useful Aloe plant has been prized as a healing herbal remedy since ancient times. Not only does it nourish the body from within – aiding digestion, providing beneficial nutrients and boosting immune function, but it can be used topically to enhance the health and beauty of your face, skin, hair and more.
For a moisturizer that doesn’t leave a greasy film on your face, look no further than Aloe Vera. It softens the skin without clogging pores. Aloe Vera gel can also be used as an aftershave treatment as it will both hydrate the skin and help heal razor burn and small nicks. Research has shown that Aloe Vera extract is an effective natural substance for improving skin hydration – making it a useful ingredient in cosmetic formulations and as a treatment for dry skin.
Because of its abilities to speeds up skin cell reproduction, fight inflammation and reduce redness, Aloe Vera is a great natural treatment for acne scars and stretch marks. With some added lemon juice, it may also help lighten age spots and freckles.
With anti-inflammatory and cooling properties, Aloe Vera gel is the perfect remedy for sunburned skin. It provides a protective layer to the skin which helps retain moisture. Aloe is also rich in antioxidants and minerals which can help speed healing. In one study, it was found that Aloe Vera gel displayed some anti-inflammatory effects superior to those of 1% hydrocortisone when applied over a 48-hour period. Researchers concluded that the gel might be useful in the topical treatment of inflammatory skin conditions such as UV-induced skin redness.
As it is rich in vitamins C and E and beta carotene (a pre-cursor to vitamin A), Aloe may have some anti-ageing qualities. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and its ability to lighten blemishes, also help it take years off your face. Furthermore, Aloe Vera can be taken in supplement form to fight aging, with some research finding that it increases the body’s production of collagen and improves skin elasticity in just 90 days.
Reduce Acne and Infection
Those with acne may want to try Aloe Vera’s gentle cleansing and antimicrobial properties to treat their pimples. This healing gel works on several levels. Its antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties protect the skin from bacteria and other pathogens which lead to infection and inflammation. It contains substances – gibberellins and polysaccharides – that stimulate the growth of new cells, while glycoproteins reduce the inflammation and redness.
As an astringent, Aloe Vera reduces pore size, which helps keep out excess sebum, dirt, and microbes. In Ayurvedic medicine, Aloe is also used to treat psoriasis and eczema.
Accelerate Wound Healing
Aloe is most commonly used as a topical treatment for cuts, burns and other wounds – and with good reason. A review of four experimental studies found that Aloe Vera may reduce the healing time of first or second degree burns by almost nine days, when compared to the control groups. These incredible results may be explained by the fact that Aloe speeds up skin cell reproduction by as much as eight times and penetrates the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) four times faster than water, says Dr. Danhof of North Texas Research Laboratories.
Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel
Before we get into the “why” of using Aloe Vera gel for all of your natural health and beauty needs, let us briefly take a look at the process of harvesting gel from the plant. First, select one or more large, fat leaves from around the base of the plant. Grip selected leaves near the base and pull gently but firmly. They should release fairly easily. Take care not to cut your fingers on the thorns lining the leaves as you do this. Once you have harvested your Aloe leaves, use a sharp knife to slice away the thorny edge from one side of each leaf. Then slice the leaves open lengthwise so you have two long halves. Set the halves on your cutting surface, gel side up. Finally, use a spoon to scrape the gel away from each leaf and into your chosen container. When you’ve finished using your harvested Aloe Vera gel, remember to refrigerate any unused portion.