What is it?
Aloe barbadens is miller, more commonly known as aloe vera, is a plant in the succulent family. It typically grows in subtropical climates, and it is made up of long, thick leaves edged with little spikes. Think of palm fronds only chunkier and with gooey clear liquid inside. Here are the benefits of applying Aloe Vera on skin.
Each stalk of the aloe plant is composed of three layers:
1. Inner layer
The inner layer is where you will find the familiar viscous aloe vera gel. This gooey substance is a mixture of 99% water and 1% glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols and vitamins.
2. Latex layer
The middle layer is known as the latex layer and contains yellowish sap that lies between the leaf and gel.
3. Outer layer
This thick outer rind is what the plant uses to transport water and starch as well as providing protection for the inner layers.
Aloe Vera Gel
The real powerhouse of the aloe plant is that inner gel layer. There are dozens of naturally occurring vitamins and lipids inside, and here is a mini breakdown of all the useful components:
● Vitamins A, C, E, which work as antioxidants, as well as B12, folic acid and choline.
● 8 separate inflammation reducing enzymes
● Anthraquinones, more commonly known as laxatives, which can also have antiviral and antioxidant properties
● Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic fatty acids
● Hormones like auxins and gibberellins that promote wound healing and reduce inflammation
● Essential amino acids
The healing properties of aloe vera are not new discoveries. Aloe has been used topically and internally for skin care and healing since ancient times. People in Ancient Greece, Egypt, India, Mexico, Babylonia, Japan and China have all recorded various uses of applying Aloe Vera on skin. Nefertiti and Cleopatra, two formidable Egyptian queens, incorporated it into their regular skincare and health routines. Alexander the Great used aloe for its healing properties, applying the gel to battle wounds to speed up the process.
Aloe Vera Skin Benefits
It’s obvious that the benefits of aloe vera are vast and varied. The veritable apothecary of ingredients that naturally exist in each leaf make it something of a miracle plant, and here are some of the best aloe vera skin benefits you can achieve all from one verdant stalk:
1. Heal minor cuts and burns
There’s a reason Alexander the Great made sure to have aloe vera in his first aid kit, and you should too. When you apply aloe vera gel to burns and cuts, the sugars and hormones promote the production of collagen at wound sites, increasing the regeneration of cells. This means faster scabbing for cuts and quick relief for burns.
2. Reduce scarring
Not only can aloe vera help close wounds, it also allows your skin to do a better job healing in the first place so you can avoid unwanted scars. This works to prevent new scarring, but also to lighten and eradicate scars from old incidents.
The 99% water content of aloe vera gel makes it a great moisturizer, and the vitamins and lipids that make up the other 1% lock in that moisture to keep it from evaporating and further drying out your skin. It also works to unclog pores and soften your skin.
4. Soothe sunburn
This is probably one of the most well known aloe vera skin benefits. The healing properties of aloe prevent further UV damage and promote cell regeneration in burned areas. It is also more soothing and better pain relief than an ice pack, as well as working to reduce redness and tightness in the skin.
For instant relief, freeze some aloe vera gel in an ice cube tray. This way, next time you suffer from any kind of burn you have an instant miracle cube to soothe the pain and start the healing process.
It is important to remember, however, that aloe vera is not UV protection. While it does treat sunburn it can’t prevent it, so be sure to always wear sunscreen to guard your lovely skin.
Aloe vera works as an anti-aging treatment for the same reasons it makes a top notch moisturizer. Aloe stimulates fibroblast in your skin, promoting collagen and elastin to keep your skin bouncy and firm. In addition, amino acids soften skin cells and zinc tightens pores.
6. Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory
While you’re putting aloe vera on those wounds and moisturizing your skin, you can be secure in the knowledge that it is protecting you. Aloe has six antiseptic agents that act against fungi, bacteria, and viruses. This helps reduce infection from cuts on the skin surface as well as internally.
Aloe vera also has numerous anti-inflammatory ingredients. The fatty acids all have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce skin irritations as well as eight different enzymes that fight inflammation.
7. Treat acne
Aloe vera has a proven effect on acne. It’s abilities to reduce inflammation and keep your skin clean and your pores clear all contribute to its acne fighting powers. The anti-inflammatory properties help soothe and reduce breakouts, and the antiseptic properties work to remove dirt and irritants under your skin that could cause new breakouts.
8. Heal acne scars
Maybe you don’t have recurring acne, but you were left with acne scars. These are no less formidable than the battlefield wounds, and, luckily, they can also be treated with aloe vera. Applying aloe to your scarring will promote collagen, reduce redness, and lighten the area.
9. Treat skin conditions
From eczema to psoriasis, aloe vera is a go to remedy for inflamed, patchy, dry skin. The gel will soothe and moisturize while simultaneously working to reduce inflammation and generate new skin cells. These conditions often cause extremely raw and sensitive skin, so many over the counter remedies like creams and steroids, have harsh chemicals and ingredients that irritate more than they heal. Aloe vera is a gentle, natural remedy free from any irritants. And it’s cheaper too.
10. Hair and scalp
When talking about skin health we can’t neglect the scalp. All of the aloe vera skin benefits on this list can also contribute to healthier hair and scalp. Aloe fights dryness and fungus, two causes of flaky scalp and dandruff. Apply some gel to soothe irritation and keep your skin from flaking. It also promotes circulation in the scalp which can give you longer, silkier hair.
All of these benefits of applying Aloe Vera on skin are tried and true. Pick up one of these succulents next time you’re out, or order some pure aloe vera gel and add it into your skincare routine. You won’t regret it.