It is cultivated worldwide, primarily as a crop for Aloe gel, which comes from the leaf.
The green thorny cactus-like plant is known for its bitter flesh, which is where the gel is found, but don’t let the taste deter you from the wonders it can do for your skin.
Its natural anti-fungal properties prevent infections, expedite healing, and soothe inflammation on the skin, while its astringent properties regulate sebum production and the gathering of dirt, thereby creating an unfriendly environment for acne-causing bacteria and preventing them from breeding in the first place.
Here are some of the ways aloe vera brings the best out of your skin:
Because aloe vera gel is mostly water, it helps to hydrate the skin without that post-application greasy sensation. It helps lock moisture into the skin, while also drawing in moisture from the atmosphere, ultimately smoothing and softening your skin.
Besides having serious antibacterial properties, aloe vera gel contains salicylic acid, which is an exfoliant that helps to unclog pores and fight inflammation, making it especially helpful if you are dealing with pimples and blackheads. Bonus: It also acts as an anti-inflammatory on the oil glands
Slows signs of aging
Aloe stimulates fibroblast activity, which increases collagen production and elastin fibers that make the skin less prone to wrinkling and more elastic. Meanwhile, zinc acts as an astringent to tighten pores, and antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, help prevent the formation of free radicals.
Prevents and sometimes fade dark spots
Aloe vera gel prevents tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for skin discoloration, from producing melanin, essentially suppressing UV-induced hyperpigmentation and the skin-damaging effects of sunburns. This mechanism may also help in the prevention of dark spots, while the various antioxidants it contains such as glutathione peroxide may fade sun damage that’s already formed.
It’s a light exfoliate
As we mentioned earlier, aloe vera juice contains salicylic acid that acts as an exfoliator, helping to gently dissolve unwanted dead skin cells, says Dr. Mark. It also contains lignin, a substance which can enhance the penetrative effect of other ingredients into the skin.
Aloe vera gel contains compounds called polysaccharides that encourage skin repair and new skin cell production. The gel also contains a pain reliever called carboxypeptidase, which is the key behind aloe vera's soothing properties.
Relieves skin irritation
Inflammation underlies many skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and lichen planus, according to statements made by Jennifer Gordon, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas. Aloe vera gel contains compounds, such as acemannan, that suppress inflammation by controlling the enzymes that trigger it. Persons are advised to make sure to do a patch test before putting it on inflamed skin, as aloe vera can cause allergic contact dermatitis in some people.
To make the power of aloe vera even more effective research shows that it can be combined with other simple, natural ingredients that will help to give you better, brighter skin. Here are simple combinations:
Aloe vera and honey mask
In a bowl mix a spoonful of honey with an aloe vera. Mix everything until there is a homogeneous mass and apply it all over the face. Leave on for 15 or 20 minutes and then remove the mask with warm water.
Aloe vera, milk, honey and turmeric mask
In a small bowl add a spoonful of aloe vera gel, a spoonful of milk, a spoonful of honey and a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Mix all the ingredients until there is a homogeneous mass. Apply on the previously washed face for 20 minutes, then remove the mask with warm water.
Aloe vera toner
In a pot boil some water and add some pieces of aloe vera, previously cut from the plant. Let it boil for about 15 or 20 minutes and then remove the pot from the heat to cool the mixture. Strain the water with aloe vera and put the liquid in a bottle with diffuser to use whenever you want as a tonic to clean or refresh the face.