Aloe vera has been used for centuries for various skin conditions owing to its many beneficial healing properties and for beauty purposes.
Benefits of Aloe Vera on the skin
The benefits of using Aloe Vera for your skin are plentiful, however, these are a few of the main benefits widely accredited to the usage of this ‘wonder plant’
- It soothes sunburns
- It moisturises the skin
- It treats mouth sores
- It slows down the signs of ageing
- It fights acne and fades blemishes
- It helps In relieving skin irritation
- It cleanses the skin
- It slightly exfoliates the skin
What conditions Aloe Vera can treat?
Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a treatment for a multitude of skin conditions and injuries. Some of these include:
- sunburn pain and swelling
- minor burns
- cuts or skin wounds
- fungal infections, such as ringworm and tinea versicolor
- eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- sun or chemically damaged skin/wrinkles
- bug bites
How to use Aloe Vera?
When purchasing a product containing aloe vera, it is important to understand which product is helpful to your problem at hand. Avoid products with added ingredients, such as alcohol and other chemicals—these are known to have harmful effects on the skin.
The easiest and most natural way to obtain fresh aloe vera gel is to keep an aloe vera plant in your house. These plants are widely available at local garden stores and are very easy to take care of and maintain. There are 420 different plant species of aloe vera.
Follow these steps to extract the raw aloe gel from the plant’s leaves:
- Using a sharp knife, cut off a leaf from the plant as close to the root as possible.
- Rinse the leaf and lightly pat dry
- Place the cut-side down in a bowl, leaving it for around 15 minutes which will allow the latex to drain out. Discard this yellow liquid because it has laxative properties which may not be suitable for use.
- Cut the narrow pointed end off from the top of the leaf
- Drain the latex again if necessary
- Press the leaf. This will help it to soften
- Cut the prickly bits, or ‘spines’ off both sides of the plant as close to the edge as possible.
- Keep the leaf on a flat surface, and slice it down the centre one tip to the other. For bigger leaves, cut the outer layer off.
- Using a spoon or knife/blade, scoop out the gel. Larger aloe leaves may contain solid blocks of gel.
- Wash the gel to get rid of any residue
- Place the gel in a sealable container and refrigerate before use
store the container of gel in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, you can freeze the aloe vera gel in ice cube trays.
First time aloe vera users must note that it’s important to do an allergy skin test before applying aloe vera to your face.
This can be done by applying a small amount of gel to the inside of your wrist and waiting 24 hours to see if there’s an adverse reaction. If your skin starts to itch, swell or change colour—do not apply aloe vera on your face.
Anyone with concerns about using aloe vera as an alternative treatment for skin conditions should speak to a doctor.
There are many ways to use aloe vera. Here are a few of the most common methods:
After washing your hands, use your fingertips to apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to your face. Gently rub the aloe vera gel into your skin, using small circular motions. Rinse with cool water and pat dry. Follow with aloe vera skin toner.
To make an aloe vera skin toner, mix 2 parts water with 1 part aloe vera gel. Pour into a clean airtight bottle and store it in the refrigerator. Shake well before applying the toner to your face using a fresh cotton ball.
For minor burns
Apply just enough chilled aloe vera gel to coat the burn completely. Cover the burn with a bandage. Remove the dressing the next day.
Insect bite treatment
Aloe vera is known to do wonders for certain insect bites. Wash the affected area well with water and soap. Then after patting dry, cover the affected area with aloe vera and leave it on the skin for 15-20 minutes. Reapply as needed.
For minor skin wounds or cuts
Wash the area well with soap and water and allow it to dry. Apply a small amount of aloe vera to the wound or cut. Cover the area with a bandage and allow it to heal overnight. Repeat this process the next day if needed.
Apply chilled aloe vera gel two or three times a day to the sunburned area. Freezing aloe vera in ice cube trays may be useful in this treatment. Use for several days, or until the skin colour has returned to normal and inflammation has improved.
Alternatively, mix 2 parts water to 1 part aloe vera to make a spray. Keep the solution in the refrigerator. When using the spray, be cautious to avoid your eyes.
For moisturising effect and eczema relief
For acne spots and rosacea
Any side effects of Aloe Vera?
Applying aloe vera gel to the face is not associated with any serious health risks. Experts generally consider it safe to use aloe vera on the face.
However, some people may experience an initial burning or stinging sensation after using the gel on sensitive or dry skin.
Some people may experience allergic reactions (contact dermatitis) to topical aloe vera.
Leaving aloe vera gel on the face may cause it to dry out. Rinse the gel off after a few minutes to avoid this effect.
NOTE: always do a patch test (mentioned above) first to check for sensitivity before using it on the face.
There are a few clinical studies on the possible long-term effects of aloe vera use. Consult a dermatologist if you are intending to use aloe vera for long periods of time.
Aloe extract vs gel
Aloe vera in concentrated form is a dehydrated form of aloe vera gel. The extract is produced from adding water to this powder. Products made from concentrated aloe usually contains less than 10% of aloe vera and they have very little properties that the aloe plant contains.
Aloe vera is a simple, yet effective ‘wonder plant’ that can aid in a variety of problems.
What are you waiting for? Get your aloe vera plant today and see how it works wonders!