Aloe Vera is a very popular cactus-like plant and has been widely used around the world since ancient times. Due to its unlimited health benefits and almost negligible side effects, it is commonly known as ‘miracle plant’ or ‘plant of immortality’. Be it a skin condition, hair issue or digestive tract problem, aloe has something in store for everything and everyone to vary extent. Since it has so much to offer, I find it difficult to cover its every aspect in a single post. For the reasons same, I divided its health benefits into different segments and in this current article, I am addressing everything related to skin health and the rest I will cover in upcoming posts.
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant and stores water in its leaves, which produce two substances – Aloe Vera gel, which is more or less water with several other nutrients mixed in, and the sap, which is also known as Aloe latex. For skin applications, aloe gel serves the purpose. You can directly extract the gel from aloe plant to get a pure product, which is quite sticky and time consuming as well, or you can buy ready-to-use aloe Vera gel from the market. I have been using one from the Patanjali range of herbal products for a while, which I will be reviewing soon but you can buy from any well known brand in this field. There are plenty of them. Well enough said! Let’s jump directly to the health benefits of aloe Vera gel for skin.
1. Acts as a Moisturizer.
Aloe Vera gel is widely used as a moisturizer. It moisturizes the skin without making it greasy and shows miraculous results on oily and acne-prone skin as well. Aloe Vera hydrates the skin by increasing its water content. Gently massage the gel onto your skin for even application every night before going to bed to moisturize and heal your skin from within. Though it serves great as a moisturizer but do not consider it if you have extremely dry or scaly skin as it works by hydrating the skin which may not give the same result as a cosmetic moisturizing product.
2. Treats Sunburn.
Aloe Vera is known as a sunburn treatment since ages. It acts on the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body, and provides a protective layer on the skin to help retain moisture. Aloe Vera contains a lot of antioxidants and nutrients which reduce the redness caused by exposure to sun and heal the sunburn at an escalated rate.
3. Effective against Acne and Blemishes.
Aloe Vera gel is often marketed as a natural remedy to cure acne and reduce scars due to the presence of two plant hormones, namely Auxin and Gibberellin, which provide inflammatory properties and reduce skin inflammation. Gibberellin also acts as a growth hormone and promotes the growth of new cells to fasten the healing process and reduce blemishes. Aloe Vera also keeps a check on the bacterial growth in the acne due to its antibacterial properties.
4. Fights Premature Signs of Aging.
Fines lines and wrinkles are inevitable but can be delayed. As the skin ages, it tends to get drier and loses its elasticity which eventually lead to wrinkles. Aloe Vera contains a plethora of antioxidants including beta carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E which improves the elasticity of the skin and restore its natural firmness making it smoother and supple while keeping it hydrated as well.
5. Reduce Stretch Marks.
You might be aware of those ugly stretch marks if you have rapidly gained some weight. Our skin is very elastic and stretches or contracts through out our life span to accommodate growth, but if it expands too far and too fast, elasticity of it gets damaged which results in stretch marks. These marks appear due to tears in the skin layers caused by sudden and excessive stretching. Although these stretch marks are irreversible but it fades as time passes by. Aloe Vera escalates the healing process to make it look less ugly in less time.
P.S. Stretch marks are permanent and cannot be cured.
6. Treats Small Cuts and Bruises.
Aloe Vera is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, which makes it effective against small cuts, bruises, and insect bites as well. It can be used topically to the affected area and can also be used as an effective aftershave lotion for men to soothe the irritated skin.
So these are some typical and proven uses of topical Aloe Vera gel with no significant side effects. Feel free to try them as it is possible that it may not give you desired results in some cases but it will never cause harm when used topically. Aloe Vera gel can also be used for many hair related problems while Aloe Vera juice and Aloe latex are very effective against some common digestive disorders. I will be covering these in upcoming posts.