If you think that aloe is only useful for soothing sunburns - think again! The green succulent plant has way more benefits for your skin and health than reversing the effects of a long day in the sun. People have been using aloe for an ingredient for skin care and treatments for thousands of years. In fact, Egyptians called aloe the “plant of immortality” and Cleopatra is said to have used aloe vera in her skin care routine. If it’s good enough for Cleopatra, it’s good enough for us!
The Many Uses of Aloe Vera
- As a moisturizer for any skin type
Aloe Vera is one of those few ingredients that works as a moisturizer for both dry and oily skin types. Aloe creates a barrier to lock in moisture on dry skin, but it’s also great for oily skin because it moisturizes without leaving any sheen.
- As an anti-aging treatment
As skin ages, elasticity and collagen production begin to decline. Aloe contains vitamin C and E, both of which promote skin elasticity and collagen production.
- To calm skin redness and blotchiness
Aloe contains an enzyme called bradykinase which reduces redness associated with burns, acne, and rosacea. Aloe also reduces regular, everyday skin blotchiness. Apply a thin layer in the evening before your serums and moisturizer, and wake up to a more even skintone.
- As a makeup remover
Aloe makes an effective and gentle makeup remover that cleanses and moisturizes at the same time. Just add pure aloe vera gel to a cotton ball or makeup remover pad and wipe away makeup and dirt.
- As an acne treatment
Aloe has a lot of properties that make it great for treating acne. The plant contains the hormones auxin and gibberellin, both of which reduce inflammation and promote healing with less scarring. Aloe is also antibacterial, and can kill the bacteria that causes zits. Lastly, aloe has naturally occurring salicylic acid which can unclog blocked pores and clear blackheads.
- Treats burns
Aloe vera ointment was the first treatment approved for burns by the FDA in 1959. And not just sunburns! Aloe can speed the healing of first- and second-degree burns.
- As a mouthwash
When used as a mouth rinse, aloe vera is just as effective as traditional mouthwashes in reducing dental plaque and killing harmful mouth bacteria.
- As a canker sore treatment
Aloe vera can also be used to treat canker sores - ulcers that some people get on the inside of their lips and gums. One study showed that an aloe vera patch not only reduced the size of the canker sore, but also reduced the pain associated with the sore.
- As a shaving cream
Aloe vera gel can be used as a shaving cream, with its moisturizing properties helping to prevent razor burn. Plus, since aloe promotes healing and is antibacterial, it can sterilize and heal any nicks or cuts.
If you’re interested in trying aloe vera for yourself, know that aloe gel directly from the plant works best. If that’s not feasible for you, try any product made of pureed organic aloe plant (rather than the technicolor gel you commonly find at surf shops). Or, look for skin care products that incorporate aloe as one of the active ingredients like Biorepublic’s Aloe Rescue Revitalizing Sheet Mask. Made with natural aloe vera extract and other soothing ingredients, this sheet mask is perfect for recovering for the sun or adding a little extra moisture to your skin.
What’s your favorite use for aloe vera? Let us know in the comments!
"Written by Colleen Welsch"