You can’t be blamed for being sceptical about the many claims made about aloe vera. It seems like there’s no end to the health benefits of the herb and marketers seem to tout them relentlessly. While there are many claims that are exaggerated, aloe vera truly is a remarkable herb, which is why its use has also been embraced in Ayurveda. The gel contained within aloe leaves is rich in vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that exhibit anti-inflammatory and wound healing effects. These properties are also the source of a variety of aloe vera skin care benefits, making it an important ingredient that is often included in Ayurvedic skin care formulations.
We’ll take a closer look at some of the most notable skin care benefits and potential aloe vera uses for skin care.
Aloe vera is known for its soothing effect on the skin and this doesn’t just offer temporary relief from skin irritation and inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. It also reduces inflammation through the action of phytochemicals like acemannan that inhibit the inflammatory response. In addition to aloe vera uses for skin care when dealing with skin conditions, it can also be used to treat minor cuts and wounds as several studies have shown that it improves wound healing and may also reduce scarring. It is believed to work in this manner by boosting collagen and lowering the risk of infection.
One of the most notable aloe vera skin care benefits is its effectiveness as a topical treatment for sunburn. While not all sunscreens are equally effective at preventing sunburn, you can be sure that aloe will relieve it. Aside from anti-inflammatory properties that will help soothe your burnt skin, the herb’s gel also contains polysaccharides that promote skin repair and regeneration, allowing your skin to heal faster. When used as a topical application, aloe gel also helps because of analgesic or pain-relieving effects that are linked to the presence of carboxypeptidase.
Aloe works as an excellent natural moisturizer and unlike most cosmetic moisturizers it does not leave your skin with a greasy residue. This is because aloe gel mainly comprises of water, while it also has a binding effect helping to trap the moisture within the upper layers of skin. The gel is also easily absorbed by your skin, making it suitable for all skin types. In fact, studies have found that it can protect against dry skin from occupational exposure to chemicals. Due to its effectiveness as a natural moisturizer, aloe vera gel can also help provide relief from dry skin conditions like eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.
While antibacterial properties in aloe vera are helpful in fighting acne, the gel also contains salicylic acid, which is the main ingredient in almost all skin care products used to treat acne. Salicylic acid helps to unclog blocked pores, reducing buildup and bacterial growth that can cause pimples and blackheads. In addition, aloe vera gel may offer some protection against skin blemishes like dark spots as it suppresses UV-induced hyperpigmentation by restricting the activity of tyrosinase – an enzyme that causes skin discolouration with sun exposure. Because of the presence of antioxidants like glutathione peroxidase, aloe vera gel may also help to lighten and heal dark spots that result from sun damage.
Unlike many anti-ageing skin creams and serums that cost a fortune, aloe vera gel will actually help protect your skin from the effects of ageing. While no product can prevent skin ageing altogether, aloe gel helps through its stimulating effect on fibroblast activity, which improves the production of collagen and elastin fibres. This makes your skin more elastic and keeps it youthful by reducing wrinkle formation. At the same time, the presence of minerals like zinc helps to tighten the pores, while the antioxidant activity of vitamins C and E protects against free radical damage, which is the main cause of skin ageing.
While there can be little doubt about these aloe vera skin care benefits, if you want the best results you should use a product that contains the purest aloe gel. No aloe vera gel can be 100% pure aloe as they will all contain preservatives, but pick one with the highest content of pure aloe gel and avoid any with added fragrances and alcohols that can trigger skin irritation.
This article is reviewed by Dr. Jyoti Lakhani