There are many benefits of aloe vera when it comes to skin care. It is a key ingredient that can be found in many of your cleansers, moisturisers and anti ageing products. It is also used in food supplements and herbal remedies. For this purpose we will look at the skin care benefits this wonderful plant brings.
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a stemless, succulent plant (plants that are normally thick or fleshy and have the ability to retain water). They can grow up to 40 inches tall. The plant is known to have many healing and soothing properties and has been used in herbal medicine for over 2,000 years. The Ancient Egyptians went even further, by burying it alongside their dead Pharaohs. It is light green in colour with spots and points along the edges. It is the inside of the plant that has all the great benefits for the skin – The thick gel. Let’s look below at some of the different ways you can use this gel to beauty, protect and nourish your skin.
What Are The Benefits of Aloe Vera on Your Skin?
Sunburns – The most obvious benefit of aloe vera is that it helps with sunburns. Applying the gel to the affected area heals the skin, as the plant has wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. This means it acts as a shield and works to lessen the damage. Also, the burnt skin is likely to peel, aloe vera works to moisturise the skin and reduce this peeling effect.
Acne – Having acne can be a real nightmare for some. Let’s face it, it is one of those horrible skin conditions that can be very hard to get rid of and can cause all sorts of frustration. Aloe vera is great for this. When buying a cleanser, make sure to purchase one that has aloe vera as the main ingredient. Due to the anti-bacterial properties, it will help reduce and control your acne.
If you prefer to make your own home remedy, you could try the following… At night, after washing your face, apply the raw aloe vera gel all over your face and neck and leave it on overnight. In the morning wash it off. Continuing this regularly should bring positive results. You can even add a few drops of lemon, as lemon also has antibacterial properties.
Complexion – A common skin complaint people have is the lack of clarity in their complexion or not having a uniform tone throughout their face, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation. For example, their mouth and forehead area is darker compared to the rest of their face. This could be due to several factors ranging from sunburn, acne or too much melanin. In these cases, aloe vera is really good as it contains skin lightening properties which overtime will help lighten those dark areas and reduce the formation of melanin.
Tightens the Skin – As we age our skin loses its firmness and begins to sag. The collagen and elastin production start to deplete, resulting in wrinkles and fine lines. Further factors such as lifestyle, diet and sun exposure can make the condition worse. In these cases aloe vera can help restore some of the youthfulness to the skin. Aloe vera works as a natural moisturiser and contains malic acid. This helps to improve the elasticity of the skin and also reduces pore size. With regular use skin will feel tighter, smoother and hydrated.
Exfoliator – Aloe vera gel is a really good skin exfoliator when used with other ingredients. It will help slough off dead skin, remove the dullness and give you super clean skin. If you have lacklustre skin try the following…
- Get one and half tablespoons of aloe vera gel.
- Half tablespoon of sea salt scrub.
- One tablespoon of organic honey.
Mix the above well then apply on to your face. Leave for at least 15-20 minutes then wash off and moisturise. Doing this twice a week will really do wonders as it will exfoliate the skin surface and help rejuvenate the skin cells. Skin will be clearer, more radiant and will have a youthful glow.
Hair Growth – The benefits of aloe vera don’t stop at just skin care, but they extend to hair as well. There are many aloe vera hair oils and shampoos that you can buy for hair growth. However, be sure to go for natural products and avoid those with chemicals.
There are many reasons to hair fall. For some it is down to genetics, while for others it is lifestyle or products that they use. In some instances, hair fall is due to a lack of nourishment and circulation on the scalp. In this instance, aloe vera is really good. Try rubbing and gently massaging aloe vera gel on your scalp. Leave for half an hour then wash off with a mild shampoo. Doing this will increase blood flow and nourish the hair. Long term it will slow down hair loss and reduce hair breakage. Furthermore, it is a relief for those suffering from itchy, dry, flaky scalp or dandruff.
What Aloe Vera to Buy?
You could use an aloe vera gel that you have bought from your local beauty store. However, make sure to get one that is ‘natural’ or ‘pure’ and has as little artificial preservatives as possible. Otherwise you won’t really see the benefits to your skin or hair. On the other hand you could use an actual aloe vera plant by cutting the leaf and extracting the gel. However this method can be very messy and some may not have the patience.
Once you’ve decided whether to buy the product or use your own aloe vera plant you can begin using it. I find when I’ve used it as a cleanser, I get better results if I leave it on for about 15 -20 minutes then wash my wash. I still use a moisturiser as sometimes it can leave my skin a little dry. Others with oily skin can get away with not moisturising.
Overall my experience with this plant has been a positive one. The main benefits of aloe vera I’ve seen is that it really tightens my skin and reduces my pores. Let me know, if you’ve had any such experiences.