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Aloe vera is also known as aloe barbadensis.
The aloe we now use on skincare comes from the aloe vera plant, one of the members belonging to the cactus family. Aloe vera thrives in dry climate, like many other cacti and succulents.
When broken open, the spiny, pointed leaves secrete a clear gel, which can be applied directly onto the skin. You can grow an aloe vera plant at home, or buy numerous gels, lotions, facial cleansers, and toners containing aloe.
Aloe vera is a popular medicinal plant that has been used for thousands of years. It is best known for treating skin injuries, but also has several other beneficial effects on health.
Best known as a gel used for cooling sunburns, aloe has countless benefits for the skin. Due to its protective, healing, moisturizing, and even antibacterial properties, aloe has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes — it’s truly nature’s healer.
Aloe vera is commonly used as a topical medication that is rubbed on the skin than eaten. It is best known to cure sores, burns, sunburns. In fact, the FDA proved aloe vera to the number one over the counter medication used to treat skin burns in 1959.
There are so many benefits of this skincare superstar, you might find yourself wondering why you’re not using it every day!
Here is a list of the benefits of aloe vera:
Aloe vera is a thick, short-stemmed plant that stores water in its leaves.
It is widely used in the cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries, and has an estimated annual market value of $13 billion globally (1).
Aloe vera is well recognized by its thick, pointed and fleshy green leaves, which can grow to about 12-19 inches (30-50 cm) in length.
Each leaf is full of a slimy tissue that stores water, which makes the leaves thick. This slimy, water-filled tissue is the “gel” we associate with Aloe vera products.
The gel contains most of the bioactive compounds in the plant, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants.
Antioxidants are important for health.
Aloe vera gel contains powerful antioxidants, which belong to a large family of substances known as polyphenols.
These polyphenols, along with several other compounds in Aloe vera, can help inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that can cause infections in humans.
Aloe vera is most commonly used as a topical medication, rubbed onto the skin rather than eaten.
It has long been known as a treatment for sores, particularly burns, including sunburns.
In fact, the FDA first approved Aloe vera ointment as an over-the-counter medication for skin burns back in 1959.
Studies suggest that it is an effective topical treatment for first- and second-degree burns.
Many studies found that aloe vera can reduce the healing time of burns faster, reducing the healing time for burns of around 9 days as compared to conventional medications.
The evidence for Aloe vera helping to heal other types of wounds is inconclusive.
Summary: Applying Aloe vera to burn wounds appears to accelerate the healing process. The evidence is inconclusive for other wound types.
Tooth decay and diseases of the gum are very common health problems.
One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to reduce the buildup of plaque (bacterial biofilms) on the teeth.
In a mouth rinse study of 300 healthy people, 100% pure Aloe vera juice was compared to the standard mouthwash ingredient chlorhexidine.
After 4 days of use, the Aloe vera mouth rinse was found to be just as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing dental plaque (5).
Another study found similar benefits of Aloe vera mouth rinse when used over a 15- to 30-day period (6).
Aloe vera does this by killing the plaque-producing bacterium Streptococcus mutans in the mouth, as well as the yeast Candida albicans.
Summary: When used as a mouth rinse, pure Aloe vera juice is just as effective at reducing dental plaque buildup as regular mouthwash.
Many people have experienced mouth ulcers, or canker sores, at some point in their lives.
They usually form underneath the lip, inside the mouth, and last for about 7-10 days.
Studies have convincingly shown that Aloe vera treatment can accelerate the healing of mouth ulcers.
In a 7-day study of 180 people with recurrent mouth ulcers, an Aloe vera patch applied to the area was effective in reducing the size of the ulcers (8).
However, it did not outperform the conventional ulcer treatment, which is corticosteroids.
In another study, Aloe vera gel not only accelerated the healing of mouth ulcers, but it also reduced the pain associated with them.
Aloe vera has often be used to treat constipation.
This time it is not the gel, but the latex, that provides the benefits.
The latex is a sticky yellow residue found just under the skin of the leaf.
The key compound responsible for this effect is called aloin, or barbaloin, which has well-established laxative effects.
However, some concerns have been raised about safety issues with frequent use. For this reason, Aloe latex has not been available in the US as an over-the-counter medication since 2002.
Contrary to popular belief, Aloe vera does not appear to be effective against other digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease.
Summary: Aloe vera latex has strong laxative effects, making it useful to treat constipation. It does not appear to be beneficial for other diseases of the digestive tract.
There is some preliminary evidence that topical Aloe vera gel can slow the aging of the skin.
In one study of 30 women over the age of 45, the topical application of the gel was shown to increase collagen production and improve skin elasticity over a 90-day period.
Another study found that Aloe vera reduced erythema (redness of the skin), but was also found to dehydrate skin cells.
There is very little evidence that Aloe vera can treat skin conditions like psoriasis and radiation dermatitis.
Summary: Early evidence suggests that Aloe vera may have anti-aging effects on the skin, but more research is needed.
For many thousands of years, aloe vera skin benefits have made the lily of the desert a coveted and valuable plants for healing and protecting the skin.
Aloe vera skin benefits are numerous, and the healing properties of aloe vera are widely used to help treat a variety of skin conditions. While it’s popular in modern skin care, it may surprise many to learn that that the aloe vera plant was first used more than 5,000 years ago in ancient Egypt.
Romans were known to use aloe as far back as the reign of Emperor Nero. A physician in the Roman Army (though Greek by birth), Pedanius Dioscorides wrote several books on using plants as pharmaceuticals and he highlighted the use of aloe for the treatment of countless illnesses.
While the Egyptians used aloe vera as an adjunct beauty treatment, the Chinese used the properties of aloe vera in medicinal treatments as far back as the time of Marco Polo expeditions. Early Chinese treatment books referred to aloe vera as the “method of harmony” for the healing role it played in their everyday life.
In addition to the Chinese, the Japanese also embraced the value of the aloe vera plant, where it was often called “the royal plant.” The Japanese even used the liquid from the plant as an elixir, and Samurai used it to relieve pain.
As Christopher Columbus was discovering new worlds, he kept aloe vera plants growing on his ships, using it as a healing potion for his mercenaries. And Spanish Jesuit monks were using the properties of the aloe plant during the 16th century.
At the same time, various tribes of the Americas were using the plant for healing. In fact, aloe was one of the 16 “holy plants” worshiped by the indigenous people, bestowing a gold-like status on it. They used it as an insect repellant, as well as on various surfaces like wood that would otherwise be damaged by insects.
The aloe vera plant has a distinctive look, and appears as a cactus-like succulent with short stems that store water in its leaves. It’s easy to recognize due to its pointed, thick green leaves that can grow anywhere from 12 to 19 inches. But it’s what’s inside those leaves that have turned aloe vera into a time-tested favorite.
Inside each leaf you’ll find a unique, slimy tissue where water is stored, and which gives the plant’s leaves their distinctive thickness. That “slimy” tissue is the gel that is used in aloe vera products. And the gel is what contains the various beneficial compounds like vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants.
Aloe is one of the most famous plants found in nature, used across various industries including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food. But the aloe vera skin benefits are what have people searching for and demanding more products containing aloe’s healing properties.
In order to help you understand how aloe vera helps to keep skin looking its best, it helps to learn how the plant’s ingredients and properties work. So here’s some background info designed to show you why the aloe vera plant is so important to keeping skin looking radiant and youthful.
The gel from the aloe vera plant has some powerful antioxidant properties, which are part of the polyphenols family. In addition to providing antioxidants, the plant has antibacterial properties that can help prevent the growth of harmful types of bacteria.
Antioxidants help to protect the skin by reducing or preventing the production of free radicals, harmful atoms or groups of atoms that can damage skin cells. These free radicals have unpaired electrons, which makes them unstable and highly reactive.
They can be formed by natural body processes or as a result of the environment, including sunlight, heat, and chemicals. Free radicals tend to cause oxidation, which causes damage to cells from oxygen.
The most remarkable action of antioxidants is that they help to repair damaged skin from the inside out, rather than from the outside in like moisturizers.
They also encourage tissue and cell growth while helping to protect cells from the negative effects of free radicals. Bottom line: by staving off free radicals you can reduce the number of wrinkles on your body, which helps to keep the skin youthful in appearance.
Antioxidants help the body repair itself, which is extremely important to skin cells that are constantly growing. And any antioxidant that is able to promote cell growth could play a key role in the anti-aging process by helping to minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
As an antioxidant, aloe vera contains many active enzymes, minerals, and vitamins – more than 75 to be exact. These include key vitamins A, C, and E, which help to fight the damaging effects of free radicals. So far, scientists found 160 important ingredients in the aloe vera leaves.
There are many healing properties associated with the aloe vera plant. Many scientists have found that it is not due to one single ingredient only, it is a collective effect of the combined ingredients within the plant.
The essential properties found within aloe vera complement each other to provide the plant’s remarkable healing effects.
The human body needs a complex variety of amino acids in order to rejuvenate cells, but can’t produce the amino acids itself.
The aloe vera plant provides a minimum of seven of the eight key amino acids that the body requires, as well as 20 of the 22 required amino acids that the body needs, helping to prevent severe medical problems.
Aloe vera also has many other essential amino acids that work to keep the body healthy.
The vitamins within aloe vera aren’t the actual key to the healing impact of the plant, but it’s what they do synergistically with the plant’s other ingredients that make them so crucial.
These vitamins include B1, B2, B6, and B12. Vitamin C found in aloe vera is key to strengthening the immune system and helps to stop premature aging and the effects of toxins on the body. This is what helps to prevent and even reverse the aging process.
In addition, the plant contains vitamin E, which helps to reduce the harmful impact of free radicals while helping protect the cells of the body from premature aging.
And unlike many of the other vitamins, the skin acquires more benefits from topical administration of vitamin E than getting it via supplements.
Vitamins are only part of the key ingredients found in the aloe vera plant. It also has critical minerals and micronutrients that help to keep the body healthy.
Some of the minerals found in aloe vera include magnesium, which is often called the “anti-stress” mineral.
Manganese works to help the body detoxify itself, while selenium works with the body’s cells to destroy free radicals. Without selenium, the body’s cells tend to age faster.
Another mineral found in aloe vera is zinc, which helps protect the body from free radicals, while working to boost the immune system. By helping protect the body from free radicals, skin cells will retain their ability to produce collagen while maintaining their elasticity.
As an antioxidant, aloe vera works hard to combat free radicals. Ultimately, this helps to slow the aging appearance of the skin. And early studies show that it can provide anti-aging effects on the skin by improving collagen production and skin elasticity.
But aloe vera goes far beyond simply improving collagen production and skin elasticity.
When the skin has been damaged by UV radiation via sunlight, aloe vera gel was reported to have a protective effect against the UV damage.
While the exact role it plays isn’t known, it appears to provide an antioxidant protein that is generated in the skin, which helps prevent UV-induced suppression of skin hypersensitivity.
Aloe vera has also been shown to have significant healing properties. When applied to wounds, it was able to speed up wound contraction and also increased the breaking strength of any scar tissue that resulted from the injury.
It also promotes healing through its anti-inflammatory action, and works to stimulate cell rejuvenation by supporting the production of collagen, while helping new skin cells to multiply faster.
Another well-known benefit of topical application of aloe vera gel is its moisturizing and anti-aging effects.
Because aloe stimulates fibroblasts, which produce the collagen and elastin fibers, it makes the skin appear more elastic and much less wrinkled as a result.
The gel also works on the superficial epidermal cells by binding them together, softening the skin. Amino acids found in aloe vera also help to soften the hardened skin cells, providing a moisturizing effect on the skin.
One additional benefit of aloe vera gel is its antiseptic action. Because it contains lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid and sulfur, the gel helps to stave off fungi, bacteria, and viruses. It has also been shown to help prevent and treat acne.
How does aloe vera help prevent or reverse the aging effects on the skin? The answer is collagen. Aloe vera has been shown to increase collagen production in the skin, which helps with wrinkle reduction and a more youthful-looking, radiant skin.
Collagen is the most prolific protein in our bodies, and is found in skin, bones, muscles, and organs – just about everywhere in the body. It provides skin with elasticity and also replaces dead skin cells.
As we get older, our bodies tend to produce less and less collagen, which is why the elderly have sagging and wrinkled skin.
That’s where aloe vera gel can help, because it stimulates collagen production in the skin. The additional collagen produced by using aloe vera gel can significantly improve your skin’s elasticity, and thereby remove and reverse wrinkles and the appearance of old age.
In fact, aloe vera helps to rebuild the collagen in the skin more quickly and can even prevent the body’s existing collagen from breaking down because of aloe vera’s fast regeneration of the fibroblast cells.
Aloe vera has been used as an anti-aging treatment for many centuries. Scientific researches have been done to show how all these chemical bases work together to have all these effects.
Aloe vera is used to boost collagen production, it hydrates the skin and boost the skin’s elasticity, removes fine lines and improve awful wrinkles conditions.
Throughout this article, we’ve been talking about the topical application of aloe vera. But there are some who try to gain the benefits of the aloe vera plant by drinking it. The issue is what you are using the aloe vera to treat.
Some use aloe vera juice for constipation, help with digestion, boost the immune system, improved hair growth, weight loss, and other purposes. In addition, some people drink the juice for inflammation and skin problems, but there is little research to show that ingesting the aloe vera can help with skin problems the same way topical application does.
Drinking the juice can also negatively impact certain prescription medications. Consuming the juice can also lower a person’s blood glucose levels to a dangerous level.
Most importantly, if the goal of aloe vera is to use as an antioxidant to fight off free radicals, or for skin inflammation or wound healing, a topical application would be far more effective.
While topical aloe vera can help skin regain its elasticity and reduce wrinkles, there is no elixir available anywhere, including aloe vera juice, that restores a more youthful appearance or younger-looking skin – or we would all be drinking now.
If you’re suffering from the effects of the aging process and seeing more lines and wrinkles than you’d like to – then it’s time to begin a regimen of topical aloe vera. Don’t worry, it won’t take the full 90 days to see the aloe vera skin benefits and a more radiant appearance!
Aloe vera has sometimes been used as a traditional diabetes remedy.
It is said to enhance insulin sensitivity and help improve blood sugar management.
Several animal and human studies in type 2 diabetics have actually found promising results from consuming Aloe vera extract.
However, the quality of these studies was fairly poor, so it is definitely premature to recommend Aloe vera for this purpose.
Additionally, there have been some cases of liver damage reported with long-term ingestion of Aloe vera supplements.
Summary: Early evidence suggests that Aloe vera may help with blood sugar management, but more research is needed. Ingesting Aloe vera supplements in the long term could also be hazardous.
Aloe vera definitely has some unique therapeutic properties, especially when applied as an ointment for the skin and gums.
Various aloe vera products are available to purchase in health food stores or online, including aloe vera gel, juice, supplements, oil, and powder.
Have a chat with your doctor before buying any aloe vera products for the treatment of your conditions.
Aloe contains a whopping 75 active ingredients (we told you it’s a superstar!) including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, hormones, and vitamins A, C, E, and B12. All of these combine for potent anti-inflammatory, free radical neutralizing, and anti-oxidant properties.
Maybe a better question is, “What doesn’t aloe do in skincare?”
As the go-to skin soother, aloe treats multiple skin ailments, such as minor burns, rashes, and wounds.
The healing power of aloe comes from a combination of its ability to calming the inflammation and aid in the regeneration of new, healthy skin cells. Along the same line, studies have shown the benefits of aloe for people with eczema, psoriasis, and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Generally speaking, aloe is one of the best moisturizing agents available, and it’s a favorite because it hydrates the skin without added greasiness. This makes it a common ingredient in acne and anti-aging products. You can also use aloe to heal dry, cracked skin and to prevent and lighten stretch marks.
A lesser-known benefit of aloe is solving that pesky dandruff problem. The antibacterial ingredients in aloe treat the bacteria that cause dandruff, while moisturizing the scalp to prevent further flakes.
While people with oily skin tend to avoid heavy moisturizers, aloe works on all skin types. It’s one of the few moisturizing ingredients that won’t clog pores, making it ideal for people with acne-prone skin.
It has one of the lowest ratings on the comedogenic rating scale, which measures how likely an ingredient is to cause comedones (blackheads and whiteheads).
It’s not only a safe moisturizer for people with acne, but it also treats breakouts.
Aloe’s antibacterial properties clear up acne, while the hormones in aloe reduce inflammation, calming the skin to prevent future pimples.
Qualis Nutri formulated its BP Lotion to include aloe vera, as a healing, nurturing ingredient, along with their BP Body Wash,
Aloe stimulates collagen production, which is why it’s a great anti-aging ingredient, because collagen helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Aloe also protects the skin from damage and then repairs skin over time.