10 Skin Care Benefits of Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera didn’t hit the beauty market just yesterday. It’s one of the most common ingredients found in health and skin care products, and beauty-savvy folks have been using it to better their health and physical appearance for centuries. Even the ancient Egyptians were onto something when they referred to aloe as the “plant of immortality” and used it in their daily beauty routines. It was a key element to their constant pursuit of physical beauty. Today, this magical gel is well known for its ability to soothe a painful sunburn; chances are you’ve used it on your own burnt skin to find relief. But what else can it do? As it turns out, aloe has quite an impressive resume. Here are 10 skin benefits of aloe and how to use it to achieve your best skin ever.
1. Bust Acne
Feel like you’ve tried everything to control your acne, but that perfect complexion still eludes you? Give aloe a try. Aloe contains many nutrients like vitamins A, C and E and also has antioxidant properties that encourage the growth of new, healthy skin cells to accelerate the healing of blemishes and provide relief from skin conditions like eczema. It’s also anti-bacterial and anti-septic, which helps to prevent acne from appearing in the first place. If that weren’t enough, aloe also works as a natural toner to tighten pores and restrict dirt and residue buildup.
To treat blemishes, use aloe vera gel extracted from an aloe leaf or purchased from the store and spread over the affected area. Leave on for at least 10 minutes, or overnight, then gently rinse off with water the next morning. You can also mix a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice with 2 teaspoons of aloe vera gel to use in the same way. Apply regularly until blemishes heal. For a gentle natural toner, mix 3 parts witch hazel with 1 part aloe vera gel (optional: a few drops of essential oil) in a spray bottle and spritz onto a cotton ball or directly on to your skin.
2. Slow Down Aging
Perhaps one of the most exciting benefits of aloe is its ability to prevent and even reverse the signs of aging. Its naturally occurring nutrients and moisturizing elements help to increase collagen production, firm up skin and plump out wrinkles. Antioxidants found within the gel protect skin from the damage caused by free radicals and can also reduce the look of age spots for an even, more balanced complexion.
Make an all-over age defying facial mask by mixing 1 teaspoon each of aloe vera gel and oatmeal with ½ teaspoon olive or coconut oil. The oatmeal will act as a gentle exfoliator as you work it evenly over your skin. After about 30 minutes, carefully remove the mask with warm water. Repeat weekly to achieve maximum results. If you choose to use other anti-aging products, look for aloe on the list of ingredients to ensure you are including its natural benefits in your skin care routine.
Those with oily skin will love aloe vera because it has the ability to moisturize without being greasy. Not only that, it also absorbs quickly without leaving any residue and helps to balance the skin’s pH. Because it absorbs into skin rather than just sitting on top of it, like many other moisturizers do, aloe leaves the skin feeling soft and supple, plumps and firms from the inside, and is a great moisturizer for all skin types.
Aloe vera gel can be used all by itself as a moisturizer and applied directly to the skin. Only a small amount is needed to sufficiently hydrate the skin. You can also combine the gel from one aloe leaf with about ½ cup of coconut oil and then whip it to a fluffy consistency. Store in an airtight container and use daily or before bed for soft, moisturized skin. Check out this video from Essie Michelle as she demonstrates how to apply aloe vera to cleanse and rehydrate your skin!
4. Heal Damage
Not much can bring relief to an itchy, tender sunburn like aloe. That’s because its natural moisturizing properties and potent antioxidant content protect and rebuild damaged skin cells. Aloe vera is so effective at treating burns that a recent study found that first and second degree burns treated with aloe healed an average of nine days faster than those left untreated! Not only is aloe an amazing burn treatment, it also has been found to significantly accelerate the healing of cold sores, bug bites and open wounds, and can even help to reduce and prevent stretch marks! All of these amazing benefits are again due to its ability to rebuild collagen much more quickly than its normal rate of reproduction. Aloe also is absorbed into the outer layer of skin up to four times more quickly than water, making it a potent and optimally effective way to treat damaged skin.
Whether from a fresh plant or a bottle, 100% pure aloe vera gel spread evenly over a sunburn can bring instant relief. But be consistent, you must reapply a few times daily to ensure the quickest healing. You can also add a small amount (1-2 teaspoons) of coconut oil and a few drops of lavender essential oil for added moisture and to further reduce redness. To treat cuts, abrasions, insect bites or other minor wounds, generously apply aloe to the effected area. It’s that easy! Stretch marks treated with aloe vera or lotions containing aloe vera will regain elasticity and fade over time, revealing smooth, beautiful skin.
5. Lighten Skin
Nothing ages skin, and especially faces, like dark spots. These can be caused by several factors, including too much sun exposure, stress, genetics, or free radical damage over time. Aloe vera to the rescue again! Sunburnt skin that is treated with aloe vera naturally loses its tan, and the same goes for those pesky dark spots. While acting as a natural exfoliant to rid the skin of excess cells, aloe also works to lowering the production of pigmentation, revealing a lighter, brighter complexion.
While aloe gel alone is a great start to lightening your skin, you can enhance its abilities by adding even more naturally lightening ingredients. Aloe already contains Vitamin E—a skin lightening superstar—but you can bring out those lightening properties even more by combining the gel with the contents of a vitamin E capsule or two and massaging gently onto skin. Leave on for at least 15 minutes or overnight if possible and rinse. Repeat this daily and in a couple of weeks you’ll see overall lightening of your complexion. Other complimentary and naturally lightening ingredients include lemon, honey, cucumber juice, and sandalwood powder. Use these with aloe to achieve a healthy, youthful glow.
6. Improve Hair
Nothing ruins a good hair day like unsightly, flaky dandruff on your head. So many suffer from a dry, itchy scalp and find little relief. Even the most expensive shampoos often contain harsh chemicals that irritate and dry out the scalp. Whether caused by a chemical reaction, a fungal infection, naturally dry skin or even excess oil, aloe vera can be the key to beating dandruff once and for all. Its benefits for the scalp and hair are threefold. Its high moisture content and easy absorption into the skin soothes and hydrates the scalp, balancing oil production and preventing it from becoming dry and flaky. It also encourages and increases circulation to the scalp and promotes new hair growth while repairing damaged or dead skin cells on the surface. And finally, its keratin (protein) content revives and strengthens hair, preventing breakage. But that’s not all; aloe can also help your locks look smooth and shiny by softening and conditioning it naturally, without the help of nasty chemicals.
If your shampoo or conditioner already contain aloe and work well for your hair, great! If you feel they leave something to be desired, try adding aloe to your hair care routine. You can apply it straight onto your hair or scalp and let sit for an hour, then rinse. Repeat once or twice weekly. Alternatively, you can try to make your own aloe-based shampoo by combining ¼ cup of aloe gel with 2 tablespoons of honey. Aloe also makes a great natural hair gel for taming unruly strands.
You’ll find aloe in many over-the-counter facial and body cleansers, and for good reason. The antimicrobial and antibacterial agents make it ideal for ridding skin of harmful germs and bacteria. And since it is naturally moisturizing without being excessively oily or sticky, aloe is ideal for just about any skin type. You can count on the additional benefit of a more even skin tone, as the aloe will help reduce redness, puffiness, and irritation from skin conditions like eczema and acne, and will encourage new cell growth and vitality. Best of all, it’s completely natural, so you don’t have to worry about exposing your skin to any harmful or damaging chemicals.
Not all cleansers are created equal! Just because a cleanser says it contains aloe doesn’t mean you should grab it and run. Look at the ingredients list—aloe should be at or near the top. This indicates that it is a main ingredient and you’ll be sure to reap the benefits. You’ll want to glance over the rest of the ingredients as well, and steer clear of harsh, drying components like alcohol, formaldehyde, parabens, and sulfates. If you want to ensure your cleanser in indeed all-natural, you can make your own by simply mixing equal parts aloe vera gel and raw honey (with an optional small amount of olive or jojoba oil). Store it in a jar or soap dispenser and use as you would any other cleanser. Simple, but effective!
8. Remove Makeup
We all know the importance of removing our makeup at the end of the day. Our facial skin is delicate, especially around the eyes, and failing to do so can result in blemishes, premature wrinkles, and even infection. Not surprisingly, aloe vera gel is a great makeup remover! Because it cleanses gently and naturally, it is a safe and effective way to freshen your face. We understand that, especially while you're on-the-go or traveling, you don't always have an aloe plant handy. In those situations, you can count on this makeup removal towel, which is reusable for up to 1,000 washes.
One of the best ways to use aloe to safely and gently remove your makeup is by making your own makeup remover wipes. You’ll need 1 ½ cups of pure aloe vera juice (not gel) and ½ cup of coconut, jojoba, or almond oil. Mix well and store in an airtight container. Before using, shake well and moisten a cotton ball or pad. Gently remove makeup and rinse to remove any traces of the remover.
9. Soften Skin
Remember, it’s not just for your face; aloe can nurture your skin from head to toe. A long, hot summer in sandals can leave your feet feeling rough and looking dry and cracked. Aloe has an amazing softening effect on skin and can help to repair those unsightly and sometimes painful cracks.
Got rough feet? Try making an exfoliating foot scrub by mixing 2 parts cornmeal, oatmeal and lotion with 1 part aloe vera gel. Work generously onto feet and let sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing and repeat often. Aloe also makes a fantastic natural shaving cream. It’s smooth and allows for a close shave, and it’s antibacterial, which is great for those small nicks and cuts.
10. Boost Internal Health
While not a specific benefit to your skin, it’s worth mentioning that using aloe internally can help with the overall health of your skin. After all, the healthier we are on the inside, the better we look on the outside! The list of internal benefits of aloe is long and includes lowering cholesterol, easing inflammation, and boosting the immune system. Adding aloe as a supplement to a healthy, balanced diet can make you feel good and look good, too.
You can add aloe gel extracted directly from its plant into a smoothie, or you can purchase aloe supplements in the form of juice, pills, or powder. These are readily available in most health stores. Before adding aloe to your diet you should consult with a doctor to ensure the correct dosage and discuss possible side effects.
It’s clear that aloe is one of nature’s most amazing plants. It’s no wonder that it’s been a superstar beauty essential for centuries. If you haven’t experienced the benefits of using aloe on your skin, it might be time to see what this amazing substance can do for you!
Do you have an aloe vera plant at home? Simply break off a piece, rub the gel on your face, and see what happens. Let us know the results in the comments below!