What is Aloe Vera
Aloe is a perennial plant with thick, succulent, turgid, spiky leaves of a green to a greyish color. Its fleshy leaves have an inner jelly-like, water-filled, clear, soft, moist tissue from which is collected what is known under the name of “aloe vera gel”. This gelatin-like, viscous, mucilaginous tissue has large cells with a thin wall where water is stored so that the plant survive in its native dry habitat. In this piece, we will cover Aloe Vera Gel Benefits For Face and skin, its side effects and how to use aloe vera along with aloe vera nutrition facts and where to buy Aloe vera
Aloe Vera (meaning “True Aloe”) is the Princess of Desert in terms of beauty and health benefits. This famous and very popular plant is used for cosmetic, medicinal, and pharmaceutical purposes. It is highly commercialized in the food industry, in drinks and beverages, and deserts. In the cosmetic industry is used in facial and skin creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, cleansers, facial masks, facial gels, etc. In the pharmaceutical industry is incorporated in creams, gel preparations, juices, tablets, and capsules.
Aloe Vera Gel Benefits For Face & Skin
Studies confirm what Traditional Medicines already knew for centuries
For over 4,000 years, Ayurveda (Traditional Indian Medicine) has recommended Aloe gel successfully for wounds, burns, skin regeneration and healing, anti-age, etc.
In the last years, hundreds of clinical studies from reputed university researchers have confirmed what traditional medicines around the world have known for thousands of years: the Aloe vera gel has a plethora of health benefits, including skin problems.
- Powerful Antibacterial for Skin:
Studies show that concentrated polyphenols, alkaloids, and indoles give Aloe vera antioxidant and antibacterial properties. The Aloe extract inhibits the growth of different bacteria, streptococcus, and other gram-positive microorganisms. Due to the raising concerns of the antibiotic resistant bacterial strains, researchers look for new natural antimicrobial resources. Aloe vera has proven to have an antimicrobial effect on Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Shigella flexneri and other bacteria, during clinical trials.
- Natural Anti-Inflammatory for Skin Problems:
The Salicylic acid (a natural aspirin-like) gives Aloe vera gel anti-inflammatory properties. Studies confirm that Aloe has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Natural alternative for Atopic Dermatitis:
Topical application of aloe gel during a research trial showed that aloe gel reduced inflammation and proved to be a safe and natural alternative to antihistamines and topical corticosteroids in chronic atopic dermatitis.
- Natural Cleanser and Toner for Face:
Apply fresh Aloe pulp on your face daily after you wash your face to clear and brighten your complexion, tone and lift your skin.
- Accelerates Healing and Skin Regeneration on Burns :
Many advanced studies have been done in the last decades and they have confirmed the healing effect of Aloe vera on wounds. Recent studies at the Department of Histology and Cell Biology, from the Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Egypt, confirm that Aloe vera speeds up the regeneration of burn skin and assists in healing it, with topical application.
- Helps in Healing any Wounds on Skin:
Different other studies, lead by Dr. Mendonca and Dr. Passarini at the Physiology Division, Herminio Ometto University Center, in Brazil, found also that topical application of Aloe vera gel heals the wounds of the skin.More research done by Dr. Dorneles Daniela and the team emphasize the healing and cicatrizing properties of Aloe vera gel for skin.
- Sunburn healing:
Aloe gel can be used as an after-sun natural soothing natural lotion for sunburns and erythema, due to its anti-inflammatory potential. A research from the Department of Dermatology, University Medical Center Freiburg, in Germany confirmed that Aloe gel is a potent anti-inflammatory in cases of erythema.
- Scar Healing:
Traditional and natural ointments such as Aloe vera gel, Honey, and Milk have been studied by researchers in Iran with the purpose of approving them on the medicinal basis. The results showed that this natural triple ointment accelerated the wound closure, the new cells and collagen production. It visibly reduced inflammation and scar marks.
- Natural Antioxidant and Anti-Age fighter against Wrinkles:
Intake of Aloe vera gel supplements helps skin regain its elasticity and increases collagen production, clinical studies show, in 90 days in the vivo trial on 45 female subjects. Having 99% water and a mucilaginous texture, without being oily or greasy, Aloe gel moisturizes and softens the skin naturally. It hydrated the dry, irritated skin without clogging the pores and without causing nasty side effects.
- Natural Aftershave for Men:
Men can use it, too, after they shave, as a natural after shave, to moisturize the face, heal razor cuts and soothe irritation.
- Eliminates Acne and Infections:
Due to its antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties, Aloe helps clean and reduce acne and infected pimples ( read in detail about Aloe vera For Acne & Pimples on the link). Being mildly astringent, Aloe gel shrinks pores, prevents excess sebum, dirt and bacteria getting in the pores and infecting them. Reduces inflammation and redness. It stimulates the new cell proliferation and helps skin repair without leaving marks. The new skin is regenerated and healthy, with normal pores, without pimples. With the help of its hormones Auxin and Gibberellins, Aloe stimulates the cell growth, reduces inflammation and heals without visible and unaesthetic scars.
- Stretch marks:
Aloe gel improves the elasticity of the skin, helping it to expand and contract as needed, in a natural way.
Aloe Vera Side Effects For Skin & Hair:
- Allergies prone or sensitive people to any parts of aloe vera plant or the Liliaceae family (garlic, onion, tulips) should avoid aloe vera or approach with caution.
- Prolonged use of topical aloe gel can cause allergic reactions, hives, inflammation of the skin and eyelids.
- Attention for people with heart conditions or electrolytes imbalances, when taken internally.
- During pregnancy and breastfeeding aloe vera is not recommended, as it can trigger uterine contractions, miscarriages, and even birth defects. Intake of aloe vera dried juice is contraindicated during lactation.
- Use Aloe vera GEL products, not latex, as it was proved to have many more side effects.
- Use with caution and after consulting with your doctor if you have diabetes, constipation, severe kidney problems, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, cholesterol.
How To use Aloe Vera: Homemade Natural Aloe Vera Gel Recipes for Skin and Face
You can prepare your own marvelous, natural, rejuvenating gel, mask, cream, or lotion right in the comfort of your home. You will only need a pot with an Aloe vera plant (you can purchase it online or grow it yourself from a friend who has it) and optional, a few other ingredients you can easily find in your pantry.It works for any type of skin, as it only contains Aloe vera gel.
DIY Homemade Aloe Vera Face Mask
- Kindly ask your Aloe plant to allow you to use one leaf for your regeneration, while it fulfills its purpose of helping and healing people. Show gratitude for the plant for the gift of healing that it generously provides to you. (optional step, but it’s nice to show gratitude to Mother Nature for its healing gifts).
- Select a small fleshy leaf of Aloe vera from the base of the plant, and pull it, without wounding your fingers in its thorns.
- Cut away the thorny edges from both sides of the leaf.
- Peel one side and scoop the gel with a teaspoon, gathering it into a small cup. Or slice it in half lengthwise and only scoop one-half, refrigerating the other half for later.
- Apply the fresh Aloe gel on your face, gently rubbing it on your skin.
- Leave it to interact with your skin for 10-15 minutes, while you can lay back, relax and enjoy the moment.
- Rinse your face with lukewarm water. Apply a natural moisturizing cream or oil.
Optional, you can add other natural ingredients to mix in your mask, depending on your skin type and purpose: turmeric powder, essential oils (Rose, Orange, Lavender, Chamomile, Geranium, Palmarosa, Lemon, etc.), oatmeal powder, clays, yogurt, cucumber, honey, etc.
Homemade Aloe Vera gel Face Mask for Oily skin
If you have oily skin, you can use this natural remedy with fresh Aloe gel once or twice a week:
- Mix the aloe gel that you collected as described in the first recipe with Honey and Lemon Juice. You can use a small blender or a fork.
- Apply this gel on your face and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse it with lukewarm water.
Homemade Aloe Vera gel Face Mask for Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin can be gently cleansed once or twice a week using this natural recipe with Aloe gel which is soothing, calming, and moisturizing:
- Prepare aloe gel that you have previously collected or refrigerated as described in the first recipe. Add Rose Essential Oil and Chamomile Essential Oil. Mix thoroughly until incorporated.
- Apply on your face for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
Homemade Aloe gel Face Mask for Dry Skin
You could have a dry skin type or your skin can become dry due to several factors such as air conditioning or central heating, extreme heat or sun, cold or freezing temperatures, harsh and drying soaps and cosmetic products. Your skin is red and cracked, flaky and painful.
- Prepare the Aloe gel that you previously collected or refrigerated.
- Add coconut oil or olive oil and Marshmallow Essential Oil and mix well until incorporated.
- Apply gently on your face and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
- You could also infuse Marshmallow and Marigold in Coconut oil or Olive oil for at least 10 days, then mix it with Aloe.
- Or you can first apply Aloe gel, leave it, rinse it, and then apply a few drops of oil (simple Coconut, Essential Oil or Infused Oil) on your face.
- You can mix Aloe gel with Shea Butter (melted) and make a paste, then apply it on your face.
Aloe Vera Nutrition Facts
Although Aloe Vera is made of 99% water, the rest of 1% is a concentrate of powerful constituents that act together in synergy. Aloe has over 200 active phytonutrients, vitamins B (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12), A, C, and E, 20 minerals (Zinc, Selenium, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper, Iron, Sodium, Phosphorus, Chromium, and trace minerals like Iridium and Rhodium). It also contains 22 amino acids (of which 8 are essential ones), polyphenols, antibiotic agents, phytosterols, alkaloids, indoles, Saponins, Salicylic acid, tannins, resins, Lignins, Anthraquinones, and phytosterols.
Lignins are known for their penetrating qualities. They help Aloe vera penetrate 7 layers deep into the skin, being very helpful in skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis.
It also contains 8 important enzymes (superoxide dismutase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, peroxidase, aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, catalase, cellulase, and lipase) with a role in regenerating the tissues and maintain the tones and health of the skin.
From the many polysaccharides that it contain, mannose-6-phosphate has powerful anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and healing properties, being essential in healing wounds, which makes Aloe vera gel a great natural cosmetic ingredient for skin and face.
Aloe is astringent, emollient, hydrating, cleansing, antioxidative, rejuvenating and has cell reproductive properties.
How To identify Pure Aloe Vera Gel
Always read the labels and ingredients list before purchasing a product. The International Aloe Science Council, the leader in the aloe industry, has set the quality standards and requirements for aloe vera products all over the world. The recommended aloe vera product (gel, cream, juice, etc.) has to contain at least 85 to 90% aloe vera gel or juice and has the least additives. Check for the IASC certification seal or check the list of IASC certified products to see if you’re dealing with a true and healthy aloe vera product.
Note that the best aloe vera gel is the freshly collected get from the plant’s leaf. After this gel is processed, it loses many of its nutritive values and health properties.
Where to Buy Aloe Vera Gel
You can buy Aloe vera stabilized gel and products from the local and online health food stores. You can also buy long robust aloe leaves that you can take home and use. Keep them in the refrigerator and only cut a small piece, or peel it and take the gel out and store it in a glass or plastic airtight container (not metallic!).
Or you can opt to buy a pot with aloe vera and collect the gel yourself anytime you need it. It is easy to grow as it only needs the sun (so keep it by the window) and very little water (remember, it survives in dessert, so it’s ok if you forget to water it sometimes).
How Much Aloe Vera Gel Should I Apply: Recommended Dosage
Here is a comprehensive list of recommended daily doses of Aloe vera gel for each category of illnesses, based on scientific research and medical opinions.
- Seborrheic dermatitis (and dandruff) – topical applications with a mixture containing 30% aloe two times a day for up to 6 weeks.
- Dry skin conditions – aloe gel simple or in combination with other skin balancing natural ingredients up to two weeks or as long as it’s necessary.
- Skin burns – topical applications on the affected area with 97,5% aloe gel, aloe vera cream, and fresh collected gel from the aloe plant twice a day, until the burn are healed.
- Wounds – topical applications on the wound with aloe gel three times a day, with a cream with aloe gel, freshly collected gel from the aloe plant, mixtures with aloe gel and other natural ingredients with healing properties three times a day for up to 19 weeks (until the wounds are healed completely).
- Radiation burns on skin – topical applications with aloe gel two times a day.
- Psoriasis – topical applications with aloe vera cream on the affected area of the skin three times a day, up to 4 weeks (until healing).
Where Does Aloe Vera Grow & Aloe Vera History
Aloe Vera can be found in North, East and South Africa, Australia, Southeast America, United States, India, China, and in the Mediterranean area.
Aloe vera has been used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes for centuries in ancient cultures like Egypt, India, China, Japan, Greece, Romans. The healing properties of Aloe vera have been recorded throughout history, in many ancient manuscripts and medicinal books. Drawings of Aloe plant have been found in Egyptian temples. Egyptians revered it as a god-sent plant, and maybe that is why it was called “The Plant of Immortality”.
Aloe was also considered sacred in India, where people considered that Aloe came from the Garden of Eden. They named it “The Silent Healer”, while the Chinese doctors called it “The Harmonic Remedy”, and Russians “The Elixir of Longevity”. Arabs called it “The Desert Lily”, and were the first to discover how to make powder from the dried pulp of Aloe.
The Greek physician, botanist, and pharmacologist Dioscorides mentioned Aloe vera in his 5-volumes herbal medicine named De Materia Medica, saying that it was used for boils, dry and itchy skin, bruises, wounds, stopping bleeding, skin irritations, etc.
Galen (131-201 AD), a Roman physician, used Aloe for healing skin problems, too.
Old Chinese medicinal manuscripts dating from the 7th century mentioned using Aloe vera for various skin problems.
As we can see, Aloe was mainly used for its emollient, regenerating, rejuvenating, and cicatrizant properties.
Here is More About Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera Gel & Juice Benefits for Hair & How to Use Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera Juice Side Effects & How Much Aloe Vera Juice should I drink Daily
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