Aloe Vera for Skin Care and Other Conditions
The food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries have promoted Aloe vera for skin care for many decades. It has proven to be effective in treating and improving many skin conditions and disorders.
The degree of effectiveness each person experiences will depend on many factors. What is the Aloe vera being used for? What is the age of the person using it? Is the Aloe vera being used internally or topically? What is the source of the Aloe vera? Is it freshly obtained from the plant or is it the main ingredient in a retail product? How will it be applied or eaten, at what dosage and for how long? These questions make it evident it would be impossible to tell anyone the exact results they should expect when using Aloe vera for skin conditions.
You also want to be sure you are not buying mislabeled Aloe vera products that little or no actual Aloe ingredients.
There are some general skin conditions that have a long history of being improved with the use of Aloe vera for most people.
Aloe Vera for Skin Care Includes
- Soothes and Treats Burns
- Soothes Rashes and Irritations
- Treats Scalp Conditions
- Improves and Promotes Hair Growth
- Heals Cold Sores
- Skin Moisturizer
- Prevents Signs of Aging
- Prevents and Clears Up Acne
- Reduces Stretch Marks
- Speeds Up Wound Healing
- Treats Insect Bites
- Treats Periodontal Disease
Why Is Aloe Vera So Beneficial for Our Skin?
For some of these conditions, most people use Aloe vera gel directly on the skin. Aloe vera gel can be directly applied to the skin for things such as sunburn, frostbite, burns, psoriasis, itching and cold sores. Others simply use Aloe vera for smooth skin.
For other conditions, it is best to use the Aloe vera internally. Eating or drinking Aloe vera can have profound health benefits because it is so nutritious. Aloe vera contains more than 75 beneficial active compounds including saccharides, vitamins, minerals, anthraquinones, amino acids, enzymes, saponins, lignin, and salicylic acids. Additionally, it provides 20 of the 22 amino acids required by humans and all eight of the essential amino acids.
To get more specific, fresh Aloe vera will contain vitamins A, C and E along with vitamin B12, choline, and folic acid. The eight enzymes it contains are aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, catalase, amylase, lipase, carboxypeptidase, cellulase, and peroxidase. Aloe contains the minerals copper, calcium, selenium, chromium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc and sodium.
The four fatty acids that are present in Aloe vera include campesterol, cholesterol, lupeol and beta-sitosterol. As a side note all of these act as anti-inflammatories.
Soothes and Treats Burns Including Sunburns
Aloe vera provides the sugars monosaccharide and polysaccharides that help to alleviate the pain from sunburns while at the same time promoting healing. It helps with sunburns and other minor burns by treating the epithelial skin level. This is a layer of cells that actually cover the entire body.
Aloe vera gel has a protective effect against radiation damage to the skin. As far back as 1959, the U.S. FDA gave approval to use Aloe vera gel or commercially prepared ointment for healing various types of burns on the skin. It promotes faster healing when Aloe vera gel is topically used on burns. It does this by preventing UV-induced suppression. This encourages the burned area to heal at a faster rate.
Not to be minimized are the cooling properties of directly applying Aloe vera. While healing sunburn the Aloe also provides an effective protective layer to the affected skin. The minerals and antioxidants speed up the healing process. In one research study, the results from Aloe vera gel applied over a two day period were superior to 1% hydrocortisone.
A scientific review of four research studies determined that Aloe vera compared to controlled groups reduced the healing time for first and second-degree burns by nine days.
Soothes Rashes and Skin Irritations
Many double-blind reports have validated the wound healing capabilities of using topical Aloe vera. The compounds in Aloe vera help in the treatment of dermatitis, psoriasis, and oral mucositis. It has also been shown to rapidly provide relief from itching that stems from a wide variety of sources such as Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.
A study by the Department of Clinical Physiology located in Sweden in 1996 tested 60 patients with severe chronic psoriasis. This study was a conducted as a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial using either Aloe vera or a placebo cream. The cure rate for the group using Aloe vera was 83 percent! That compared to the placebo group which was only 7 percent. Additionally, and surprisingly, there were no relapses reported among the Aloe vera group during a 12-month follow-up.
In 2009, another research group systematically reviewed and then summarized 40 different studies involving using Aloe vera for various dermatological purposes. The study concluded that Aloe vera orally administered to mice can decrease the total number and the size of papillomas (these are small growths primarily on the skin) and can effectively heal wounds. It was also shown that Aloe vera will reduce the number of tumors in the spleen, liver, and bone marrow by more than 90 percent. The aggregated studies also showed the effectiveness or Aloe vera in treating dermatitis, genital herpes, psoriasis, burns, frostbite and inflammation. Additionally, it can safely be used for antimicrobial and antifungal purposes.
Treats Scalp Conditions
The properties in Aloe vera make it great for your hair and your scalp. It is especially helpful as a natural treatment for people with dry hair or those with an itchy scalp.
Dandruff can be caused by fungal infections, irritated oily or excessively dry skin. The antibacterial and antifungal properties make Aloe vera very beneficial for dandruff. The enzymes are beneficial in removing dead cells from the scalp while at the same time promoting the regeneration of skin tissue surrounding hair follicles. Aloe vera also hydrates the scalp and balances the dry/oily conditions.
Improves and Promotes Hair Growth
Aloe vera helps to maintain the pH balance of your hair which makes it a great conditioner. Aloe vera has nourishing properties because of the vitamins and minerals in its compounds. Aloe vera nourishes your hair to make it strong and healthy.
Regular use of Aloe vera or a shampoo containing it will help restore shine and vitality to your hair. Unlike most common, chemically based hair products, Aloe vera does not leave behind a greasy residue or any harmful ingredients.
Aloe vera increases blood circulation to the scalp which may activate new hair growth. The proteolytic enzymes it contains helps repair dead skin cells that form on the scalp. Interestingly, the primary protein in hair (keratin) has a similar chemical makeup to Aloe vera. This makes Aloe vera a good way to rejuvenate hair and give it more elasticity. Improving elasticity helps prevent split ends.
Heals Cold Sores
Cold sores anywhere on the body can be painful and embarrassing if they are visible to others.
The anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties in Aloe vera help soothe the discomfort and pain. The compounds contained in Aloe vera will also accelerate the healing of cold sores. It is best to use pure, fresh Aloe vera gel and apply it several times a day.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Aloe vera may also be effective in treating canker sores which occur inside the mouth.
For many people, Aloe vera is the first choice for moisturizing the skin. It can be applied at any time and will not leave a film on your skin. It will not clog pores which are the main reason for acne. Men often use it as the perfect aftershave since it softens and hydrates the skin. Aloe vera also helps with small shaving nicks and razor burns.
Since Aloe vera is so effective in improving skin hydration it is a very common ingredient in various cosmetic formulations and to treat dry skin.
Prevents Signs of Aging
Aging naturally brings with it the loss of skin elasticity and in turn the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. How can Aloe vera help? Aloe vera helps prevent the signs of aging primarily because it contains numerous antioxidants including vitamins C and E along with beta-carotene. These natural compounds help keep the skin hydrated and also improve the natural firmness of your skin. There is a good reason that many people use Aloe vera for wrinkles.
Some recent research indicates that taking Aloe vera in supplement form causes the body to increase its production of collagen which greatly improves skin elasticity. Significant improvements were seen in just 90 days.
Prevents and Clears Up Acne
Auxin and gibberellins are two important hormones contained in Aloe vera. Both of these hormones help reduce skin inflammation. Gibberellins also stimulate the growth of new cells which causes skin blemishes to heal quicker and with less or no scarring. All of the Aloe vera compounds that help with psoriasis and eczema are also beneficial for acne problems.
The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties of Aloe vera protect the skin from harmful bacteria and other pathogens. This prevents or reduces infection and inflammation.
Aloe vera as an astringent reduces pore size. This is a great help to keep out excess dirt, microbes and sebum.
Reduces Stretch Marks
Skin is designed to be elastic to accommodate growth. This elasticity works remarkably well unless the growth is too fast and too much such as during a pregnancy or other rapid weight gain. When this happens the skin is actually damaged with stretch marks and it can seem permanently. These minor tears in the upper layers of skin can be healed to the point of disappearing with the consistent use of Aloe vera.
Speeds Up Wound Healing
One of the most common topical uses of Aloe vera is to treat cuts and other flesh wounds. Incredible results are seen because Aloe vera speeds up skin cell production by up to eight times according to studies. Dr. Danhof from North Texas Research Laboratories determined that Aloe penetrates the outer layer of skin (epidermis) over four times faster than plain water.
As reported in BioMed Research International, in 2015 a research team concluded that Aloe vera was quite effective in healing wounds. They attributed the excellent results to polysaccharides, glycoproteins and glucomannan which stimulates new growth of fibroblasts. These are the cells that contribute to building new collagen and tissue. They also determined that other compounds in Aloe actually encourage the secretion of a person’s own insulin-like growth factors which are primarily for the regrowth of blood vessels.
Treats Insect Bites
An insect bite often causes histamines to rapidly rise to the skin’s surface. The histamines are attempting to battle with the irritating toxins that were left by the insect. People often experience adverse reactions from ants, biting flies, mosquitoes, gnats, bees, hornets, scorpions, yellow jackets, wasps and centipedes.
Anyone experiencing severe reactions to insect bites should immediately seek medical attention.
Insect bites can cause swelling, redness, itching and pain. Aloe vera gel can provide immediate soothing relief. A compound in Aloe vera called acemannan helps the body’s immune system increase the T-cells. This contributes to the almost instant relief from insect bites.
Treats Periodontal Disease
A study that was published in the medical Journal of Ethnopharmacology pointed out how extremely helpful Aloe vera was in treating gum diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis. It helped reduce swelling of the gums, bleeding and inflammation. As a powerful antiseptic it has the ability to clean in pockets where traditional cleaning is a challenge. Aloe vera’s antifungal compounds make it beneficial for aphthous ulcers, denture stomatitis and cracked corners of the mouth and lips.
Aloe vera is extremely beneficial for a wide variety of skin conditions. After consulting your medical professional it may be something that could aid you to make improvements in one of these areas. Depending on what you need it for there are also various ways to obtain and apply it. As noted above for some conditions it is best to use the pure Aloe vera gel. For other skin conditions it may work best to use a commercially made retail product since it may be easier to purchase and apply.