Aloe vera is in the succulent family of plants that grows in dry, hot climates. Its use has been documented for thousands of years dating back to Egyptian times. Aloe is used both topically and orally for various ailments due to its high concentration of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids.
The gel contained in the inner leaf of the plant is the primary part of the plant used for topical applications. It has a thick, jelly-like consistency and is filled with beneficial substances that are believed to minimize inflammation and help retain moisture on the skin.
How is Aloe vera used for skin?
Aloe is one of the most used plant-based remedies for various skin ailments from acne to sunburns, psoriasis, and wound healing. In fact, Aloe has been used for centuries for its wound healing properties. Not only does Aloe vera help calm inflammation and retain moisture on the skin, but it’s also thought to have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
These anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties make Aloe a beneficial ingredient to use with inflammatory acne. Studies have shown that combining Aloe vera with traditional acne treatments improves healing when compared to the topical treatment or placebo used alone.
How to use Aloe vera?
Aloe comes in many formulated creams, gels, and serums. You can also use the gel straight from the leaf of a mature Aloe plant. To use fresh Aloe, choose a thick leaf that looks healthy and cut it close to the stem with clean scissors or a knife. You can also typically snap off the leaf close to the base. Use a clean finger or knife to separate the gel from the outside of the leaf and directly apply the gel to red or inflamed skin.
Since Aloe vera has been used for topical formulations for thousands of years, it’s well-known that it has a great safety and tolerability profile. There are a few people, though, who have an allergic reaction to Aloe. Before using the plant gel or any product formulated with an Aloe extract, it’s best to perform an allergy test. Apply a small amount of gel or product to a discreet area under your jawline or behind your ear and monitor it for redness or irritation for 48 hours after application.