Aloe vera contains antioxidants, enzymes, Vitamins A and C, and it is highly anti-inflammatory. It can help treat burns, acne and dry skin. Because aloe vera gel is mostly water, it helps to hydrate the skin.
About Aloe Vera
Aloe vera originates from the succulent, Aloe, native to the Arabian Peninsula. However, it happens to grow wild in a variety of tropical climates around the world. For example, North Africa and the Canary Islands.
Though more than 300 species of the aloe plant exist, aloe vera (also known as Aloe Barbadensis), is typically famous for its healing properties within the health and beauty sector. In fact, many use the substance from the succulent today in cosmetics, food and herbal remedies.
Our Organic Whipped Shea Butter also features aloe vera. The benefits of aloe vera working alongside avocado oil, olive oil and coconut oil to provide the ultimate hydration.
There are two useful parts of the aloe vera plant. First, a clear gel that is extracted from the leaves. Wellness expert and trainer, Dr Utpala Singh, states that the gel is ‘the most potent part of the plant to be used for topical preparations.’ Many use the gel directly on the skin or even add it to food, post-extraction.
The second substance that the aloe plant produces is the aloe latex. Aloe latex is a golden yellow liquid that seeps from the leaf when cut. Medical experts have even recognised this substance to have purgative effects.
That said, here are the multiple ways that aloe vera benefits the body.
Aloe Vera for Your Skin
Firstly, aloe vera benefits the skin by being highly moisturising. With a water content of 98%, it is the perfect ingredient for enhancing the hydration of the skin. Aloe can penetrate the skin four times faster than water, making it ideal for hydration without clogging the pores.
Its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties also work to heal acne. Aloe vera contains salicylic acid, which is a key ingredient in skincare for reducing acne. This is because salicylic acid exfoliates the skin, decreasing redness and inflammation. The benefits of using aloe vera to treat acne go further. Aloe vera also assists in normalising oil production as it is an astringent – a product that tightens pores and removes oil. Therefore, reducing blemish flare-ups whilst decongesting the pores. Simply using aloe vera gel in place of a cleanser will help to kill harmful bacteria on the skin.
Aloe vera is rich in vitamins A, C and E. With this and its antioxidant properties, aloe vera benefits collagen production and the skin's elasticity, ultimately slowing down the aging process of the skin.
Premature aging of the skin is commonly due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation, which can result in wrinkles and dark spots on the skin. Although aging is a natural process, pure aloe vera leaf gel can support the skin's immune system, overall making the skin feel and appear more youthful and radiant.
Beyond beauty, one of the other benefits of aloe vera is that its anti-inflammatory compounds can heal burns, wounds and sunburn. This specific compound reduces the swelling of the skin, promoting healing whilst alleviating pain. In this case, it is recommended to use pure aloe vera gel directly from an aloe vera plant.
Here’s How to Harvest Your Own Aloe Vera Gel
- First, remove 3-4 leaves at a time. Select thick leaves from the outer section of the plant. Check that the leaves are healthy and free of any damage.
- Cut the leaves close to the stem. This is where most of the beneficial nutrients are found. Avoid the roots.
- Wash and dry the leaves.
- Trim the prickly edges carefully with a knife.
- Using your finger, separate the gel from the leaf. This is the gel that you’ll be using.
- Allow the yellow liquid (aloe latex) to drain from the leaf. You can store this in a container if you plan to use it later.
- Finally, cut the aloe gel into slices and store. You could even put the aloe in a blender and then strain to remove the pulp.
As mentioned, the benefits of using aloe vera go beyond skincare. Many therapeutic benefits are found in aloe vera, for example, improving dental health. This is due to its ability to kill and remove bacteria. No wonder it is sometimes referred to as a “wonder plant.”
Furthermore, aloe vera benefits the hair. In the book, Aloe Vera: Nature’s Soothing Healer, Diana Gage explains that the gel of the aloe plant has a chemical makeup similar to keratin. Therefore, it has the power to lift away dead skin cells and promote new growth, similar to keratin. This is due to aloe containing proteolytic enzymes, which not only nourishes the hair, but works to relieve irritation and itchiness due to the likes of dandruff. It’s anti-inflammatory and astringent properties help to keep oiliness at bay. For best results, mix aloe vera gel with a hair oil of your choice and massage into the scalp and hair. Then, wash off after an hour for clean, flake-free hair.
Ultimately, adding aloe vera to your lifestyle and beauty routine can benefit the body from head to toe. Both externally and internally! Truly a wonder plant indeed.