Is Aloe Vera The Secret To Flawless Skin?
The soothing skin benefits of aloe vera after a few hours in the sun cannot be beaten. But aloe offers so much more than instant, feel-good sun relief. In fact, it’s packed with nutrients to help heal, repair and hydrate your skin. Want the lowdown? You’ve got it.
Otherwise known as aloe barbadensis, aloe vera is an evergreen, cactus-like succulent that’s just one of 500 species of the genus, aloe. Found naturally in North Africa, it’s been cultivated worldwide for centuries for the water-rich, medicinal gel that develops in its rosette of leaves and helps it survive in its naturally dry habitat. According to the Medical News Today the use of aloe vera can be traced back as far as the 16th century, and in ancient Egypt it was even known as ‘that plant of immortality.’
Before we even touch on skincare, it's interesting to note that the benefits of aloe vera are endless. Not only has it been proven to fight cavities and heal ulcers on the feet, but further research shows that it may even help reduce depression, memory loss and irritable bowel syndrome. Additional studies are still required to back up these latter claims, but watch this space...
By far the most well-known use for aloe vera, however, is as a topical skincare ingredient. In fact, it's so effective that it goes into every one of our products, here at TruSkin. Yes, you read that correctly. Every. Single. One. Here are five reasons why we believe in it so much.
1. Aloe Vera Soothes Sunburn Like No Other
Not only is aloe vera naturally cooling on the skin (yes, even for sensitive skin types), but it helps reduce itchiness, irritation and inflammation which can all be symptoms of over-exposure to the sun.
The reason it’s so effective is two-fold. First, aloe vera contains polysaccharides (chain-like sugars) which are anti-inflammatory and help the skin retain water to stay supple and hydrated. It’s also rich in enzymes, active minerals and a whole host of vitamins including A, B, C, D and E which, together, accelerate the healing process.
According to the AAD (American Academy of Dermatology) you should always use a moisturizer containing either aloe vera or soy to soothe sunburned skin.
2. It’s Great For Acne-Prone Skin
Because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera is awesome when combined with other acne-fighting ingredients for effectively reducing mild to moderate acne lesions.
It's great in cleansers to help remove bacteria and excess oils from the surface of the skin and thus reduce the development of acne spots. And if you want to target breakouts while you sleep, try it as an overnight treatment. It works especially well when combined with ingredients such as tea tree oil and salicylic acid.
3. Aloe Vera Helps Fight Free Radicals
The skin hates free radicals. And rightly so. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are formed in the skin after exposure to unwanted external aggressors such as light, heat and pollution. Because they have electrons missing from their outer shells, free radicals like to stabilize themselves by stealing electrons from other molecules such as DNA, collagen and elastin. This causes all manner of unnecessary damage to the skin.
So, how do you counteract such savagery? With antioxidants, that’s how. Antioxidants are clever little actives that are happy to donate electrons to free radicals without losing their stability. This means all the good stuff in your skin gets left alone to do its job at keeping your complexion as healthy as possible, while those hard-working antioxidants take all the pressure.
Along with other skin-loving ingredients like retinol, niacinamide, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, research published by the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) has proven that aloe vera is a very useful antioxidant in skincare.
4. Its Skin Healing Properties Are Second To None
The healing powers of aloe vera don't just apply to sunburn. In fact, whether you’re hoping to heal an old zit, scab, scar or even a burn wound, aloe vera’s got your back.
Remember that delicious cocktail of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals we talked about earlier? Well, they work synergistically to soothe, hydrate and repair the skin’s natural moisture barrier which can help heal all manner of skin concerns. Buh-bye blemishes.
5. Aloe Vera Is A Super Effective Moisturizer
As you might have gathered by now, aloe vera is packed with no end of nutrients to help maintain truly healthy skin. Well, it doesn’t stop there because the wonder-plant also contains another goodie: phytosterols.
Phytosterols are cholesterol-like molecules that help maintain the structure of cell membranes. They cannot be synthesized naturally by the body, so they have to be either ingested or applied topically. In the diet, phytosterols help reduce cholesterol and are found mostly in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and beans. And topically, thanks to skincare ingredients like aloe vera, they've been shown to increase collagen and hyaluronic acid production. This works to help prevent trans-epidermal water loss which strengthens, hydrates and protects the skin.
Strong, super-hydrated, soft and supple? Now, that's the type of skin everyone strives for.
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.