21 Soothing Aloe Vera Skin Benefits You're Missing Out On
Aloe Vera is a bit like the Windex of skincare: it’s supposed to fix anything.
The aloe vera skin benefits are vast and varied. It soothes. It cleanses. It moisturizes. If you are looking for a miracle gel, this is it.
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera, or aloe barbadensis, is a cactus-like plant that grows in subtropical climates. The long thick “leaves” are edged with small spikes. Though nowhere near the intensity of the recognizable needles on common cacti, it’s not exactly a welcoming sight to the unaccustomed. Inside these stalks, however, you will find the clear gel used in topical treatments.
Each leaf is composed of three layers
- The inner clear gel contains 99% water and a 1% mixture of glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols, and vitamins
- The latex layer, a middle layer of yellowish sap.
- The thick outer rind protects the inner layers and transports water and starch.
We mentioned some of those vitamins and lipids in the gel layer. Just a few of the naturally occurring components of the aloe vera plant include (3):
- Vitamins: A, C, and E (antioxidants) as well as B12, folic acid, and choline.
- 8 different enzymes that reduce inflammation
- Minerals: Calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc
- Sugars: Monosaccharides and polysaccharides
- Anthraquinones: More commonly known as laxatives, a few of these also have antiviral and antioxidant properties
- Fatty acids: anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and more
- Hormones: Auxins and gibberellins that help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action
- 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids
Aloe has been used in skincare and medicine for centuries. Its use is recorded in Greece, Egypt, India, Mexico, Babylonia, Japan and China (1). Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra incorporated it into their skincare and health routine. Over in Greece, Alexander the Great was utilizing the aloe plant on wounds to speed up the healing process. From ancient cultures to modern medicine, aloe vera is something of a miracle plant.
Aloe Vera Skin Benefits
As you can probably already tell, the benefits of aloe vera are pretty much all-encompassing, so let’s break it down a bit.
1. Heal minor cuts and burns
If it was good enough for Alexander the Great it’s good enough for me. The sugars and hormones present in aloe vera increase collagen production near wound sites and promote the regeneration of cells for scabbing.
2. Reduce scarring
The result of those not so minor cuts and burns is often scarring. If you want to lighten and reduce these scars, adding aloe vera to your cut and burn scars can promote new skin cells and reduce scarring.
Aloe vera gel is incredible at locking in moisture. It unclogs pores and softens the skin for all-day softness.
4. Soothe sunburn
The healing properties of Aloe make it an excellent treatment for sunburns. Applying this to burned areas can reduce any further damage from UV radiation and alleviate the pain and redness quicker. For extra cooling and soothing, try freezing some gel into ice cubes to apply on the burned area. The low temperature will be a welcome relief and the aloe vera will do more to heal than regular water.
Although it works as a sunburn treatment, aloe vera won’t protect you from getting burned in the first place. That’s a job for sunscreen.
The same properties that make aloe vera such a great moisturizer also promote youthful skin. Aloe stimulates fibroblast in your skin, which promotes the production of collagen and elastin. The amino acids soften skin cells and zinc tightens pores.
Aloe vera has 6 antiseptic agents that act against fungi, bacteria, and viruses. This reduces infection on the surface of the skin as well as internally, which means it’s a great preventative measure as well.
Treat inflammation on your face and skin with soothing aloe vera. The fatty acids contained in the plant all have anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce skin irritations and other symptoms of inflammation.
8. Treat acne
One of the major aloe vera skin benefits is its ability to treat. Aloe vera has been proven to heal and prevent acne, and many of the benefits above contribute to this. The anti-inflammatory properties reduce irritations on your face, and the antiseptic qualities keep your skin clean to remove dirt and irritants in your pores.
9. Heal acne scars
Aloe’s reputation as a healing plant extends beyond the battlefield. Aloe not only treats acne, but it can also reduce and heal scarring left over. Improved collagen production increases the rate at which your cells reproduce and therefore reduces the signs of acne scarring.
10. Promote hair growth
Aloe vera on your scalp can promote hair growth. While this isn’t strictly a skin benefit, it’s worth mentioning another of the many great benefits of this plant. Aloe promotes circulation to the scalp which can promote and hasten hair growth.
11. Fight flaky scalp
Suffer from dandruff? Aloe’s moisturizing and antifungal properties can reduce a flaky scalp and soothe irritation from scratching by actually helping the epidermal layer stick together and keep you from experiencing flaky skin.
12. Softer, silkier hair
Again, the moisturizing benefits of aloe never cease. If an oil-based hair mask isn’t working for you, try a deep condition with aloe vera instead.
13. Immune boosting
The numerous antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties of aloe make it great for boosting your immune system. A strong immune system creates a ripple effect across your skin, contributing to everything from reducing acne to giving you that healthy glow.
14. Gentle exfoliant
Aloe can be used as a gentle exfoliant base for those with more sensitive skin. Be careful not to overuse it though, as it can reverse the effectiveness if you are overzealous and actually start to dry out your skin (5).
15. Eczema relief
One of many inflammatory skin conditions aided by aloe, the soothing aloe vera skin benefits calm irritated patches and keep them clean and moisturized.
16. Treat psoriasis
Just like eczema, psoriasis sufferers can use aloe to soothe dry, itchy patches and reduce inflammation.
17. Cold sores
Another skin irritation, aloe vera promotes wound healing which is great for the dry months if you are prone to cold sores.
18. Treat herpes
Herpes, the underlying cause of cold sores, can also be treated with aloe. Its anti-viral properties can reduce sores and infection.
19. Soften nail beds
At home mani-pedi anyone? The softening and moisturizing agents in aloe can be applied to your nail beds. Heal those hangnails you may have cut too short or just give yourself a nice pamper session.
20. Smooth calluses
Want smooth feet, hands, and elbows? With aloe vera, soft and supple skin is on the way.
21. Dry nose and lips
Whether it’s the harsh winds and dry air of winter, or the raw skin left from blowing your nose over and over with a cold, the moisturizing and anti-bacterial aloe vera skin benefits are sure to bring you some much-needed relief.
All of these aloe vera skin benefits might have made you anxious to start using it in your skincare and beauty routine. Several companies have had the same idea. Aloe vera is known to penetrate the outer skin layer eight times faster than water. It also has agents that cause it to lock in moisture and soften skin such as amino acids and zinc.
In Korea, many brands have moved away from water-based products in favor of extracts and oils. Since your skin naturally secretes oils to keep itself moisturized, you want a product that works to promote and maintain that balance (7). The issue with water-based products is that water will evaporate off the surface and take those natural oils with it, leaving your skin drier and forcing it to produce more oils as a result.
Aloe is a great alternative to water. Since it is still 99% H2O, Aloe vera works as an effective carrier for other extracts without the added dilution and drying. Next time you’re looking for some skincare, see what Aloe based and other waterless products you might like to try.
Written by Christiana Sinacola