Aloe vera has been around for centuries and is widely regarded for its healing properties. You likely know it as a soothing way to treat sunburns, or perhaps as just an aesthetically pleasing houseplant, but you may be surprised to learn just how many ways this plant—referred to by the ancient Egyptians as “the plant of immortality”—can be used as a treatment for all kinds of skin concerns. Let’s explore.
Aloe vera helps relieve sunburn irritation and soothe skin. Thanks to its many healing properties and moisturizing effects, it’s most commonly used to soothe irritated or sunburnt skin. The properties of the plant—aloin, specifically—have been known to reduce inflammation and aid in the healing process. Aloe vera may even help heal second and third-degree burns.
Aloe vera can aid in reducing dark spots. Because of a compound known as aloesin, which helps with lightening hyperpigmentation, using aloe vera as a way to treat dark spots on the skin can be quite effective. Aiding most with dark spots caused by UV exposure or acne, aloesin has been known to directly inhibit hyperpigmented skin from producing any more melanin, the pigment that, when overproduced, causes dark spots to form.
Aloe vera is great for moisturizing skin. Due to the high water content of the plant, aloe is fantastic for adding and retaining moisture in the skin. Sugars, known as mucopolysaccharides, abundant in aloe, help to keep the skin hydrated. When applied topically, aloe vera may help increase the water content in the outermost layer of skin, making it an ideal moisturizer for those prone to dryness.
Aloe vera can be a beneficial scalp mask. Thanks to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and moisturizing benefits, aloe vera can be used as a renewing mask for the scalp. Using aloe in this way can provide relief from dry skin and irritation, while exfoliating dead cells, strengthening and hydrating hair follicles.
Aloe vera can help skin age well. Since aloe vera excels in providing and retaining moisture, it can naturally provide skin with a youthful glow, making fine lines and wrinkles less visible. It’s also effective at stimulating hyaluronic acid production, boosting collagen and elasticity, and can help the skin appear more firm and supple when applied regularly.
Aloe vera may help in clearing up acne. Research has shown that aloe’s antimicrobial properties may help those with acne-prone skin, and while it shouldn’t replace any acne products or medications you might be using, it can work in tandem. Aloe vera is a natural producer of salicylic acid, a common ingredient in acne medications, and one study found that, when combined with tretinoin cream, it was quite effective against breakouts.
Aloe vera can provide relief from psoriasis and eczema. These skin conditions are caused by general inflammation combined with a compromised skin barrier, which are both things aloe vera can fix, or at least help with. Because a broken skin barrier can welcome things like fungi, bacteria, and viruses into the body, applying a protective layer of aloe can be the first line of defense when treating the skin and is used as a base for many of our products that cater to sensitive skin.
Aloe vera may help reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Although there isn’t a ton of research as to why it’s so effective, it is thought that aloe’s ability to help vanish stretch marks on the body is due in part to its skin-renewing and anti-inflammatory properties. Just as it can help with fine lines and wrinkles, it works similarly for stretch marks, providing moisture and increased hyaluronic acid production to affected areas.
Have you used aloe vera for your skin concerns? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!