Most people are aware of aloe vera’s soothing and healing capacities. Many families keep an aloe plant in the kitchen to use to quickly treat minor burns from cooking, and other minor wounds. Nearly every drug store and health food store sells a post-sun care product containing aloe vera because of its ability to soothe and speed up the healing process of sunburn.
I was already aware that aloe is one of the most commonly used botanical ingredients in cosmetic and personal care products because of these traits, but aloe offers several other benefits to the skin that I was not as aware of.
Aloe is a Humectant
A humectant is one of the primary categories of moisturizers. Humectants work by attracting and drawing water to the skin, and then binding the water to the cells and tissues. This increases hydration, and therefore softens the skin and helps improve the appearance of lines. Aloe is a wonderful humectant, and is possibly the most inexpensive and accessible humectant ingredient.
Aloe is an Emollient
Another primary category of moisturizers is emollients. Emollients work by staying on the surface of the skin to prevent loss of moisture. They also soften and appear to “fill in” fine lines, and have soothing properties. Most emollients are fatty ingredients, which makes them inadvisable for use on oilier skin types. Aloe is one of the few emollients that is not fatty; it is lightweight and is a great way to hydrate and trap in moisture for oily skin to prevent dehydration. It is also non-comedogenic, which means it will not clog pores.
Aloe is Anti-fungal, Antimicrobial, and Anti-inflammatory
This makes it a great treatment not only for minor burns and scrapes, but also for fungal infections like athlete’s foot, and bacterial infections like acne. Not only does it reduce fungus and bacteria, soothe irritation, and heal inflammation; it also forms a film over the area on which it was applied. This seals and protects the area while it heals.
Aloe’s Internal Benefits
Aloe vera is now commonly seen in health food stores as an internal supplement. I have seen bottles of pure aloe vera gel, as well as aloe vera juice you can drink. It is also often used in detoxification formulas and programs. Taken internally, aloe offers countless potential benefits to the entire body. According to Simon Smith, author of the Aloe Vera Health Benefits website, some of these benefits are:
- A bioavailable source of several vitamins and minerals that are vital to healthy cell growth
- Contains several antioxidants that protect the body against free radical damage
- Contains multiple enzymes to aid the process of digestion
- Contains plant sterols that prevent over-acidity and help soothe the digestive tract
- Reduces inflammation inside the body
- Prevents Candida overgrowth in the body
- Helps the body’s natural wound healing process function properly
- Aids in detoxification and helps keep the colon clean and regular
Use Aloe in Moderation and with Caution