When you think of aloe vera you may recall memories of applying a gooey green substance to your painful red sunburn after a few too many hours in the sun. The gel is cool and soothing, helping to ease the pain of your burn. But did you know that aloe vera has many additional uses other than alleviating sunburn? Keep reading to learn more about all of the skincare benefits of aloe vera.
What is aloe vera?
Aloe barbadensis miller, commonly known as aloe vera, has been used for centuries for its health, beauty, medicinal, and skin care properties. It is a succulent with bright yellow tubular flowers and thick green leaves that have jagged, spiny edges.
The Aloe vera gel that you are most likely familiar with is obtained from the inner part of the aloe plant leaf. There is also a yellow latex found just under the plant’s skin, which is typically taken orally for constipation.
The skincare benefits of Aloe vera
The skincare benefits of Aloe vera have been known for quite some time. Its use can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where the plant was depicted on stone carvings. In 1820, Aloe vera was officially listed as a skin protectant by the U.S. pharmacopeia. In 2009, a systematic review summarized 40 studies that involved using aloe vera for dermatological purposes. The studies also showed that aloe vera effectively treats psoriasis, dermatitis, frostbite, burns, and inflammation.
The benefits provided by Aloe vera are due to the 75 active phytochemicals found in this plant. Phytochemicals are natural chemical compounds that are produced by plants to help them grow and survive, such as vitamins, minerals, enzymes, lipids, sugars, salicylic acids, and amino acids. In fact, Aloe vera provides 20 of the 22 human-required amino acids and eight of the eight essential amino acids.
The phytochemicals found in Aloe vera have been extensively studied for their dermatologic benefits. For example, Aloe vera exhibits strong anti-inflammatory activity due to the enzyme bradykinase. By inhibiting the inflammatory mediators thromboxane B2 and prostaglandin F2, bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically.
Aloe vera is also rich in vitamins C and E, which are antioxidants that exude many skin benefits. For instance, antioxidants protect the skin from the damaging effects of environmental free radicals, such as UV exposure, pollution, and chemical irritants. Vitamin C also plays a role in the synthesis of collagen, the protein that gives your skin strength and durability. Thus, applying skincare products with vitamin C can make your skin more firm and smooth. You can also find beta carotene in the Aloe vera plant, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Beta carotene is just one of the four carotenoids that demonstrate vitamin A activity in humans and also acts as an antioxidant.
Lastly, the Aloe vera plant contains glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), a class of sugar molecules, that help bind moisture into the skin. . GAGs are also naturally found in human skin with a primary role of supporting the proteins collagen and elastin in the dermis. Collagen, elastin, and GAGs form the majority of an important support system called the extracellular matrix (ECM). GAGs readily absorb water, which creates the fluid that fills the space between the collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis, giving it turgidity. Therefore, the GAGs found in Aloe vera are what make this natural ingredient an excellent addition to a skin moisturizer.
My favorite Aloe vera product
One of my favorite products that provides all of the skincare benefits of Aloe vera is the Dr. Lin Daily Hydrating Gel.
After applying the Daily Hydrating Gel to dry, irritated skin you’ll immediately feel a cool, fresh sensation. Then, you’ll notice how your skin’s redness and inflammation begins to diminish. These effects are all thanks to Aloe vera! Also, since Aloe vera helps with inflammation and promotes healing, it can help to calm acne-prone skin and minimize breakouts.
If you haven’t already, pick up a jar of the Dr. Lin Skincare Daily Hydrating Gel to start giving your skin the moisture and healing ingredients it needs to look its best!