Written by Salma Dawood, Nutritionist BSc
Prolonged exposure to UV rays can be extremely damaging to the skin, leading to scarring, wrinkles, dark spots, sunburn and many more skin conditions. It is inevitable that we experience the painful, blistering effects of sunburn at some point of our lives. Aloe vera gel has been used for centuries to treat skin conditions, burns and wounds. After you spend some glorious time in the sunshine, aloe vera gel is a tremendous way to soothe, replenish and moisturize your skin. Remember to always apply SPF regularly throughout the day, to minimize sunburn.
How does aloe vera work? What exactly can this magical plant do for your skin? Read more to find out!
What active components benefit my skin
Aloe vera is an extremely nutritious plant, filled with over 100 phytochemicals, minerals, vitamins, and hormones, which provide a variety of health benefits.The two main hormones that play a role in skincare are Auxin and Gibberellins. These hormones promote wound healing, and have anti-inflammatory properties. They do so by stimulating the growth of new skin cells, speeding up the rate of recovery after a wound or a burn.
How can aloe vera provide after-sun relief
1) Treats burns and prevents swelling
The glycoproteins and polysaccharides in aloe vera work to repair damaged skin cells due to sunburn, and also help reduce inflammation. Aloe vera also diminishes any redness caused by harsh UV rays. Studies have shown that aloe vera speeds up the healing process of burns, increasing the production of new skin cells to replace the damaged ones.
Not only can you use aloe vera on sunburned skin, you can also heal your damaged lips using a drop of the gel.
2) Soothes and cools skin
Aloe vera reduces the burning sensation usually experienced after sun exposure, and can soothe inflamed skin due to the abundance of anti-oxidants found naturally in the gel. Lidocaine, an anesthetic, is found in aloe vera, which acts to relieve pain and soothes the skin.
Tip: Keep the aloe vera gel in the refrigerator, and apply while cold for an incredible cooling sensation on your skin.
3) Acts as a moisturizer & forms a protective layer
Aloe vera locks in moisture to keep the skin hydrated, while also forming a protective layer over peeling skin. This is essential when the skin is healing.
How do I use aloe vera for after-sun relief
Spread a thin layer of aloe vera gel on your skin, and allow to dry naturally. Aloe vera gel can be applied on its own after sun exposure, or you can mix it with other natural ingredients to create your own after-sun remedy! Try these different methods and creations, and see what works with your skin! Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
1) Aloe Vera, Cucumber & Lavender Oil
Blend a tablespoon of aloe vera gel, with a few drops of lavender oil and half a cucumber until smooth. Apply the mixture onto your skin, and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse lightly with cold water if residue remains.
Why it works: Lavender oil contains anti-inflammatory properties, that work to reduce swelling, and also stimulate the production of new skin cells. Cucumber provides a cooling relief to soothe sunburned areas while nourishing the skin.
2) Aloe Vera & Vitamin E Remedy
Extract the oil from 2 vitamin E capsules, and mix the oil with 2 tbsp. of aloe vera. Apply to the skin, and leave to air dry. Use as needed.
Why it works: Vitamin E is an exceptional moisturizer, and repairs damaged skin cells to heal the burn.
3) Aloe Vera Ice Cubes
Mix aloe vera gel with water, and fill an ice cube tray with the mixture. Freeze and apply to skin.
Why it works: This is an extremely cooling and soothing remedy to burned skin. The ice will reduce swelling, and provide relief from the burning sensation.
Aloe vera is a miracle ingredient for your skin, especially when you spend hours in the sunshine. Use aloe vera daily to ensure your skin is hydrated and protected. Enjoy the cooling and healing properties of this magical gel this summer.
Aloe Vera for After-sun Relief
~ Written by Salma Dawood, Nutritionist BSc