Written by Katherine Barrington, Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach
When your skin becomes dry or sunburned, what do you do? You probably reach for some kind of moisturizer or perhaps a healing ointment. Skin products like these come in all shapes and forms but many of them are made with a common ingredient – aloe vera. A natural moisturizer with anti-inflammatory and healing benefits, aloe vera is a powerful ingredient. Keep reading to learn more about this plant and to explore the many aloe vera benefits for skin care.
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a type of plant that grows in tropical climates throughout the world. Unlike plants which have soft leaves, aloe vera is a succulent – it is a stemless plant with thick, fleshy leaves outlined with tiny white teeth. If you break an aloe vera leaf, you will find a wet gel inside – this is the part of the plant that is most beneficial for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Aloe vera gel is used in everything from beverages and desserts to skin creams, cosmetics, and medicinal ointments. Though this plant can be used for a variety of purposes, the benefits of aloe vera gel for skin among the most significant.
What Are the Benefits of Aloe Vera?
The clear gel found inside aloe vera leaves contains phytochemicals which offer a wide variety of different benefits, especially for your skin. Aloe vera helps to soothe and revitalize dry, sun-exposed skin while encouraging your skin to retain more of its natural moisture. It also helps to heal epithelial tissue and stimulates wound healing and collagen production – it even reduces inflammation and stimulates new cell growth to speed healing while minimizing scarring. It also contains natural anti-fungal and antibacterial qualities. Some of the top aloe vera uses for skin include the following:
- It is a natural moisturizer
- It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- It helps to soothe and heal sunburn
- Its anti-inflammatory benefits reduce acne
- It reduces the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks
Aside from the benefits of aloe vera for skin problems, this medicinal plant serves a few other useful purposes. For example, aloe vera leaves contain more than 75 different nutrients including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phenolic compounds. The gel of the aloe vera plant can be used to reduce swelling, stop bleeding, and lower inflammation in treating periodontal disease. It may also help to heal ulcers and support healthy digestion.
Homemade Skin Products with Aloe Vera
When it comes to making your own skin products and cosmetics with aloe vera you have two options – harvest the gel yourself or purchase it. To harvest the gel yourself, simply select a few of the larger, fatter leaves from the base of the aloe vera plant and pull them out from the bottom. Use a small, sharp knife to slice away the outer edge on one side of the leaf then split it along the seam and open it up. Finally, scrape the gel into a container and use as desired. If you’re looking for some simple recipes to use aloe vera gel for skin problems, here are a few you should try:
1. Cooling After Sun Spray
After a day in the hot sun, this cooling spray will help to hydrate dry skin and relieve sunburn.
- ½ cup aloe vera gel
- 1 ounce liquid Vitamin E
- 8 to 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 4 tablespoons witch hazel
- 5 tablespoons cool water
- Place the aloe vera gel in a small mixing bowl and add the Vitamin E.
- Stir in the essential oils then add the witch hazel and water before stirring to combine.
- Pour the mixture into a clean spray bottle, adding more water if needed to thin the mixture.
- Spray the mixture on sunburned skin as needed.
Cooling Face Cream
This face cream is gentle enough for the delicate skin on your face and, with the power of aloe vera, it has cooling and moisturizing benefits.
- 2 tablespoons jojoba oil
- 2 tablespoons sweet almond oil
- 1 tablespoon beeswax granules
- 6 drops lavender essential oil
- 3 drops frankincense essential oil
- 6 tablespoons aloe vera gel
- Combine the jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, and beeswax in a double boiler over low heat.
- Heat until the ingredients are melted then pour into a bowl and stir smooth.
- Allow the mixture to cool for 1 hour until it reaches room temperature.
- Stir in the essential oils then add the aloe vera gel while mixing with a hand blender.
- Increase the speed and whip the mixture until fluffy – about 10 minutes – then spoon into a jar and store in a cool, dry place.
Healing Skin Ointment
This soothing ointment is great for treating burns and soothing other skin-related problems.
- ¼ cup organic coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon beeswax granules
- ¼ cup Manuka honey
- 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
- Combine the coconut oil and beeswax in a double boiler over low heat.
- Heat until the ingredients are melted then stir in the honey and aloe vera gel until well combined.
- Remove from heat then spoon into a jar and store in a cool, dry place.
- Let the mixture set for 6 to 12 hours until hardened before using.
By now it should be clear just how powerful aloe vera is for soothing and relieving skin problems. If you are thinking about buying aloe vera to use in making your own cosmetics or skin care products, be sure to choose a high-quality, organic product.
Benefits of Aloe Vera for Skin Care
~ Written by Katherine Barrington, Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach