6 Benefits Of Aloe + 5 Uses For The Skin
Aloe Vera is known as the “wonder plant”. It belongs to the succulent variety of plants that usually grow without a stem and has thick and green fleshy leaves that can grow up to 2-3 feet high. It was considered as “the plant of immortality” by the ancient Egyptians and has been used by a variety of cultures over the centuries for its health properties. In particular there are 6 benefits of Aloe Vera that I am going to go into detail on with an emphasis on uses for the skin!
This wonder plant contains a clear gel and latex which both are considered to have medicinal value. The gel is made up of 96% water and contains some organic and inorganic compounds as well. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, in addition to 18 different amino acids that can also be found in the human body. Most people are familiar with the commercialized aloe gel sold for sunburn relief, but this gel typically only contains a very small amount of real aloe gel cut with synthetic ingredients.
The pure aloe gel extracted directly from the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant has a wide range of benefits for the human body.
Antioxidants are essential for good health. Oxidative stress and the resulting inflammation contribute to almost every modern chronic disease you could think of. That’s because oxidative stress interferes with the energy-producing structures of the cells (mitochondria) and inhibits healing in the body.
Aloe vera contains antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, as well as minerals that help control inflammation in the body (1). The antibacterial effects of Aloe also help control inflammation by ridding the body of unwanted pathogens and supporting a healthy immune response (2).
These effects are especially beneficial for the gut as many people have issues with GI disorders that inhibit their ability to extract nutrition from the food they eat.
Great For Oral Health
Researchers have found that Aloe Vera gel has germ-fighting abilities and is safe to consume internally. Consequently, it has been shown to heal and reduce pain caused by inflammatory and bacterial conditions of the mouth (3).
It effectively fights cavities, reduces dental plaque, and may be used as an effective alternative to commercial mouthwashes (4). You can use pure Aloe gel or find oral hygiene products that include it in their formulas.
Aloe Vera can aid digestion by healing the gut and balancing the internal environment. Aloe juice has been shown to help restore the mucosal lining of the gut, inhibit unwanted bacteria, and provide support for those who suffer from IBS symptoms. There is also some preliminary research suggesting beneficial effects against stomach ulcers and H. pylori infections as well (5, 6).
Finally, the latex component of Aloe (aloin) is metabolized by the gut bacteria to produce a new compound (Aloe-emodin) that stimulates a mild laxative effect, making it an effective remedy for constipation. Aloe-emodin also shows promise for anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, metabolism, and bone support effects (7, 8).
Regulates Blood Sugar
A 1996 clinical trial followed a group of diabetic patients given a tablespoon of Aloe juice twice per day for at least two weeks and found that, against a control group, the group that received Aloe saw a significant decrease in blood sugar as well as triglyceride levels (10).
Aloe Vera can indirectly boost immunity due to its anti-inflammatory effects in the body. At the same time, taken internally, it can help rid the intestinal tract of unwanted bacteria, which will also improve immunity.
Glucomannan, a constituent of Aloe, has been shown to stimulate macrophage and cytokine activity which are important for active immune responses in the body (11). Finally, Aloe contains a small amount of zinc, which is absolutely critical for proper immune function and preventing the replication of viruses within the body.
An important property of Aloe Vera is that it works on detoxifying the body. It aids the body in releasing toxins indirectly through its other physiological actions.
First it provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects to help scavenge damaging free radicals. Next, it helps to clear accumulated waste in the colon through its laxative effect. Finally, it helps to rid the digestive tract of harmful pathogens that may be releasing toxins into your colon.
Because the colon is one of the body’s most important detoxification systems, keeping it cleared out allows the body to better eliminate harmful waste.
5 Uses Of Aloe For Your Skin
When it comes to skincare, I like to rely on natural ingredients as much as possible. One of the most time-tested natural ingredients is Aloe Vera. It gently nourishes the skin without any harmful side effects.
Here are my favorite ways to use Aloe for skin health.
Aloe Vera works well for different types of skin. Not only does it provide a powerful punch of healing nutrients to your body’s biggest organ, but it does so without leaving any greasy residue. This is great for people who have trouble with oily and acne prone skin. It also imparts a nice cooling effect after applied.
For the ladies, Aloe also makes for a great base before applying makeup. It smooths and tones the skin, making for a nice surface to work your magic!
You may have noticed that many sunscreen manufacturers include a small amount of Aloe in their formulations. The problem is that it is usually a small amount of low-quality aloe mixed with questionable chemicals that just aren’t natural.
Sunburn is largely caused by oxidative damage to the skin from the sun’s UV radiation. Due to its powerful antioxidant benefits, aloe applied during and after sun exposure may help prevent sunburn by helping to counteract this oxidation.
Of course, you also want to make sure you follow safe sun exposure guidelines.
Dr. Jocker’s Recommendations are:
Light skin = 15-20 minutes daily
Medium Skin = 25-30 minutes daily
Dark Skin = 40-45 minutes daily
Many commercial acne treatments are harsh and damaging to the skin. Oftentimes, acne results due to skin that is chronically inflamed and oily, with an imbalance of bad bacteria.
Aloe may help to clear the skin by providing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits without contributing to the overproduction of oil.
After cleansing your acne-prone areas with a natural soap, apply fresh aloe gel to help soothe and nourish your skin.
Heals Wounds and Burns
Aloe Vera could be an important aspect of your personal first aid kit as it provides powerful relief for damaged skin (12). The US government even conducted research on aloe as a potential agent for healing the skin from radiation induced skin damage in the military!
If you have any recent injuries or fresh wounds, apply Aloe Vera gel to accelerate the healing process. In cases of deeper cuts or scratches, it speeds the process of cell reproduction. In addition to accelerating the healing process, the cooling effect of Aloe can provide a comforting relief from any burning sensation you may be experiencing.
Combats Signs Of Aging
Oxidation is at the root of aging in the body. As the structural proteins of the skin begin to break down, the appearance of wrinkles becomes imminent. Using a nourishing topical treatment like Aloe gel can help prevent the appearance of wrinkles by protecting from oxidation.
At the same time, the enzymes in fresh Aloe Vera gel can help to break down old skin cells and support the regeneration of new ones. For the most benefit, try to get fresh aloe gel from the plant which is much more likely to have the full array of antioxidants and enzymes intact.
Precautions To Be Taken
Although Aloe Vera is very safe for most topical and internal usage, Aloe latex consumed in high doses can contribute to unpleasant intestinal upset. If you are going to use Aloe latex for internal use, ensure that you follow consumer guidelines to lower these risks.
For topical application, make sure the product is as natural and unprocessed as possible. Many commercialized Aloe products contain added chemicals that can be harmful to the body. If the gel is to be directly applied from the leaf, wash and clean it before applying, especially to the face. If you take these precautions, risk is very limited.
Final Thoughts On Aloe
Considering its many benefits, Aloe may be a powerful addition to your daily life. Especially in regards to your skin health, you may want to perform an audit of your beauty products and remove unwanted toxins. Aloe has a diverse set of benefits and can be used to replace many of them!
Once again it must be stressed that you should seek out the purest Aloe Vera gel as possible. Even better, buy an organic Aloe Vera plant and grow it yourself! When you need the gel, simply break open one of the succulent leaves and apply to your skin.
Nisha has a great passion towards writing and loves the idea of sharing her journey. She has written many articles on yoga, fitness, wellness, natural remedies and beauty. She stays up-to-date by reading articles and tuning in to different blogs across the spectrum of wellness. She is constantly feeding her passion and coming up with new ideas on how to share her knowledge. She has contributed to websites like momjunction, mythirtyspot as well as a few others.