Photo: Nei Cruz

Beauty Ingredient Focus: Aloe Vera

A guide to understanding commonly used ingredients in beauty products: the pros, cons and how they interact with the skin. Find out about Aloe Vera.

Aloe vera plants have been used for centuries to help skin ailments but in the last few decades it has surged in popularity as an ingredient in natural beauty products. The African succulent that is commercially cultivated all over the world with the largest farms found in the Mediterranean, the United States, the Caribbean and Japan.

Aloe vera plants can store large amounts of water in its large fleshy leaves, an adaptation to a life in regions susceptible to extreme weather conditions. Inside a leaf is a clear jellylike liquid which forms the basis of the ingredient in aloe vera skincare.

Photo: Rabiem22

Commercial aloe products include everything from skincare to hair products.

Aloe gel, especially when combined with other natural ingredients, can greatly enhance the skin and its ability to replenish skin cells.

As skin cells die, new skin cells must replace the old to promote healthy skin. This also slows the ageing process and helps keep the skin moist and beautiful.

There are also medicinal creams and gels to help with itching, burns, cuts, psoriasis  and other skin conditions. Aloe vera gel is also known to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, which allow skin ailments to heal while reducing risk of infection. It can work as a natural local anesthetic to reduce or alleviate pain such as severe sunburn, whilst cooling the skin and speeding up the healing process.

If you grow your own aloe vera plant in the garden or as a potted plant, you can actually use the gel directly onto your skin for minor blemishes and injuries because of its antibacterial properties. Simply break off part of a leaf and squeeze out the liquid.

The next best thing to having your own plant is to buy natural aloe-based products. But before purchasing, ensure that the products are natural with few or no added ingredients that could decrease the aloe’s beneficial properties.

Read the ingredients and read up on why they were added. You will find that some products have added natural ingredients to enhance the product’s skincare properties. These products often provide more benefits than even the actual aloe plant alone.

Shop around to find aloe-based products that are unique to your skin care needs. If you have psoriasis, for instance, look for creams, gels, or lotions to soothe this condition. If you work in the sun or are outdoors a great deal, look for aloe products that can protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. If you have multiple needs for aloe, find a natural aloe product that offers many benefits in one.


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