Aloe vera, a succulent plant, is renowned for its medicinal properties. Added to numerous cosmetic products in the modern world, and used by itself in less-industrialized parts of the world, organic aloe vera contains many elements that may make it a versatile way to hydrate one’s skin. Can we apply aloe vera to our face daily? What is it about aloe vera that makes it potentially helpful for our skin, and how often can we use it?
In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions by going into the possible uses for aloe vera, as well as some of its pros and cons. If you want to know if aloe vera is worth adding to your skincare regime, keep reading!
A Brief History of Aloe Vera and its Uses
Believed to have originated in Northern Africa, aloe vera can be traced back to many civilizations worldwide for thousands of years. This is because of the adaptable nature of the plant, making it easy to cultivate. Egypt, Greece, India, China, and Mexico are the most prominent civilizations to have used aloe vera. It has been said that Nefertiti and Cleopatra, two Egyptian queens, used the plant in their cosmetic routines.
Even Christopher Columbus and Alexander the Great were said to have used aloe vera to heal the wounds of their soldiers (Surjushe et al. 163). While aloe vera has been traditionally used for countless ailments, the plant has most commonly been used in many cultures as a laxative, a perspiration reducer, an anti-inflammatory, and an antibacterial medicine. Considering how widely it was used in the ancient world, it’s no surprise that aloe vera is still in fashion around the world today.
While the aloe vera’s botanical name is Aloe barbadensis miller, the common name of aloe vera derives from a combination of the Arabic word “Alloeh,” which means “shining butter substance,” and the Latin word “vera,” which means “true” (Surjushe et al. 163). It is no surprise, then, that aloe vera may have true shining properties that resemble its translated name.
In fact, this plant is composed of triangular, meaty leaves that contain three layers of health-packed benefits. The innermost layer gives the plant its name, for it is a clear, gel-like substance that is 99% water. The 1% that remains includes “glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols and vitamins” (Surjushe et al. 163). The second layer is a bitter latex sap that is yellow due to its naturally occurring anthraquinones. The third, outermost layer, called the rind, contains 15-20 protective, synthesizing cells. In all three layers, there are at least 75 components that may contribute to one’s health.
According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, these components range from “vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids, and amino acids” (164). From antioxidant vitamins to enzymes that might reduce topic inflammation to containing 20 out of the 22 human amino acids as well as 7 out of the 8 essential amino acids, it is obvious why this plant is considered by some to be a shining substance of buttery miracles!
Potential Medicinal Properties
In the modern world, the amount of ways in which organic aloe vera is medicinally used is astounding. The potential internal healing mechanisms of the natural aloe vera gel may be able to treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Aloe vera has also been clinically tested for possibly inhibiting the production of free radicals (cancer-causing cells), with evidence supporting this possible inhibition (Peng et al. Abstract). The most common medicinal uses, however, are external.
Organic Aloe vera quite possibly is able to reduce inflammation, heal burn wounds and boils more quickly, and aid in the reduction of blemishes, blisters, dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema (Grundmann).
Historically, aloe vera has been used in foods for both its nutritional and medicinal benefits. The middle layer between the gel and the rind has laxative properties when consumed. In the middle ages, it was used to cure constipation. You can still get aloe vera drinks today, but luckily for us, most of these drinks don’t contain this part of the leaf anymore. Aloe vera has been a popular cosmetic and pharmaceutical product around the world. It has been used to treat type II diabetes in Mexico and America, hypertension in Trinidad and Tobago, as well as infections, colic, skin conditions, and worm infestations in India (Foster).
Where to Get Aloe Vera
For such a widely used product, aloe vera isn’t something you typically just see in stores by itself, unless it’s in a plant. Here, we’ll go over a few different ways you can source good quality, fresh aloe vera and aloe vera products like lotions, cremes, and hair care products.
Growing Aloe Vera at Home
One of the great things about aloe vera is that it can easily be grown at home for many people. Because it is a succulent, it requires very little water, making it the ideal plant for those lacking a green thumb. Most of its needs will be taken care of simply by placing it by a window that gets at least some direct sunlight. You only have to water aloe vera every two weeks or so, the sun will take care of the rest. Water is easily stored in the fat leaves of the succulent, which is where all the moisturizing goodness is made.
When you’re ready to use your aloe, simply cut off one of the outer leaves with botanical shears, scissors, or a knife and squeeze the gel-like inside of the leaf out into a bowl. From there, you can make a product like the ones listed in the next section, or simply use it solo for a hydration boost.
Of course, there can be downsides to growing your own aloe vera too. In some climates, you may not get enough sun for the plant to grow year-round. They also don’t do very well in cold weather. The temperature inside your home should be fine, however, as long as you keep the plant away from any cold drafts. They are also slow growers, so you can’t harvest the leaves very regularly.
Aloe vera plants are pretty easy to find in most cities. They can normally be found at supermarkets, nurseries, home décor stores, and even online. Nowadays there are services that offer next-day delivery on a variety of houseplants including aloe vera. If you live in a very rural area, they might be a bit harder to come by. However, it might be worth making a trip to the nearest city as one plant can last for years.
DIY Aloe Vera Remedies
If you have your own aloe vera plant, you have direct access to the benefits right at your fingertips. There are tons of home remedies or DIY projects that you can take on with aloe vera, so we’ll go over a few basic recipes to get you started.
The first and easiest home remedy that uses aloe vera is also its most well-known use: soothing burns. Aloe vera is well known for its ability to ease the pain of things like sunburns, and it’s a popular main ingredient in many after-sun lotions and care products. The easiest way to soothe a burn with aloe vera at home is simply to cut the stalk open and spread the juice over the burn. If you cut the stalk horizontally you can simply leave it open side down over the burn to experience the soothing effects.
Remember, aloe vera will only work to cool mild burns, and it shouldn’t be looked at as a miracle cure. A good rule of thumb is if your skin is blistered or cracked. If you’re dealing with just redness and dryness, aloe vera may be enough to soothe the skin while it heals. However, if you have blistering that may mean a second-degree burn. If this is the case, you may need something stronger than aloe vera, and if the burn is a big one you may want to see a doctor to plot the best course of action.
It’s always best to avoid sunburns as much as possible to avoid long term damage. Especially if you’ve had a bad sunburn before, the risk of developing skin cancer goes up the more often you get burned (Sunburn – The Skin Cancer Foundation).
Aloe vera is also well-known for its moisturizing capabilities. One way to take full advantage of these properties is by mixing it with another hydrating ingredient: coconut oil. All you need to make one bottle is the gel from one aloe vera leaf and a few tablespoons of raw coconut oil. Make sure the first thing you do is remove the spines from the edge of the leaves, you want to make absolutely sure that they don’t accidentally end up in your lotion.
The next step is to carve off as much of the tough outer rind as you can. You’ll need a decent knife to do the job, but it shouldn’t be too difficult. After that, treat the leaf like a fillet and remove the gel from the rest of the outer rind. Next, you’ll want to gently wash the gel to remove the outer lining which is called aloin. Once you have your clean gel, pop it into the blender with your coconut oil, and blend until smooth. You can store it in a jar or bottle and use it whenever you need an extra hydration boost.
One thing that you can do with aloe vera is to use it to make a hydrating hair mask. If you have color-treated hair, this may be a good way to help it stay healthy and vibrant. To make an aloe vera hair mask, you’ll need to remove the gel from an aloe vera leaf just like we did to make the lotion. Then, put it in a blender with half a teaspoon of argan oil and a teaspoon of castor oil. If you want, you can add a few drops of essential oils for some relaxing aromatherapy.
Blend all of your ingredients together and then pour it into a jar for storage. To use your hair mask, massage a small amount into your scalp for cleansing, or work it into your ends like a serum for a hydration boost. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before you wash your hair like normal.
Buying Products with Aloe Vera
If you can’t get a hold of an aloe vera plant, or you don’t want to take care of one, there are still plenty of options for buying aloe vera products. From lip balms to shampoo, just about every product has a version that contains aloe vera these days. The price will vary based on the brand and the quality, but there are certainly affordable options. Look for organic products with short ingredient lists, and ones that have aloe vera or aloe vera gel as the first or second ingredient to get the most for your money.
One of my personal favorite aloe vera lotions is the Champion Natural Body Cream with Beeswax from Champion Supplies. Not only does it have aloe vera juice for soothing hydration, but it also has beeswax for an extra moisturizing boost. It also comes in two different versions, scented and unscented, which can be great for those with sensitive skin. Popular places to get aloe vera products include online retailers, local grocery stores, organic skincare stores, and beauty suppliers.
Using Aloe Vera for Daily Face and Skin Care
In the modern world, aloe vera is by far a popular ingredient for many cosmetic products on the market, from makeup to moisturizers. If you have your own aloe vera plant, you can easily make use of this amazing plant’s potential properties by creating aloe vera moisturizers, aloe vera face masks, and aloe vera lotions for your personal use. If you do not have organic aloe vera gel on hand, fear not! Many stores sell aloe vera face creams and aloe vera gel moisturizers that can leave your skin radiant and healthy.
There are a few reasons why we may want to apply aloe vera to our skin daily. First of all, it is made up of several enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that can boost skin health by neutralizing free radicals, breaking down sugars, and providing antioxidants (Surjushe).
Another way that aloe vera may help keep your skin clear is by keeping your microbiome healthy. Your microbiome is basically the natural biological activity on your skin. Basically, the bacteria and microorganisms that live on human skin. It may sound gross, but you actually need this bioactivity to have healthy skin. Aloe vera may help promote healthy activity in your microbiome which can be a big part of keeping skin clear and radiant.
Dry Skin Remedies
For those with dry skin, you can especially make use of aloe vera by using aloe vera cream to try to keep hydrated. Aloe cream is usually blended with other ingredients to retain moisture, which may aid in getting rid of cracked, dry skin. A common ingredient that might add body and additional moisture to aloe vera gel for dry skin is beeswax, so keep a lookout for this ingredient if your skin is particularly in need of hydration. One such product that blends beeswax and aloe vera is Champion Natural Body Cream.
For most people, especially those with sensitive skin, organic products can be better. Pesticides and other chemicals used on aloe vera can be irritating to sensitive skin, so make sure to check the ingredients for an organic label.
Organic Aloe Vera for Daily Face Care
Can we apply aloe vera to our face daily? If you are seeking facial hydration, then the best aloe vera gel for the face is one that is organic. Organic aloe vera gel for the face may ensure that sensitive skin is not exposed to unwanted pesticides that could have been sprayed onto conventionally farmed plants. Pure aloe vera gel for faces might result in a purified and perfectly hydrated face that is glowing and rejuvenated by the plant’s healing properties.
Aloe vera can be used all year round for a hydrating treatment, but those with oily skin may find it particularly useful in the summer. With rising temperatures, your skin may have a tendency to produce more oil than it would in cold temperatures. This doesn’t mean that you should skip moisturizing over fear of breaking out, though. Aloe is easily absorbed and isn’t greasy, so it’s unlikely to cause acne, but it can be a great way to prevent your skin from drying out and aging prematurely.
One great way to use aloe vera on your face is by using it to make a face mask. Of course, if you don’t want to keep an aloe vera plant there are plenty of places to buy an aloe vera mask. To make your own, I like to use aloe vera and honey for gentle hydration and glowing skin. Simply mix your aloe vera gel and a bit of honey (use about half as much honey as aloe) and then let it sit on your skin for about 20 minutes before you wash it off.
For evening out skin tone, you can add a bit of plain yogurt to the mask. Probiotics in yogurt have been shown to improve elasticity, health, and biological activity on your face (Yeom).
Can We Apply Aloe Vera to our Face Daily?
Aloe vera can be a good addition to skincare routines for people with many skin types. If you have more oily or combination skin, aloe may be able to help with inflammation around blemishes, blackheads, and pimples. For hydration, you can use it after cleansing if you’re nervous about clogging your pores. However, natural moisturizing agents like aloe vera and beeswax are known for being able to hydrate skin without getting stuck in your pores and causing breakouts. Ultimately, every skin type is different, and finding what works for you can be a trial and error process.
For dry skin types, aloe vera can be a great hydrating product. On its own or combined with products like coconut oil, honey, yogurt, or exfoliants, aloe vera is known for being a great way to boost the moisture in your skin. Using aloe vera as a moisturizer before you go to bed is a great way to moisturize overnight. It can also be used to brighten your complexion in the morning.
Who Should Avoid Using Aloe Vera Daily?
As great as aloe vera can be, there may also be reasons for certain people to avoid it, or at least not use aloe vera on their faces daily. The number one reason you may want to avoid using aloe vera is that it may cause you skin irritation. It’s not very common, but if you suffer from contact dermatitis, there’s a risk that aloe vera may cause redness, rashes, or itchiness in your skin. You should always test skin products before using them on a large area.
If you notice a reaction after just using organic, raw aloe, you could be having a reaction to the plant itself. If you notice the reaction after using a product that has aloe in combination with other ingredients, the situation gets a little more complicated. It could be the plant, or it could be another ingredient. Either way, you may want to contact a doctor or dermatologist to get an allergy or patch test. They’ll be able to help you figure out exactly what you’re reacting to and how to avoid it.
An organic aloe vera face moisturizer isn’t the only option for a perfect glow. Why stop at the face when your entire body might receive the benefits of aloe vera skin cream? Aloe vera ointment can be used for virtually any part of the body. Use aloe vera oil for the skin to pamper yourself with a lotion that may leave you feeling like you’ve just been to a five-star spa. Apply aloe vera to your hair and see how consistent use of the plant might revitalize both damaged skin and hair! If you need a relaxing day, try using one of the recipes we went over earlier to give yourself a treat.
So, can we apply aloe vera to our face daily? There are so many ways to use aloe vera for daily skin and hair care I could probably write a book about it. However, no one has time for that, so I’ve summarized the best of my tips and tricks here. Whether it means taking care of your own plant and making your own products at home or finding a new staple product to add to your skincare regimen, there’s something in aloe vera for just about everyone. Hopefully, this article helped you understand the potential benefits of using aloe vera on your skin daily. Thanks for reading!
*Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider. Information and statements on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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Surjushe Amar, Resham Vasani, and D. G. Saple. “ALOE VERA: A SHORT REVIEW.” Indian Journal of Dermatology, vol. 53, no. 4, PMC, 2008, pp. 163–166, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764. Accessed 28 Dec. 2017.
Yeom G, Yun DM, Kang YW, Kwon JS, Kang IO, Kim SY. Clinical efficacy of facial masks containing yoghurt and Opuntia humifusa Raf. (F-YOP). J Cosmet Sci. 2011 Sep-Oct;62(5):505-14. PMID: 22152494
Foster M, Hunter D, Samman S. Evaluation of the Nutritional and Metabolic Effects of Aloe vera. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 3. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92765/
“Sunburn – The Skin Cancer Foundation”. The Skin Cancer Foundation, 2020, https://www.skincancer.org/risk-factors/sunburn/.
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