Aloe vera is an amazing and dynamic succulent plant which is capable of growing in a range of conditions.
But did you know that it may have some application when it comes to helping improve the look and feel of your skin?
What is aloe vera?
Aloe vera is a resilient plant species that thrives when it rains, and when it doesn’t, and it can handle a tonne of sun, as well as lots of shade.
People often grow aloe vera at home and it has long been cultivated and used for its various benefits.
The aloe vera plant, once cut open, does give off a fairly unpleasant foot smell though, which may be one reason why some people prefer products which contain aloe vera extract or gel!
If you are curious, the smelly part is the yellow juice (called yellow latex), not the gel.
The gel is the part most often used to treat various skin conditions.1
Why does skin wrinkle over time?
Everyone who is fortunate enough to live a long time will also have to face some of the physical changes that come with ageing.
Ageing, generally, can be a wonderful experience, if we understand it holistically to include growth, learning, and deep maturity.
Being old is something to be proud of, and something that we should be able to value, shame free.
Our bodies also change throughout life. Still, there are some changes that you, personally, may prefer to minimise and attempt to slow.
When it comes to the appearance of your skin, it is important to understand the two key processes that take place.
One, is intrinsic ageing, which happens regardless of outside influences. From the age of 20, you produce around one percent less collagen in your skin, each year. Collagen is responsible for firmness, so your skin will become thinner and more fragile as you age.2
In addition, over time, your skin’s sweat and oil glands experience diminished functioning, you produce less elastin, and less GAG (glycosaminoglycans which keep the skin hydrated).3
There are also outside factors that can hasten these changes to your skin, or make them appear more severe.
These include sun damage, smoking, exposure to pollution, and other environmental or diet factors.
This sort of damage can result in wrinkles, but also in skin lesions, or an exaggerated loss of elastin, collagen, and GAG.4
Aloe vera skin benefits
While aloe vera (or any cream or supplement for that matter) is not able to combat intrinsic skin ageing, it can help with the day-to-day feel and look of your skin, and with combatting the signs of some of those extrinsic factors.
Aloe vera gel
Taking aloe vera gel supplements has been shown to help support gastrointestinal health and can contain additional substances such as CBD and digestive enzymes.5
Aloe vera contains molecules called sterols. These can promote the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, which can help the skin retain moisture and therefore reduce the appearance of fine lines. 6
Aloe vera gel can also help with the soothing of a mild sunburn. It contains a compound called aloin, which has soothing benefits.
In addition, the gel can help to moisturise the skin. 7
How to use aloe vera on your skin
If it is your first time using aloe vera, do a patch test first, as some people can find that they are allergic to it.
If you do not get a reaction, you can follow these steps, using aloe vera creams or products, or aloe vera plant gel, in order to help minimise the appearance of wrinkles.
First, clean your face or any other area of your body (aloe vera also works great on your hands, arms, neck, and legs).
Apply a layer of aloe vera and then leave it on your skin for around 10 minutes.
Rinse the aloe vera off, and gently pat dry, and feel free to follow it with other moisturising products or creams, if you want to. Do this daily. 8
Using aloe vera to soothe a sunburn is a fairly similar process. Apply it to the affected areas, a few times a day. 9
If you have a severe burn, it may be best to see a doctor or pharmacist.
Last Updated: 23rd November 2020