Aloe Vera is a commonly-occurring plant native to subtropical climates around the world. Traditionally, it has been used as a soothing element for skin conditions including burns, or taken as a digestion aid or a laxative (remember to talk to your doctor before taking aloe internally). The long, plump spiny leaves of the Aloe plant have a thick, waxy skin, with the interior consisting of a gel-like substance. Inside the Aloe leaf, you will find:
Aloe Vera is probably most famous in the West as a component of over-the-counter sunburn treatments. But the same compounds that help with sunburned skin are also great for other hair and skin conditions. In order to avoid the negative effects of pesticides and ensure the Aloe you are using delivers the best, most effective results, we recommend using only organic Aloe Vera on your skin and hair. Here are some of our favorite Aloe Vera uses:
One of the benefits of Aloe Vera juice is that it can be used as an ingredient for acne treatments. Aloe itself is also mildly astringent, and will not clog pores. Auxin and Gibberellins, the two above-mentioned hormones found in Aloe Vera, have powerful properties responsible for Aloe Vera’s reputation as such a famous after-sun treatment. These hormones signal the body to repair cells, while down-regulating the inflammatory process that occurs in the skin after it’s been damaged. Together, the repairing and anti-inflammatory properties of these components make organic Aloe great for breakouts, cuts and healing skin while reducing the chance of scarring.
Yes, as you probably know, Aloe Vera gel is a soothing and powerful healing agent that has been used in topical treatments for burns, including sunburns. It’s important to note, though, that if you’re buying your Aloe commercially, check the label carefully! While the natural nutrients and antioxidants in the plant work to soothe the inflammation and pain while promoting skin healing, many brands add artificial color, stabilizers, and thickeners.
Aloe Vera is said to help prevent hair loss and act to strengthen your hair. Used as a hair conditioner, it will give you thick, strong and healthy hair, and is especially good for dry hair and dandruff. If you want to use the plant itself, scoop the jelly-like interior out of 3-4 large leaves, strain to get any skin out, and then puree in your blender. At this point, you could also add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice or another moisturizing component like Evening Primrose oil. After shampooing, wring excess water out of your hair and apply the Aloe mixture from the ends up. If possible, leave it on for 20 minutes to get the full benefits of the vitamins and antioxidants found in Aloe Vera gel. As an added bonus, the treatment will also clarify and hydrate your hair, lending it the silky shine and reduced frizz you’d get from salon products without all of the phthalates! Preliminary peer-reviewed research has also shown that if regularly used, Aloe Vera may encourage hair growth.