For many decades, the gel from aloe vera has been used to help treat various skin problems. It hosts active ingredients to support different areas of your health. The common way to use it for skin health is with topical application. It can be applied to the skin, either in the pure form or in the form of beauty products containing it. If you’re not allergic to this precious gel, topically applying it on face overnight carry a number of benefits — some of the main ones are as follows.
Aloe vera may help stimulate the production of collagen, an important protein for your skin health. Collagen plays a key role to help keep the skin healthy, supple, strong, and glowing. Without enough collagen, it’s easier to have wrinkle and sagging skin, making you look older than should be. Topical application with aloe gel might be effective to fight these dermal problems due to the powerful active ingredients it provides.
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According to one study, dietary aloe supplementation might have a role to drive more collagen production, improving elasticity and wrinkles . Unfortunately there is not cut answer about the appropriate dose for effective result. Also, the exact way of how it helps face wrinkles is unexplained yet.
Vitamin C, naturally found in aloe, is probably one of the answers. It is required to support the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, a natural property found in the body. Hyaluronic acid may help increase the production of collagen, according to one study . Since hyaluronic acid will decrease with age, it’s important to get enough vitamin C from your diet to help this synthesis. And applying aloe vera directly to your skin may help either.
It’s unknown whether applying the therapy overnight has an effect. Skin health essential nutrients found in aloe are probably one of the best natural remedies to help keep the skin fresh and look younger. And they may work better during sleep, making the skin look fresh afterwards.
Free radicals – harmful, unstable molecules that come for various sources (e.g. air pollution, tobacco smoke, harmful chemicals, and more) — are attacking your skin every day. They are missing a balanced electron, causing them to penetrate into the skin in order to make themselves whole again. They bounce around to seek and steal electrons for their stable pairs. This can damage the collagen and skin cells. The damage of this process is called oxidative stress.
You need antioxidants to help protect the skin from these damaging effects. Electrons are typically paired to create stable molecules. Antioxidants (bear with chemistry lesson) provide required electrons for free radicals, neutralizing the imbalance.
This sounds like a complex scientific process. But actually we can come across this on a daily basis. For instance, when we cut a pear and then it turns dark (brown) – that’s oxidation.
Here aloe can help you. It has antioxidants, including vitamin C and E. These essential substances are renowned for their powerful ability to protect the skin from free radicals. A Chinese study in 2003 found significant antioxidant activity from aloe extracts . The study compared antioxidant properties from different plant-based compounds, including a few different aged specimens of aloe. And all the aloe extracts showed high intensity of antioxidant activity.
Another study showed aloe has polyphenols, a large family of powerful antioxidants . With other unique properties found in aloe, these polyphenols can help fight against certain bacteria that cause infections.
We do agree that dry skin is a bad thing for skin health. It makes numerous skin problems (e.g. redness, itching, inflammation, acne, and infections) more likely. It may also cause the skin cells to easily flake and die, which will probably provoke premature aging.
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During sleep, the skin hydration declines and aloe gel can help deal with. The natural environment where aloe grows, dry climate, drive the plant to store hydrating properties. In fact, aloe is one of popular ingredients for various pharmaceutical skincare products to help moisturize or hydrate the skin.
However, aloe is not a magic formula for everything. Still, it’s important to avoid things that provoke dry skin. Here are a few common culprits:
Fragrance is bad for dry skin, it has tendency to make the skin dry out or make the problem worse. Therefore, avoiding skincare products high in fragrances is recommended when you have dry skin. Instead, look for products ‘free of fragrance’ (if possible)! Nondrying scents (e.g. vanilla, cocoa, and honey) are good choices to help coat the skin in good smell without hurting the skin.
It’s important to make sure that your face is clean enough after a long day at work. That’s why you need cleansers. But on the flip side, nothing strips your skin of moisture more quickly than cleansing.
The use of wrong cleanser is very bad for dry skin. So, it’s important to carefully choose the right one. Look for a mild, gentle cleanser which is usually low or free of harsh detergents, including fabric softeners. Also, use it effectively! For instance, washing face with soap in the morning is probably not necessary for dry facial skin — a once daily facial wash (only before going to bed) should be enough.
Retinol (chemical exfoliants)
While the chemical exfoliants (e.g. benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and retinol) are gaining popularity for treating acne, they may make your dry skin worse. But this doesn’t mean you need to skip them at all costs.
Topical application of acne medications is still OK to use as long as you use it in appropriate way. To keep safe, don’t use it excessively. Instead, cut down on the frequency of use! — reduce the frequency from once a day to every other day. Try also layering the acne medications over moisturizer to help minimize their drying side effects. If necessary, consider getting a less drying prescription from a dermatologist!
The good news, aloe is not only helpful to help hydrate the skin. It also has certain active properties to help treat acne.
You might also like to read vitamin C serum and dry skin!
Acne occurs when the small pores of the skin get clogged. The symptoms may include whiteheads, blackheads, or itching. And it can lead to a terrible cost down the road if you scratch it. When it heals, sometimes it leaves a spot (blemish or scar) that can be very bothersome.
The vitamin C and other anti-microbial properties found in aloe are probably helpful to cope with. In fact, aloe is one of common facial herbal remedies to help ease spots caused by acne. Its vitamin C property improves collagen production, which is so essential to help to treat the spots. Without enough collagen, it’s harder for the skin to repair itself.
A 2004 study observed the effects of some essential oils and aloe gel on acne. Most of participants in this study were undergraduate university students, and separated into 7 groups in which each group treated with a different therapy. The study suggested that aloe gel improved the efficacy of Ocimum oil lotion for treating acne .
According to a study in 2014, the effectiveness of aloe for traditional anti-acne medication was also quite promising . The study analyzed the effect of aloe on acne when combined with tretinoin. The results showed that aloe might have an effect to help heal acne.
Plus, the antibacterial properties found in aloe may also work effectively to help prevent bad bacteria from clogging the skin pores or infecting the acne wounds. Also, its antifungal properties are helpful to treat inflammation on the skin (e.g. cysts and boils on the skin).
Aloe works effectively for mild and moderate acne. If your acne is severe and hangs on, it’d be better to see a dermatologist.
A fresh aloe leaf should keep fresh for about 1-2 weeks if stored in the fridge. And if you have the actual aloe plant, it’s easy to get the gel.
All you need to do is to extract the gel from the leaf and now you have extra natural solution to have beautiful, fresh, and healthy skin. Although more than 90 percent of the clear gel is water, the other is loaded with essential healing properties for your skin health (as mentioned earlier).
*Image credit to NIH
The leaf also contains latex (found in the outer leaf pulp), which acts as laxative since it has aloin (a kind of anthraquinone). Here latex is not necessary for topical application. So make sure the gel is free of this latex.
If you don’t have a fresh aloe leaf, there are also many products containing aloe to choose from. Just look for one with free of alcohol and fragrance (if possible). And make sure, it has a high percentage of aloe gel for better results. If your skin is sensitive, prioritize products with less varied ingredients.
Take a small amount of the aloe gel. Then use your fingertips to apply it slowly into your face for 1-3 minutes (do this in circular motion). Apply the gel when your skin is still damp, which is especially true if you have dry skin and need more hydration. Leave the gel on face overnight or until dry /absorbed.
The gel can be used alone or with the combination of other skincare remedies such as honey, lemon, cinnamon, coconut oil, tea-tree oil, and more – depending on the goal of your therapy.
The gel is perfectly safe for most people when topically applied to the skin. Its skin health properties and cooling sensation are one of the best skincare therapies. However it could also cause a few negative reactions, such as skin irritation.
The adverse effects are more likely to occur if you’re allergic to. People allergic to tulips, onions, or garlic tend to be allergic to aloe. To keep safe, do a small patch test. Apply the gel to a small area of your face for a few minutes. If there is no any negative reaction (e.g. redness, itching, or irritation), this should be OK to carry on.
If you have fragrance skin allergies, work with a dermatologist to determine the main culprits of your allergy since it’s difficult to skip all fragrances.
What else to remember:
- To get the benefits most, make sure your face is clean enough before applying the gel.
- Pay more attention to the eyelids. Don’t apply the gel to the inflamed eyelids. Once inflamed, this could be counterproductive – though aloe gel is supposed to ease irritation.
- Don’t apply the gel if you have just had a treatment for skin peel (spa treatment).
- Avoid also for any surgical wounds, severe burns, or deep cuts!
- To keep safe, ask your doctor first if you have a health problem, being pregnant /breastfeeding, or taking any drugs regularly (this is particularly true for the oral use of aloe).