Did you know that aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times? This versatile plant has multiple health and skin benefits that even Cleopatra and Alexander the Great became big fans of this succulent plant.
Today, it remains one of the most used plant extracts in the skincare world. Not only that, but it is also proving its value in the health industry! We'll take a look at the top 5 benefits of aloe vera for your skin and health. Read on below.
What Is Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera or Aloe barbadensis is a succulent plant that has a soft clear gel texture and most commonly grows in tropical places. This plant has gained popularity because of its broad range of uses — from lowering blood sugar, treating digestion problems, and helping treat various skin conditions.
This spiky green stemmed plant has served as a medicinal plant for several centuries. It is said that Alexander the Great from ancient Greek used Aloe to treat soldier wounds. But that was not the only purpose of Aloe Vera. It was also acknowledged that Aloe served as a skincare beauty regime of known Egyptian queens like Cleopatra and Nefertiti.
Up to this day, many studies about the benefits of Aloe Vera have come into existence. Let’s look at the health and skin benefits of this wonderful succulent plant.
Benefits Of Aloe Vera
Top 5 Health Benefits
#1 Lowering Blood Sugar
A 2016 research from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine suggested that supplementing with aloe vera had significantly reduced the Fasting Blood Glucose (FBG) by 46.6 mg/dL and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) by 1.05 percent. These are checked as a measurement of the blood sugar level to know whether a person is normal, prediabetic, or diabetic. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), A1c below 5.7 percent are normal, 5.7 to 6.4 percent are prediabetic, and 6.5 percent or above are diabetic.
There are studies that suggest that people with type II diabetes and prediabetic people can benefit from supplementing aloe vera in terms of lowering their blood sugar level. Although the research for this is limited, it is showing as a promising natural alternative for helping with lowering blood sugar.
#2 Treat Digestive Issues
Aloe vera juice is rich in anti-inflammatory properties, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can help boost digestion and clear out toxins from the body. Not only does it help with digestion, but it has also shown a promising effect on treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to a trial conducted in 2015 where 79 subjects were tested for a period of 4 weeks, aloe vera juice helped in reducing the symptoms of GERD or acid reflux and had shown no side effects.
#3 Treat Canker Sores
Aloe vera has soothing properties that help heal canker sores or the little circle ulcer inside the mouth. It can soothe inflammation and reduce pain when applied directly to the canker sore. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, aloe is safe to use. However, it is not advisable for pregnant women or when breastfeeding.
#4 Alternative Mouth Rinse
A 2014 study about the preliminary antiplaque efficacy of aloe vera as a mouthwash has concluded that aloe vera is an effective mouthwash that can reduce dental plaque gingivitis.
#5 Accelerates Wound Healing
Aloe vera has been around for centuries and is said to have been used by the ancient Greeks for its healing properties. Many historians believe Alexander the Great used aloe vera to treat his soldier’s wounds. Several stories about how Aristotle convinced Alexander the Great to invade the island of Socotra to gain their aloe vera plants have also popped out. Even the Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus, carried aloe with him on his journey from Africa to America and was said been used for treating wounds.
These great leaders were not wrong. Recent studies have confirmed that Aloe contains anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and moisturizing benefits making it perfect for accelerating wound healing. According to a 2019 study about the effect of aloe vera on prevention and healing of skin wounds, aloe has shown to help prevent skin ulcers, treat burn wounds, postoperative wounds, and psoriasis.
Top 5 Benefits for the Skin
#1 Effective Treatment for Dandruff
Aloe vera is not only good for hair growth and achieving soft shiny hair but is also an effective treatment for seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff. Studies have shown that due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, aloe can help in the reduction of itchiness and scaliness caused by dandruff.
If you are suffering from intense scalp itching, here’s how to use Aloe to soothe dry and itchy scalp in 3 simple steps:
Using a freshly cut plant:
Step 1: Cut a fresh Aloe Vera plant in half and get the aloe juices (white gel like not the yellow fluid)
Step 2: Apply on your hair and focus on the scalp
Step 3: Massage onto scalp thoroughly and leave on for 30 minutes then rinse
Using a store-bought aloe vera:
Step 1: Find a pure aloe vera on Amazon or any shop online
Step 2: Apply on your hair and focus the scalp
Step 3: Massage on scalp thoroughly and leave on for 30 minutes then rinse
#2 Soothe Sunburn and Blisters
It is a well-known fact that Aloe Vera can help relieve the stinging effects of sunburn due to its cooling and moisturizing effects on the skin. Not only does it provide comfort for sunburns but is also used for second-degree burns that can cause skin blisters.
How To Use Aloe for Sunburn & Blisters
There are several types of aloe you can use. They vary from fresh aloe plants, store-bought gel, or lotions. One thing to look at is the added color and scents in the ingredients. Pick one that is made with pure aloe gel without additives.
Apply the aloe vera onto the affected area a few times a day to soothe irritated skin and restore moisture on dry sunburnt skin. You may also refrigerate the aloe for a few minutes before applying it to provide a cooling effect on the skin. Remember to use pure aloe or one that contains atleast 98% aloe vera.
#3 Helps with Eczema, Psoriasis, and Rosacea
Anyone who suffers from Eczema, Psoriasis, or Rosacea knows how aggravating it feels when your skin starts itching and patchy looking red rash starts forming on your skin. There are several otc creams to help with these skin conditions, but did you know that there is also a natural method you can use to help soothe your skin?
As previously stated, aloe vera has different healing, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties that can help tone down the symptoms of the skin conditions above. Here is how to use aloe vera:
Step 1: Clean the skin with unscented soap and wash with water (avoid hot water because it will dry out the skin and cause more irritation)
Step 2: Apply aloe vera to the affected area twice a day or as recommended by your doctor or dermatologist. Make sure to use pure aloe vera and avoid products with alcohol in the ingredients.
NOTE: Aloe Vera does not treat eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea. It can only help with the symptoms of these skin conditions. It is important for you to find the common triggers of these skin conditions and consult with your doctor for a more detailed remedy.
Related Blog: The Ultimate Guide to Stop Relentless Itching for Eczema
#4 Anti-aging Properties
Aloe vera is making its mark in the cosmetics industry. It is often used topically applied on the skin but now comes in juice, supplement, and tablet form. Since it contains natural anti-aging properties, it is believed that it can help fight the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
A 2015 study conducted a test on 54 women aged 20-50 years old who were given 5 tablets of aloe vera gel powder (AVGP) every day for 8 weeks (about 2 months). The results were a reduced facial wrinkle and a production of collagen and hyaluronic acid which plays a role in strengthening the skin’s elasticity and retaining moisture.
#5 Reduce Hyperpigmentation and Acne
Hyperpigmentation is a patchy area of skin that looks darker than normal. This is a result of an overproduction of melanin – the pigment that gives the skin color. The aloin and aloesin found in aloe vera helps lighten and even out skin tone by breaking down the surplus of melanin cells and preventing it from forming an overabundance in the future.
Aloe vera also shows a promising home remedy for treating acne when in conjunction with other anti-acne treatments. Due to its skin lightening effects, it can also help reduce acne marks or dark scarring.
Is It Okay to Apply Aloe Vera Every day?
When applied topically, aloe vera is safe to use on your skin every day. However, in case of oral aloe vera supplements, it is best to consult with your doctor on how often you should take the oral form before incorporating it on your diet.
Aloe vera has proven its versatility with its different skin and health benefits. This is why it is loved by many and has become a staple in the health and beauty community. Though some benefits need further test and research, it is, without doubt, an extraordinary plant.