Aloe vera gel is a natural moisturizer and it is commonly used as an ingredient in various skin care products. From fighting acne to soothing inflamed skin, here are five health benefits of this amazing succulent plant.
Using aloe vera gel as a home remedy
Aloe vera stems store water. To survive in tropical climates, the plant creates a clear, gel-like substance that is rich in amino acids, antioxidants and minerals.
Additionally, the gel contains vitamins A, C and E that promote wound healing and healthier skin.
The gel also contains polysaccharides or long chains of natural sugars. These compounds are said to be responsible for the skin-healing properties of aloe vera gel.
While you can buy many products that also contain aloe vera, some of them may contain potentially harmful additives such as dyes. To avoid these dangerous ingredients, it’s better to grow aloe vera at home and make your own soothing remedies by harvesting the gel when you need it.
Just break a leaf off of an aloe vera plant and store the gel in an airtight bottle.
If you’re not used to applying aloe vera on yourself, try a patch test first to determine if you are sensitive to the gel before applying it on inflamed skin.
Aloe vera gel is used to make various home remedies and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that the soothing gel is safe to use topically.
It relieves irritation
Aloe gel helps soothe skin redness. According to Dr. Jennifer Gordon, a dermatologist in Austin, the gel contains beneficial compounds that suppress inflammation.
Aloe vera gel also contains a natural pain reliever called carboxypeptidase.
It helps fight acne
Aloe vera gel doesn’t just have antibacterial properties. It also contains salicylic acid, an exfoliant that helps unclogs pores and acts as an anti-inflammatory on oil glands that cause acne.
It soothes psoriasis flare-ups
Use an aloe vera cream several times a day to relieve redness, scaling and itching inflammation caused by mild to moderate psoriasis.
Note that if you use aloe vera cream for psoriasis flare-ups, it will take at least one to several months before you notice significant improvements.
It helps treat cold sores
Use aloe vera creams to soothe painful cold sores. The gel will help the lesions heal faster because of its antiviral properties.
It can speed up the healing process
According to Dr. David Lortscher, a dermatologist based in California, aloe vera contains natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents.
Aloe vera gel can help wounds like first- and second-degree burns heal faster. (Related: Aloe vera: The plant of immortality with proven health benefits.)
DIY aloe vera gel
To make aloe vera gel at home, you need leaves from a plant you’re growing or you can buy fresh leaves at a grocery store or the farmer’s market.
- An aloe vera leaf
- Powdered vitamin C and vitamin E (optional)
- A knife or vegetable peeler
- A small spoon
- A blender
- An airtight container for storage
- Get a fresh aloe leaf, then cut off one of the outer leaves from the base of the plant.
- Wash the leaf, remove any dirt, then stand it upright in a cup or bowl for 10 to 15 minutes, cut side down. This will let the yellow-tinted resin drain out of the leaf. The resin contains latex that may irritate your skin, so don’t skip this step.
- Once the resin is completely drained, wash off any remains on the leaf. Peel off the thick skin using a small knife
- Use a small spoon and scoop the gel into the blender, but don’t include any pieces of the aloe vera skin. Blend the gel for several seconds until it’s frothy and liquefied. The aloe vera gel is now ready to use.
- To make aloe vera gel that will last longer than one week, add preservatives like vitamins C and E. These vitamins also have antioxidant and anti-aging properties that will boost the skin-protecting benefits of the gel. Add 500 mg of powdered vitamin C or 400 IU of powdered vitamin E, or both ingredients, for every 1/4 cup (60 mL) of aloe vera gel you make. Add the powdered vitamins directly to the blender, then process the gel again until the additives are fully incorporated.
Aloe vera gel without vitamin C or E will last up to one week in your fridge when stored in an airtight container.
If you add vitamin C or E, the gel will last for at least two months while refrigerated.
Relieve minor skin conditions and keep your skin looking soft and smooth with moisturizing aloe vera gel.