Did you know aloe was one of the most frequently prescribed medicines during the19th century?
No wonder why. We’ve all heard about its soothing power. Word on the street has it, Aloe Vera can moisturize skin, soothe irritations, heal sunburns, treat psoriasis, and even make stretch marks disappear.
Can it really do all that or have we all been carried away by the hype? Let’s find out.
- What Is Aloe Vera?
- What Are The Aloe Vera Facial Benefits?
- Is Aloe Vera A Good Moisturizer?
- Can Aloe Vera Soothe Sunburns & Irritations?
- Can Aloe Vera Treat Acne?
- Can Aloe Vera Reduce Stretch Marks?
- Does Aloe Vera Have Any Side Effects?
- How To Use Aloe Vera In Your Skincare Routine
- Aloe Vera Gel VS Cream: Which One Is Better For Your Skin?
- What Are The Best Skincare Products With Aloe Vera?
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a cactus plant that belongs to the Liliaceae family. It grows in dry climates, such as India and parts of Africa.
To make the gel, you cut open the leaves and collect the mucilage that oozes out.
This mucilage is made 99.5% water. It’s the remaining 0.5% that holds the real magic. It’s a combination of mucopolysaccharides (basic sugars), lipids, vitamins, choline and choline salicylate that have soothing properties for your skin.
What Are The Aloe Vera Facial Benefits?
If you listen to the hype, Aloe Vera can do anything, from moisturising skin to soothing sunburns and even treating acne. Sounds too good to be true?
It kinda is. Don’t get me wrong. Aloe Vera isn’t a miracle cure-all, but it has plenty of benefits for your skin. Let’s separate truth from fiction, shall we?
Is Aloe Vera A Good Moisturizer?
Yes. Aloe Vera is mostly made up of water, so it definitely hydrates skin. It works thanks to a humectant mechanism. Let me explain it in plain English.
Humectants are moisture magnets. Like a magnet, they attract moisture from the environment and bind it into your skin. Once there, the extra moisture plumps up your skin, so your fine lines and wrinkles look smaller. It also makes skin softer and gives your complexion a dewy glow.
Aloe Vera is a good moisturizer for all skin types, including oily. It hydrates skin without adding any extra oil to it. No greasy feeling or extra shine.
Dry skin? It still works, but you need a moisturizer on top to seal the extra moisture in.
Related: What The Heck Are Humectants And Why Are They In Your Skincare Products?
Can Aloe Vera Soothe Sunburns & Irritations?
Again, yes. Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe irritated skin, sunburns, eczema and psoriasis.
It’s not a miracle cure. One application isn’t enough to make redness disappear, heal a sunburn, or treat psoriasis. But it helps relieve the symptoms for a while.
Granted, consistency is key. You need to use Aloe Vera regularly until the irritation/sunburn has fully healed. But if you want to treat them naturally instead than using corticosteroids, Aloe Vera will do the job. Just be patient.
P.S. Aloe Vera isn’t a treatment for psoriasis or eczema. But it makes a good moisturizer for you, especially when you’re experiencing a flare-up.
Related: 3 Ways To Treat A Sunburn Naturally
Can Aloe Vera Treat Acne?
It’s true that Aloe Vera has some anti-bacterial properties. That means it can treat acne, right? No so fast.
A 2018 shows that Aloe Vera can treat moderate acne… when used together with propolis and tea tree oil, two known acne fighters.
This combo treated acne better than erythromycin and was gentler on the skin. It’s likely that propolis and tea tree oil killed the acne bacteria and Aloe Vera soothed skin.
But how well does Aloe Vera treat acne on its own? I couldn’t find any studies on topical application of Aloe Vera for the treatment of acne.
But I’ve come across one that tested oral Aloe Vera juice for acne. The results? It reduced acne lesions… but not any better than the placebo!
In other words, aloe vera can’t treat acne. But it helps to soothe the inflammation from acne itself and the harsh anti-acne treatments you may be using (think tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide).
Related: Is Tea Tree Oil An Effective Treatment For Acne?
Can Aloe Vera Reduce Stretch Marks?
Stretch marks happen when skin expands to accommodate growth. When you stretch it too much, you disrupt collagen production. Next thing you know, stretch marks appear on your skin. Ugh.
They’re totally normal. You don’t have to be ashamed of them. Even celebrities have them. They’re just better at hiding them (Photoshop helps a lot 😉 ).
But can you get rid of them with a bit of Aloe Vera gel? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but nope, Aloe Vera can’t reduce stretch marks. No topical treatment can.
So why do so many people swear Aloe Vera improved the look of their stretch marks? Look is the key word here.
Aloe Vera is moisturizing remember? Anything that moisturises skin makes it appear smoother. But once the moisturizing effect is over, your stretch marks are still there. Bummer!
Does Aloe Vera Have Any Side Effects?
Aloe Vera is super gentle on the skin. Allergies and irritations are very, very rare.
How To Use Aloe Vera In Your Skincare Routine
Aloe vera is so gentle, it goes with everything. You don’t have to worry about mixing it with retinoids, niacinamide, or whatever. Phew!
But if you use it to hydrate your skin, do you apply Aloe Vera or moisturizer first? Aloe Vera. It attracts moisture into your skin, remember? Then, you can follow up with moisturizer to seal it all in.
Related: What Skincare Ingredients Should You Never Use Together?
Aloe Vera Gel VS Cream: Which One Is Better For Your Skin?
Aloe Vera is Aloe Vera, ladies. As long as Aloe Vera is top of the ingredient list (i.e., there’s enough of it to do the job), it doesn’t matter if you’re using a gel or a cream.
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Oily skin loves the lightweight texture of a gel, while dry skin prefers the richness of a cream.
Related: How To Read A Skincare Ingredient List (Even If You Hate Science)
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Aloe Vera?
- Benton Aloe Soothing Mask Pack ($2.40): Available at Soko Glam.
- Cosrx Aloe Vera Oil-Free Moisture Cream ($20.00): Available at Look Fantastic and Revolve.
- Skinfood Aloe Vera 93% Soothing Gel ($3.99): Available at Ulta.
The Bottom Line
Aloe Vera is a moisturising and soothing powerhouse, but it’s not the miracle worker it’s cracked up to be. It hydrates your skin, calms down irritations, and soothes sunburns. But there’s no proof it does anything else.
What do you use Aloe Vera for in your skincare routine? Let me know in the comments below.