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Skin Science

6 Aloe vera benefits for skin in need of all-natural relief

Potting an aloe vera plant.
Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau August, 27, 2020

Baker, green thumb, living well with anxiety

Everyone has that one friend whose home is filled to the rafters with plants. Want a cup of tea? They'll just snip off a bit of chamomile. Pizza night? The basil's always fresh. And, if you happen to get a small burn while taking that hot pizza pie out of the oven, they're sure to have some aloe on hand.

The leaf will be gooey — and sometimes a little smelly — but if you apply its gel to a burn, it will cool and soothe your skin instantly. Ahhhh, relief!

But soothing burns is just the most well known of many aloe vera benefits for skin. This versatile plant is extremely useful to keep around the house (and is easy to care for, to boot), but it's also a popular ingredient in skincare thanks to its numerous healing properties.

Close up Aloe Vera Plant, outdoor pots

What is aloe vera?

Aloe vera is a succulent that grows triangular, fleshy leaves with serrated edges. It's a popular houseplant thanks to its aesthetic and impressive range of benefits.

Research from the Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences reports that, aside from treating sunburns, aloe vera has many other medicinal uses due to its vitamin, mineral, amino acid and water content. The gel-like substance housed within the plant's leaves has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties — and that makes it a versatile skincare powerhouse.

6 Awesome aloe vera benefits for skin

Thanks to the plant's nutrients, there are numerous aloe benefits for skin. Here's how to use your cute potted pant for a wide range of skincare purposes.

1. Improving skin elasticity and wrinkles

While aloe vera is often applied topically to skin, research from the Annals of Dermatology have found that ingesting aloe vera gel supplements may improve the elasticity of skin and even reduce the appearance of wrinkles over time.

2. Healing burns

One of the best-known aloe benefits for skin is soothing and healing burns — including painful sunburns! The review of aloe research from the Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences found that applying aloe to burns reduces both pain and healing time. Win-win!

3. Hydrating dry skin

According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, aloe vera gel contains mucopolysaccharides, a type of sugar molecule that's effective at binding moisture within your skin. Don't be surprised if you see aloe in the formulations of some of your favorite moisturizers, shaving gels and body washes!

4. Treating canker sores

Ulcers in your mouth can be painful. While you generally have to simply wait for canker sores to heal on their own, there is evidence, reported in the Dental Research Journal, that aloe vera can provide pain relief and even speed up the recovery process.

5. Managing mild to moderate acne

Because aloe benefits for skin rely on the plant's natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe is often a go-to topical acne treatment — usually used in conjunction with other products. Research from the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found that the gel from an aloe plant can help treat mild to moderate acne and prevent the irritation and dryness that tends to go along with acne treatments such as prescription retinoids.

6. Exfoliating sensitive skin

There's salicylic acid in those fleshy aloe vera leaves, which makes it a wonderful natural exfoliant. It's a comparatively gentle option for those with sensitive skin whose complexion might become irritated by harsher exfoliants, but to be safe, always do a small patch test first to ensure you're not allergic to the ingredient.

Who knew this prickly houseplant was so versatile? Making the most of aloe vera benefits for skin is a sustainable, all-natural way to give your skin — and your kitchen shelf — a boost.

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