You’ve probably noticed that moisturizer or after-sun lotion often contains aloe vera due to its soothing anti-inflammatory properties. But while aloe vera has long been known to be good for the skin, this unique plant offers many other health benefits.
Whether you use aloe vera extract directly on the skin, as an ingredient in supplements, or drink it as a juice, it can have a direct impact on your skin and overall health.
Aloe vera is classified as a shrub and is part of the succulent plant family. Although it is now cultivated in all kinds of tropical climates, it is native to regions such as North Africa and southern Europe.
The plant grows low to the ground and is characterized by thick, heavy leaves. The gelatinous substance extracted from its leaves has been used for medicinal and curative purposes for thousands of years.
Aloe vera contains several different minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids that promote good health and active wound healing.
Whether you drink it or hydrate with it, there are several proven health benefits of aloe vera.
Aloe vera can help you stay hydrated
Aloe vera can help keep your skin and body hydrated in two ways.
First, the plant itself is extremely water dense and retains a lot of water and moisture in its leaves and gelatinous extract. Second, the nutritional properties of the gel support the proper functioning of your internal organs, so that the processes by which your body hydrates are optimized.
Aloe vera contains antioxidants
Aloe vera is rich in different types of antioxidants, including polyphenols. This particular type of antioxidants neutralizes free radicals in the body that can damage cells in your skin, organs, and other tissues. Polyphenols can also reduce inflammation in the body which can contribute to many ailments and chronic diseases.
Anti-aging properties of aloe vera
Many creams and moisturizers containing aloe vera are promoted as anti-aging products, and there is some scientific truth to this claim.
In a review published by the National Institutes of Health, the moisturizing and anti-aging properties of aloe vera are attributed to several different compounds and processes.
Mucopolysaccharides are sugar molecules in aloe vera that, when applied to the face or body, work to retain moisture in the skin. Aloe can also stimulate fibroblast cells in the skin; these cells are responsible for the production of collagen and elastin, which helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
The amino acids and zinc in aloe vera help soften skin cells and tighten pores, producing a more youthful texture on the skin.
Healing properties of aloe vera
For thousands of years, aloe vera has been used for its healing properties. It is known to be particularly useful in the treatment of burns.
In a study conducted by the National Library of Medicine, researchers found that aloe vera accelerated wound healing by stimulating cell repair and fibroblasts. For this reason, you can find aloe vera sprays, such as Truly Aloe Vera Spray, specially designed to treat minor burns and skin irritations.
Promotes better oral hygiene
The antioxidants in aloe vera also work as antibacterial agents; Aloe vera coatings are often used to keep food items fresher for longer.
Reduces blood sugar
Although research is limited, it has been suggested that ingesting aloe vera can help fight fat in the body and lower blood sugar, thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Improves indoor air quality
From the materials used to build and insulate your home, to the cleaning products you use every day, chemicals are continually released into the air inside your home. These chemicals can be harmful and impact the purity of the air you breathe indoors.
Aloe vera is a plant that has the potential to remove some of these chemicals from the air and purify them during its routine photosynthetic processes.
Types of aloe vera products
Aloe vera gels and creams
The most common place you will see aloe vera is on the cosmetics shelf. It is an active ingredient in many beauty and skin care products, including shampoos and conditioners, moisturizers, face creams, and body lotions, such as Aloe infusion body and face moisturizer. You can also buy pure aloe vera gel and apply directly to hydrated and anti-aging skin.
Aloe vera is also commonly used as an ingredient in creams designed for sensitive skin to prevent irritation.
Aloe vera juice is made by grinding and mixing the entire leaf of the aloe vera plant. It is then purified and filtered into juice for consumption.
Aloe vera juice has a very mild flavor and is often filtered into a more drinkable form than the thick gel that you squeeze directly onto an aloe vera leaf.
Many people also choose to add aloe vera juice to smoothies, with other nutritious ingredients.
If you have a little green thumb, you can grow an aloe vera plant on your own, although it is much more likely to grow and thrive in a hot tropical climate.
The advantage of growing and maintaining the plant yourself is that it is a cost effective way to access aloe vera gel whenever you want. Just be sure to leave a few weeks between cutting the leaves for the plant to thrive.
Lauren Farrell is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help you simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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