The incredibly useful Aloe plant has been prized as a healing herbal remedy since ancient times. Not only does it nourish the body from within – aiding digestion, providing beneficial nutrients and boosting immune function – but it can be used topically to enhance the health and beauty of your face, skin, hair and more.
Keep reading to find out why and how to use the Aloe Vera plant, the gel and the juice in your daily skin and hair regimen.
How To Harvest Aloe Vera Gel
Before we get into the “why” of using Aloe Vera gel for all of your natural health and beauty needs, let us briefly take a look at the process of harvesting gel from the plant.
First, select one or more large, fat leaves from around the base of the plant. Grip selected leaves near the base and pull gently but firmly. They should release fairly easily. Take care not to cut your fingers on the thorns lining the leaves as you do this.
Once you have harvested your Aloe leaves, use a sharp knife to slice away the thorny edge from one side of each leaf. Then slice the leaves open lengthwise so you have two long halves. Set the halves on your cutting surface, gel side up.
Finally, use a spoon to scrape the gel away from each leaf and into your chosen container. When you’ve finished using your harvested Aloe Vera gel, remember to refrigerate any unused portion.
6 Reasons To Put Aloe Vera Gel On Your Face & Skin
1. Soothe Sunburn
With anti-inflammatory and cooling properties, Aloe Vera gel is the perfect remedy for sunburned skin.
It provides a protective layer to the skin which helps retain moisture. Aloe is also rich in antioxidants and minerals which can help speed healing.
In one study, it was found that Aloe Vera gel displayed some anti-inflammatory effects superior to those of 1% hydrocortisone when applied over a 48-hour period. Researchers concluded that the gel might be useful in the topical treatment of inflammatory skin conditions such as UV-induced skin redness.
For a moisturizer that doesn’t leave a greasy film on your face, look no further than Aloe Vera. It softens the skin without clogging pores.
Aloe Vera gel can also be used as an aftershave treatment as it will both hydrate the skin and help heal razor burn and small nicks.
Research has shown that Aloe Vera extract is an effective natural substance for improving skin hydration – making it a useful ingredient in cosmetic formulations and as a treatment for dry skin.
3. Accelerate Wound Healing
Aloe is most commonly used as a topical treatment for cuts, burns and other wounds – and with good reason. A review of four experimental studies found that Aloe Vera may reduce the healing time of first or second degree burns by almost nine days, when compared to the control groups.
4. Fight Aging
As it is rich in vitamins C and E and beta carotene (a pre-cursor to vitamin A), Aloe may have some anti-ageing qualities. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, and its ability to lighten blemishes, also help it take years off your face.
Furthermore, Aloe Vera can be taken in supplement form to fight aging, with some research finding that it increases the body’s production of collagen and improves skin elasticity in just 90 days.
5. Reduce Acne and Infection
Those with acne may want to try Aloe Vera’s gentle cleansing and antimicrobial properties to treat their pimples. This healing gel works on several levels.
Its antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties protect the skin from bacteria and other pathogens which lead to infection and inflammation. It contains substances – gibberellins and polysaccharides – that stimulate the growth of new cells, while glycoproteins reduce the inflammation and redness.
As an astringent, Aloe Vera reduces pore size, which helps keep out excess sebum, dirt, and microbes.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Aloe is also used to treat psoriasis and eczema.
6. Lighten Blemishes
Because of its abilities to speeds up skin cell reproduction, fight inflammation and reduce redness, Aloe Vera is a great natural treatment for acne scars and stretch marks.
With some added lemon juice, it may also help lighten age spots and freckles.
3 Reasons To Rub Aloe Vera Gel Into Your Hair & Scalp
1. Promote Healthy Hair Growth
Aloe Vera may help activate new hair growth by increasing the blood circulation to the scalp, and delivering several important vitamins and minerals. It contains proteolytic enzymes which repair dead skin cells on the scalp.
According to Diane Gage, author of Aloe Vera: Nature’s Soothing Healer, the main protein in hair (keratin) has a chemical makeup similar to that of Aloe Vera, which means this healing gel rejuvenates hair while giving it more elasticity. By improving elasticity, you will prevent breakage of the delicate hair strands, which is key when trying to grow out your locks.
2. Prevent Dandruff
Dandruff has a number of causes, including dry skin, fungal infections, and irritated, oily skin. Aloe Vera helps with all these conditions.
Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties fight fungus, while the gel also hydrates and balances oiliness.
3. Nourish and Condition the Hair and Scalp
Just as it moisturizes the skin, Aloe Vera softens and conditions the hair. Regular use helps restore shine and vitality.
Unlike conventional, chemical-based moisturizing hair products, Aloe Vera doesn’t leave behind a nasty residue and greasy build-up.
Aloe Vera Recipes for Face, Skin and Hair
In addition to simply applying the gel from the Aloe plant directly to your skin and hair, why not try some of the following beauty recipes to naturally harness the power of Aloe Vera:
1. Green Tea and Aloe Skin Toner – this three ingredient toner is so easy to make. It promises to tighten pores, remove toxins, reduce redness and moisturize. Simply blend water, green tea, and aloe vera for a gentle astringent action. Those with extra oily skin can add some witch hazel if they wish.
2. Eye Make-Up Remover – stubborn mascara and eyeliner can be extremely difficult to remove, which is why many eye-care products on the market contain harsh chemicals. But these can be extremely drying to the skin, and damage the delicate eye area. This gentle yet effective homemade remover is made with just two ingredients: extra virgin olive oil and Aloe Vera juice.
3. Shaving Gel – on its own, Aloe makes the perfect shaving gel – it allows for a smooth, close shave whilst moisturizing and killing bacteria. But it’s even better when combined with liquid castile soap, vegetable glycerin, olive oil, and essential oils, as in this recipe.
4. Soothing After Sun Spray – ease and soothe skin after sun exposure with the beneficial ingredients in this spray: vitamin E, witch hazel, and Aloe Vera.
5. Skin Brightening Scrub – brighten your skin tone and remove blemishes on your face and body with this simple blend of sugar, Aloe and lemon juice.
6. Daily Cleansing Face Wash – suitable for all face types – whether dry, oily or combination – this gentle everyday wash contains pure Aloe Vera gel, jojoba oil, liquid castile soap, cosmetic clay, and essential oil.
7. Soothing Moisturizer – a silky soft facial cream that smells great and lasts for months. To make this, you’ll need Aloe Vera gel, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, beeswax, and your favorite essential oils.
8. Aloe and Honey Face Mask for Acne – a soothing and healing mask that pairs honey’s antibacterial abilities with Aloe Vera’s anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness, pain, swelling and itching.
9. Cucumber and Aloe Face Mask for Dry Skin – this mask couldn’t be simpler to make and will alleviate the dryness and tightness around your face and hairline. Just add cucumber and aloe to a blender, whizz up and apply to your skin for 20 minutes.
10. Hair Gel – tame unruly hair with this simple homemade gel (which doubles up as a soothing aftershave balm!). It requires just three ingredients: Aloe Vera pulp, almond oil, and olive oil.
11. Aloe Shampoo – with so many benefits for hair health, whipping up this fantastic shampoo is a must! With distilled water, dried herbs, liquid castile soap, Aloe Vera gel, jojoba oil, and essential oils.
12. Conditioner for Dry Hair – lemon, Aloe Vera, and essential oils make for an easy yet effective DIY conditioner recipe.
Where To Buy Aloe Vera Gel
As previously explained, harvesting your own Aloe Vera gel is the best way to benefit from this wonderful natural ingredient. To do so, you’ll need to grow your own Aloe Vera plant, although some grocery stores now sell large Aloe Vera leaves which can be used instead.
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