Aloe vera, sometimes also referred to as a wonder plant, is probably the most magical plant in the cosmetic industry. It has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries and has made its way into our skin and hair care routine.
It has been known to treat several health conditions such as canker sores, reduce constipation, accelerate wound healing, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce dental plaque. Its potent antibacterial properties can treat bacterial and viral skin problems. The antioxidants and polyphenols inhibit the growth of certain bacteria that cause human infections.
Every aloe vera leaf contains a highly bitter and gooey translucent gel packed with incredible healing properties. Keep reading to find out how you can benefit from including aloe vera-based products in your skin and hair care routines.
Aloe vera, or aloe barbadensis miller, is a succulent belonging to the genus Aloe. It is found in tropical climates like the dry regions of Europe, Asia, America, and Africa. It has been used in other cultures like Greece, Egypt, Mexico, China, and Japan. There are over 420 plant species of aloe, but only aloe vera can be used. These green cactus-like plants contain vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, and E), enzymes, monosaccharides, polysaccharides, and hormones. Each of these active ingredients adds to the plant's many benefits.
The aloe vera leaf contains three layers. The inner layer is a gel that comprises 99% water, and the rest consists of glucomannans, sterols, vitamins, lipids, and amino acids. The leaf's middle layer is latex - a yellowish sack with anthraquinones and glycosides. The outermost layer synthesizes carbohydrates and proteins and protects the inner plant of the leaf. Besides the ingredients mentioned here, more than 150 essential ingredients have been identified in aloe vera leaves. Experts believe that these leaves might even contain up to 400 vital components.
An aloe vera leaf is easy to use on the skin. It's as simple as breaking an aloe vera leaf, washing it thoroughly, scooping out the gel from the leaf, and rubbing it directly on the skin. However, aloe vera is most beneficial when it is implemented in your skin care regimen. It can help exfoliate the skin, restore its suppleness, and treat acne and several other skin conditions when used regularly. Here are some benefits of aloe vera in skin care:
Aloe vera is packed with vitamins that help moisturize the skin. It's fast-absorbing, so it doesn't leave the skin greasy after use. Because of its hydrating effects, it can also be used as an after-shave treatment.
Protects Against Skin Cancer
Aloe vera may prevent harmful UV and gamma radiation damage that can lead to skin cancer.
The humectants in aloe vera can bind moisture to the skin and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin fibers. The antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamins C and E enhance the skin's natural firmness while keeping it hydrated.
The gel of the humble aloe vera plant is known to have powerful anti-inflammatory agents that can help treat mild-to-moderate acne. The gel is an antimicrobial, meaning it can target various types of bacteria.
Salicylic acid and sulfur, both used to treat acne, are found naturally in aloe vera gel. These ingredients help clear pores and reduce the amount of sebum on the skin. So, there's less chance of clogged pores and acne breakouts.
Aloe vera is also known to reduce acne lesions. Thanks to its unique polysaccharides and vitamins A, C, and E, its effective wound-healing properties help heal and clear up skin and lighten acne lesions.
Research suggests that aloe vera's anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties might help prevent acne scars from forming or lessen the severity of these scars. The aloesin in the gel might help lighten hyperpigmentation and reduce the appearance of acne lesions.
Increases Collagen Production
It has been proven that aloe vera increases collagen production when it is applied as a topical treatment or even taken orally. Its cell-growth stimulating property helps boost collagen production in the skin, which fights off and prevents fine lines and wrinkles.
Research has shown that the clear gel found in aloe vera leaves can help ease sunburn symptoms. Aloin found in the plant has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that help calm inflamed, sunburned skin. The humectants in the gel can help moisturize the skin and prevent it from peeling, and the antioxidants help relieve sunburn.
How to Use Aloe Vera Directly on the Skin
You can use aloe vera gel that has been obtained from the plant directly on your skin.
Use a sharp knife to cut a leaf from an aloe vera plant. Ensure the plant is an aloe vera and not any other aloe plant species as these could be poisonous. It's best to use the larger outer leaves found at the plant's base. You can also use store-bought aloe vera leaves.
Wash the leaf well to remove any dirt. Stand the leaf upright in a bowl for about 15 minutes. This is to allow the yellowish resin in the leaf to drain off from the leaf. Getting this resin off is essential as it contains latex that could irritate your skin.
Once the resin has drained out completely, wash the leaf and peel off the skin using a sharp knife or vegetable peeler. The aloe vera gel is now exposed.
Blend this gel in a blender. Ensure no skin of the leaf gets into the blender. Blend the gel until it is liquified. You will notice that the gel turns frothy when it is blended. It takes only a few minutes to blend the gel.
Use the gel directly on your face.
You can also store this gel in a clean air-tight jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Aloe vera is used in several hair care products today. Here are some of its benefits to promoting healthy hair.
Deep Cleanses Hair
Unlike harmful chemicals, aloe vera can clean each hair shaft gently. The enzymes present in aloe vera remove excess oil by breaking down fats. It also helps remove product build-up from your scalp without drying your hair. Plus, it leaves the hair softer, bouncier, and shinier.
Dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) causes flaking of the skin and an itchy scalp. Both these symptoms can be relieved by the fatty acids in aloe vera, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Promotes Hair Growth
Regularly washing and conditioning your hair with aloe vera can lead to less hair breakage and hair loss due to hair breakage.
Protects Against UV Damage
UV exposure causes hair to become dull and lifeless. Color-treated hair loses its shine because of ultraviolet radiation. UV radiation can make hair rough, less elastic, and prone to breakage. Studies have shown that fresh aloe vera gel and juice protect hair from harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Repairs and Strengthens Hair Strands
Aloe vera is rich in Vitamins A, C, E, B12, and folic acid. Vitamins A, C, and E help with cell turnover to promote hair growth and shine. B12 and folic acid strengthen hair follicles and prevent hair fall. However, no research proves that aloe vera can prevent hair loss.
The amino acids found in aloe vera gel promote the health of the hair follicles.
How to Use Aloe Vera for Hair
After you pick the leaves, wash and blend them, you can use the gel directly on your scalp. Rub it into your scalp and let it stay on for an hour. Use a mild shampoo to wash it off. Repeat up to thrice a week.
WOW Skin Science Range of Aloe Vera Products
WOW Skin Science's range of aloe vera products is packed with the goodness of fresh aloe vera, so you don't have to waste time making your aloe vera gel. Plus, in easy-to-use products, you get all the benefits of fresh aloe vera gel. Each product is carefully created with handpicked natural ingredients that work together to give you visible benefits.
Gently cleanse your skin without drying out your face with the WOW Aloe Vera Face Wash with Brush. Enriched with the goodness of aloe vera, green tea, calendula extract, and cucumber, this gentle but effective face wash penetrates deep into every pore to deliver a balanced dose of vital nutrients. Vitamin B12 and antioxidants neutralize free radicals and restore the skin's pH balance, while the brush's soft bristles gently slough away dead skin cells.
Revive tired and dull skin with a burst of WOW Skin Science's aloe vera hydrating face wash. It's completely safe and gentle enough for daily use. This face wash will clean clogged pores and deliver a boost of hydration and nourishment for healthy, glowing, and supple skin. Aloe vera extracts refine pores and brighten the skin. Green tea extracts rich in B12 and antioxidants fight and neutralize free radicals, so your skin's pH balance will be restored. Calendula fights away acne-causing bacteria.
With the WOW Skin Science Aloe Vera Multi-Vitamin Face Cream, you can be sure your face gets its daily dose of nutrition to prevent and protect your skin from aging. This emollient-rich cream delivers a burst of nutrients that enhance your skin's cell renewal process.
Its exfoliating action removes dead skin cells while hydrating your skin. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals that damage skin, so your skin feels smoother, younger, and more hydrated. Aloe vera extracts, shea butter, niacinamide, d-Panthenol, Moroccan argan, and sweet almond oil are the essential ingredients in this soothing, toning, and reviving formula.
This light aloe vera body lotion nourishes your skin and leaves it hydrated and soft. This lightweight formula is excellent for oily skin and provides ultra-light hydration without leaving a sticky after-feel.
Aloe vera juice extract, argan oil, and almond oil hydrate your skin with the right amount of moisture. Shea and cocoa butter brighten, condition, and revive dull skin. Hyaluronic acid reduces signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles by retaining moisture.
Restore your skin's dewy suppleness with this gentle yet effective body wash. Revive your skin with the goodness of aloe extract, cucumber, and melon seed oil with this luxurious body wash. It has the most refreshing fruity fragrance. Shea butter keeps your body hydrated and tightens the skin. Tocopheryl acetate protects your skin against free radicals.
Pamper your hair with liquid gold nourishment provided by aloe vera, almond oil, and Moroccan argan oil that help repair damage, restore elasticity, hydrate, soothe scalp irritation, and strengthen hair.
There is no doubt that Aloe Vera is a miracle plant. Not only does it have several health benefits, but it has several skin and hair benefits as well. It hydrates, nourishes, and protects the skin and hair – no wonder the skin care and hair care industries cannot do without this crucial ingredient. WOW Skin Science's aloe vera products are easy to use and loaded with aloe vera's goodness. Click here for more on WOW Skin Science's skin and hair products range.
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