What is Aloe Vera?
The aloe vera plant is native to northern Africa, and is a succulent that can grow up to 1 metre tall and consists of thick fleshy leaves. It is harvested to make into gel, concentrate and juice products. Aloe vera contains eight essential amino acids required by the human body and over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, compounds and amino acids.
How does it benefit the skin?
Aloe vera is a super exceptional skin healer. It is known to not only offer moisturising benefits but also assist with wound healing, sunburn relief and treat acne. The table below offers some insights into how aloe vera can help support your skin health.
Aloe Vera component
Salicylic acid and zinc
Acne complaints by addressing oil production
Skin tightening through astringent qualities
Reduces swelling, redness and bruising
Vitamin A, C , E
Firmness and hydration
Protecting collagen from oxidation
Offers an aspirin affect reliving pain from stings, burns, itchiness
Auxin and Gibberellins
Anti inflammatory properties
Delivers water directly to deep skin tissue
(see below for more information on this sugar)
“Glucomannan, a mannose-rich polysaccharide, and gibberellin, a growth hormone, interacts with growth factor receptors on the fibroblast, thereby stimulating its activity and proliferation, which in turn significantly increases collagen synthesis after topical and oral Aloe vera" 1
Aloe Vera is said to work at a cellular level and assist in micro circulation which offers the benefits of efficiently delivering nourishing vitamins, minerals and amino acids to our skins tissues and cells. This incredible plant is also known to support collagen production by stimulating fibroblast cells. These cells are responsible for producing the proteins collagen and elastin. Our skin is made up of approximately 70% collagen fibres and the spaces between collagen fibrils are filled with mucopolysaccharides that our bodies produce. As you saw in the table above aloe vera also contains these sugars and those that aloe vera provides can also fit in these spaces.
"In a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of Aloe vera or placebo cream in 60 patients with chronic psoriasis, the cure rate in the Aloe vera group was 83% (with no relapses at 12 months of follow-up) compared to only 7% in the placebo group." 2
Warning: Many commercially available after sun relief aloe vera products contain a lot of water, alcohol as well as synthetic thickening agents and artificial colors! – Take the below examples for instance:
Ingredients: Water, SD Alcohol 40, Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Fragrance, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Benzophenone 4, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090)
Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis leaf juice (organic), panthenol, disodium EDTA, acrylates/C10-30 alkl acrylate crosspolymer, phenoxyethanol, sodium hydroxide.
Opt for organic products that are as close to 100% aloe vera extract as possible. Only cutting the plant and applying directly can you guarantee 100% aloe vera as all shelf products need some form of preservative. However 99.9% comes pretty close though!! At the very least do you skin a favour and purchase a product that has aloe vera listed as the first ingredient.