You may turn to aloe to help cool a sunburn, but did you know that it also helps soothe radiation-induced dermatitis, tames inflamed skin, and accelerates healing?
In fact, the aloe vera plant has been used for centuries for its skin care properties, and has been so effective that the Egyptians called it “the plant of immortality.”
Read more about this natural wonder and why we include it in every CV Skinlabs product!
What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is one species of the Aloe genus, which contains over 500 species of flowering, succulent plants. A pea-green perennial, it is native to dry regions in America, Europe, Asia and Africa, with triangular, fleshy leaves that have serrated edges and yellow tubular flowers.
Aloe is a cactus-type plant that likes warm sun and dry air and contains in its leaves a clear gel that can be applied topically to heal and soothe the skin, or gathered into a liquid to be ingested. The gel contains mostly water, but the rest is made up of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, lipids (fats), sterols, and more.
The use of aloe can be traced back at least 6,000 years to early Egypt, where it showed up on stone carvings. It was used back then to treat wounds and as a laxative, and was said to be a favorite of Nefertiti and Cleopatra who used it as part of their beauty regimens.
7 Ways Aloe Benefits Skin
Modern-day research has discovered that aloe has a number of beneficial effects on skin, including the following:
1. Protects against UV-induced damage.
Studies have found that aloe vera gel has a protective effect against radiation damage. In the laboratory, scientists found that after they applied aloe to the skin, it generated an antioxidant protein called “metallothionein,” which scavenges free radicals and prevents sunburn and other types of damage.
Indeed, like most plants, aloe contains powerful antioxidants that can help fight free radicals and protect the skin from not only UV damage, but other environmental assaults.
2. Tames inflammation.
Aloe not only helps protect against sun damage, but it also makes a good after-sun treatment because of its ability to calm inflammation once it’s already present. It works in the skin to actually reduce the production of substances that cause inflammation, while inhibiting other actions that can make it worse.
In one study, for example, researchers found that aloe displayed some anti-inflammatory effects that were better even than those of 1 percent hydrocortisone. It also provides a protective layer on the skin, which helps retain moisture. This action can help speed healing of sunburn.
Aloe can also help tame inflammation caused by acne, rosacea, and other skin conditions like psoriasis.
3. Speeds wound healing.
Aloe has the ability to increase the production of collagen in the skin, which helps wounds to heal faster and stronger. According to one study, it not only increased collagen content in the wound, but also changed the actual composition of the collagen and increased the degree of collagen cross-linking to create stronger, healthier skin over the wound.
In a 2015 study, researchers reported that growth factors in aloe vera, as well as vitamins E and C and some amino acids, all worked together to stimulate and accelerate wound healing while producing collagen and providing antioxidant protection. In another study on skin burns, researchers found that aloe reduced inflammation significantly and provided accelerated healing that could produce a “sound, well-remodeled scar.”
4. Moisturizes and provides an anti-aging effect.
The best moisturizers go beyond simply trapping moisture. Aloe gel helps bind moisture to the skin, but it goes further than that to stimulate collagen and elastin, which help skin hold onto its shape, while tightening pores and decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
In a 2009 study, researchers found that aloe improved facial wrinkles and elasticity, while increasing collagen production. We need more studies to find out exactly how far aloe can go in the fight against aging, but we already know that because of its many beneficial properties, it’s a great addition to any anti-aging skin care formula.
5. Naturally keeps skin clean.
Aloe has natural antiseptic agents in it, including salicylic acid, cinnamonic acid, phenols, and sulfur, all of which inhibit the action of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Studies on the leaf skin extract have also shown aloe to help kill a type of bacteria called mycoplasma that is resistant to many antibiotics.
In a 2012 study, researchers also reported that aloe vera was effective against contaminants like E. coli, E. faecalis, and Staph. Aureus. Adding aloe to any skin care formula helps to cut down on microorganisms and keep skin clear of problem-causing bacteria.
6. Protects from skin damage after radiation therapy.
One of the main reasons I created CV Skinlabs in the first place was to help people going through cancer treatments to feel more comfortable. Radiation burns can be particularly painful, so we include aloe in our products because it has shown in studies to help protect the skin from radiation damage. In one study, for example, researchers found that the preventive use of topical creams containing aloe reduced the incidence of skin side effects in women treated with radiation therapy for breast cancer.
In a 2013 study, researchers evaluated aloe lotion for the prevention of radiation-induced dermatitis. Patients used a lotion containing aloe vera on one half of the irradiated area, with no medication used on the other half. They found that aloe reduced the intensity of radiation-induced dermatitis, particularly from week 4 until the end of the evaluation period (4 week after radiotherapy stopped), with the biggest differences seen in weeks 5 and 6 of radiotherapy.
7. Fights acne.
Aloe has a number of properties that work together to fight the formation of acne. It reduces inflammation, which is a key factor in acne development, and it helps kill acne-causing bacteria so that it can’t start acne in the first place. It has substances that stimulate the growth of new cells, while reducing redness and accelerating wound healing.
Aloe also has an astringent property that helps to reduce pore size and increase their resistance to collecting sebum and dirt that can lead to acne formation. In addition, it can help enhance the action of other ingredients in acne-fighting formulas. In one 2004 study, for instance, aloe vera gel enhanced the anti-acne properties of Ocimum oil, reducing the number of papules and pustules faster than standard products.
CV Skinlabs Loves Aloe!
With all these properties and more, aloe makes the perfect ingredient for our CV Skinlabs line. We use this natural wonder in every one of our products, and love how well it works. We invite you to give it a try!
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What do you think of aloe?
SourcesReuter J., et al., “Investigation of the anti-inflammatory potential of Aloe vera gel (97.5%) in the ultraviolet erythema test,” Skin Pharmacol Physiol., 2008; 21(2):106-10, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18253066.Amar Surjushe, et al., “Aloe Vera: A Short Review,” Indian J Dermatol., 2008; 53(4):163-166, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/.Seyyed Abbas Hashemi, et al., “The Review on Properties of Aloe Vera in Healing of Cutaneous Wounds,” BioMed Research International, 2015, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/714216/.Ahmed A.M., et al., “Effect of topical aloe vera on the process of healing of full-thickness skin burn: a histological and immunohistochemical study,” Journal of Histology & Histopathology, 2015; 2(3): http://www.hoajonline.com/journals/pdf/2055-091X-2-3.pdf.Soyun Cho, et al., “Dietary Aloe Vera Supplementation Improves Facial Wrinkles and Elasticity and It Increases the Type 1 Procollagen Gene Expression in Human Skin in vivo,” Ann Dermatol., February 2009; 21(1):6-11, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883372/.Aroa Lopez, et al., “Phenolic Constituents, Antioxidant and Preliminary Antimycoplasmic Activities of Leaf Skin and Flowers of Aloe vera (L.) Burm. F. (syn. A. barbadensis Mill.) from the Canary Islands (Spain),” Molecules 2013; 18(5):4942-4954, http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/18/5/4942.Prakash P Athiban, et al., “Evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy of Aloe vera and its effectiveness in decontaminating gutta percha cones,” J Conserv Dent., Jul-Sep 2012; 15(3):246-248, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410334/.Christian Nordqvist, “Aloe Vera: Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses,” MedicalNewsToday, December 19, 2016; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265800.php.Haddad, et al., “Aloe vera for prevention of radiation-induced dermatitis: a self-controlled clinical trial,” Curr Oncol., August 2013; 20(4):e343-e348, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3728063/.