Aloe Vera has been helping man as natural remedy for many conditions including skin conditions like acne.
Aloe Vera, Its Types, Benefits, and Uses
The Aloe Barbadensis Miller, commonly known as aloe vera, is a succulent plant that is used in alternative medicine for many centuries already. It has 420 aloe vera species and has gained popularity for health, beauty and skin care, and medicinal benefits.
Aloe vera comes from the Arabic term “Alloeh” which means “shining bitter substance.” The word also derived from the Latin word “vera,” meaning “true.” The aloe vera plant belongs to Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) family that is found in Asia, Africa, Europe, and America.
What does aloe vera compose of?
Aloe vera has beta carotene (vitamin A), vitamins C and E, which are known as antioxidants. It contains vitamin B12, choline, and folic acid. We know that antioxidants help neutralize free radicals.
It also has 8 enzymes like aliiase, amylase, alkaline phosphatase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, lipase, cellulase. Catalase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps minimize inflammation when it is applied topically. Other enzymes help in breaking down fats and sugars.
Aloe vera is composed of minerals that give calcium, copper, chromium, magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc, manganese, and sodium. These minerals are vital for the proper functioning of different enzyme systems in various metabolic pathways.
Sugars like monosaccharides (which are glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides (glucomannans or polymannose) are also in aloe vera.
Studies also show that aloe vera contains 12 anthraquinones. These are phenolic substances which are traditionally called laxatives. Its aloin and emodin serve as an analgesic, antiviral, and antibacterial.
Aloe vera has 4 plant steroids such as cholesterol lupeol, campesterol, and β-sitosterol. They have anti-inflammatory properties. The lupeol has antiseptic and analgesic benefits.
The auxins and gibberellins in aloe vera help in healing wounds and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Good news is that aloe vera may provide us with 20 of 22 amino acids that human needs, and 7 out of these amino acids are essential to us. It has salicylic acid that we all know to provide us with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits. It has an inert substance known as lignin which when included in topical preparations help boost the absorption of the other ingredients in our skin. It has the soapy substances known as saponins that have cleansing and antiseptic properties.
How does aloe vera work as a remedy for acne?
Will aloe vera work to treat acne? Yes, it may. There were several studies that show aloe vera could treat acne.
First, aloe vera has natural antibacterial benefits that when applied directly to the skin can kill the acne-causing bacteria. It also helps calm redness around the acne.
The aloe gel contains magnesium lactate which helps heal sunburn and rashes. This natural substance help relieve itchiness associated with acne. This magnesium lactate in aloe gel helps calm the painful acne pimples.
Aloe vera is a natural astringent. People who do not have acne, use it as their astringent. And for those with acne, the astringent properties in aloe is potent to remove dirt and other impurities from the skin. It helps avoid breakouts. Inflamed pimples and cysts that usually caused by acne can also be minimized by the powerful astringent benefits of aloe.
The “anthraquinone” helps remove scars caused by acne and helps your skin cells to regenerate for clearer skin.
Don’t you know also that aloe has the ability to lighten skin, making the scars and blemishes “vanish.” Thus, it is an effective acne treatment because it helps reduce the pigmentation of the skin.
Saponins in aloe are a potent acne-fighting ingredient that helps kill virus and bacteria in the skin. It helps unclog skin pores, thus, reducing whiteheads and blackheads. Aloe has natural salicylic acid. Both saponins and salicylic acid work in restoring the pH levels of the skin to its normal levels.
When aloe is applied to the skin topically, it helps tighten and shrink skin pores. This means that it fights impurities such as dirt and grime loaded with bacteria. Take note that fewer germs may enter our skin when pores are tight or closed.
How do we use aloe vera for acne?
There are many ways of using aloe vera for acne. You can produce your own topical creams, scrubs, and lotions using aloe. You can also mix it with many other natural products for an extra boost of acne-fighting properties.
Natural Aloe Vera
The best thing about applying pure aloe gel as blemish treatment on your face is that you can safely leave it on the whole night. Then, just rinse it in the morning. Do this method each night can do wonderful results if you have acne. This is because the pure gel has anti-inflammatory benefits that help minimize swelling. Other natural ingredients from this pure gel help kill bacteria and calm soreness on your skin.
Homemade Aloe Vera Spray
Just mix 3 parts of water to 1 part aloe vera gel. Shake well inside a plastic mister bottle. Cover your eyes and spray the solution directly to your face for a fast antibacterial shot of acne-fighting remedy.
Aloe Vera, Honey, and Cinnamon
These three natural ingredients help combat acne by killing acne-causing bacteria that can cause severe skin conditions. You can make a mask from the combination of aloe vera, honey, and cinnamon. Mix 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel with 4 teaspoons of organic honey. Add in about one-half tablespoon of organic ground cinnamon and combine well until it becomes thick. Apply it as a mask. If the solution is watery, add a small amount of honey until it becomes thick. Apply it to the areas where acne is, or to your face. Leave on for about 7 to 12 minutes and wash it off completely. Pat dry.
Aloe Vera, Sugar, and Coconut Oil Scrub
Mix about one-third cup of aloe gel, cane sugar, and coconut oil. Store the solution in the fridge and apply it every day. Avoid the eye zone. Apply the scrub solution to your face and wash it off thoroughly after one minute. Coconut has antibacterial properties, while sugar acts as an exfoliant to remove dead cells and open pores. This natural scrub from three powerful ingredients is a potent treatment for skin problems like acne.
Aloe Vera and Lemon Mask
Citrus juices have also been a popular remedy for acne. Mix 10 parts of aloe gel and 1 part of lemon juice. Make sure that your face is clean before applying it on your face and leave it on for 10 minutes. Too much of lemon can irritate the skin. This aloe gel and lemon mask help kill bacteria and cleanse pores effectively.
Aloe Vera and Tea Tree Oil Solution
Mix 2 drops of tea tree oil and 1 tablespoon of purified water and aloe vera gel. Apply the solution to your face. Take extra care because of the presence of tea tree oil. You cannot leave a solution with tea tree oil for a minute or more on your skin. Wash your face thoroughly after applying this solution to your face.
Aloe Vera and Baby Oil Cream
Baby oil has vitamin E that can help hydrate, heal, and nourish your skin. Just mix 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel and 1 or 2 drops of baby oil to make a cream. Leave it on for about 1 hour before washing it with warm water. This homemade cream with aloe gel and baby oil will help soothe and heal acne.
Aloe Vera and Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is rich in malic acid and effective as astringent. It also helps exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. This vinegar also helps restore the right pH level and remove impurities from your skin. Combine 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel, one-half teaspoon apple cider vinegar, and one-half purified water. Apply the solution to your face using a cotton ball or swab and leave it on for about 20 minutes to dry. Wash it clean. This solution may not work wonders if you have sensitive skin. Apple cider vinegar can irritate sensitive skin.
What are some side effects and risks of using aloe vera for acne?
The aloe vera gel found in some creams and moisturizers is generally safe to apply in treating skin problems like acne when it is used topically. But aloe vera latex can be very harmful. This means that taking aloe vera latex orally can lead to diarrhea and cramps. It can also make any oral treatments that you are taking less effective.
Another harm the aloe vera latex can do to you orally and for a prolonged period of time can cause kidney damage and may be very fatal. While, aloe latex may help lower blood sugar level, consult first your doctor before taking any product with aloe latex orally, or before adding it to your skincare routine.
Taking aloe orally is not recommended for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding their babies. It may cause gastrointestinal problems in the nursing baby.
Further studies and research with a larger number of patients with a longer experimental period are being recommended.
How do we choose and store aloe vera?
Check the label on the aloe vera product to know the storage method. Generally, you can store aloe gel and juice in a cool, and not-too-humid settings like at room temperature, or in the fridge. It is also recommended to store the aloe vera juice in an amber-colored bottle. Dark bottles are designed to keep the light from affecting the active ingredients in it.
Since aloe vera is also considered a supplement, and some supplements are not regulated by the FDA. This means that there is no way you will know if it is safe and effective that the manufacturer claims the aloe vera product is.
We recommend that if you are planning to buy an aloe vera product, there should be a seal from the International Aloe Science Council. It is an organization founded in 1980 and when the aloe product has its seal, it means that its quality and purity has been tested and confirmed.