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Aloe Vera in skin care

Aloe Barbadensis Miller close-up

Aloe Vera, you have encountered it in all kinds of skin care products for years. Read below what it is, what it can do for your skin and what you should pay attention to when buying an Aloe Vera gel.


Cut aloe vera gel

What is Aloe Vera?
The Aloe Vera or Aloe Barbadensis Miller is a cactus-like plant that grows in warm, dry and stony areas. For example, they are common in the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and Asia. Aloe Vera leaves consist of 3 parts. The shell as the outer layer, just below the latex, is a yellow bitter juice, and in the core the gel, a white transparent substance. It is usually the gel used in skin care.

What does it do for your skin?
Aloe Vera has been known for its healing and rejuvenating powers since ancient times. Legend has it that Alexander the Great used it to treat wounded soldiers and the Egyptian queen Cleopatra used it to keep her skin young. But what does modern research actually say about Aloe Vera? Indeed, scientific studies have shown that it has many positive effects. It can help with:

  • Accelerating wound healing.
  • Reducing UV damage from the sun.
  • Reducing skin problems such as acne.
  • Fighting fungi, bacteria and viruses, such as herpes simplex, the virus that causes cold sores.
  • Stimulating collagen production and moisturizing the skin.

Yet not all studies are so unambiguous. For example, one study says that retinol together with aloe vera works better against acne than retinol alone, but that if you use aloe vera without retinol it doesn't do that much for acne. Aloe Vera has also been shown to kill cold sore virus, but this is a test tube study. It has never been studied on humans whether it really speeds up the healing of cold sores.

So while Aloe Vera is a promising agent that feels good on the skin, more research is needed on the positive effects of Aloe Vera, which are often exaggerated by the cosmetic industry.

What is in Aloe Vera that makes it so good for your skin?
The Aloe Vera stores water in its leaves during the dry periods, therefore the leaves consist of 95% water. The remaining 5% of Aloe Vera consists of all kinds of useful substances for your skin such as :.

Vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin C and vitamin E
These vitamins are antioxidants that neutralize free radicals. In this way they protect the skin against harmful external influences. These vitamins also stimulate collagen production. Collagen is an important part of the skin that provides firmness and elasticity.

Anthraquinones
These are substances with antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can, for example, help to combat cold sores.

Phytosterols
This group of substances are also known as plant sterols. They are substances that resemble cholesterol. They have moisturizing properties that protect the skin from drying out. They are also common in vegetable oils such as Argan oil or Shea oil.

Polysaccharides.
These are sugar chains that give Aloe Vera its characteristic pleasant structure. While in recent years it has been increasingly recommended to eat less sugar, sugars in small amounts have many positive effects on the skin. The sugar chains in Aloe Vera have moisturizing and anti-inflammatory effects and can help speed up wound healing.

Flavonoids
This is a large group of substances and they occur in almost all fruits and plants. They are the flavonoids responsible for the colors of all fruits and plants. Flavonoids are good antioxidants that can protect the skin against the sun and external influences.

What should you pay attention to when buying Aloe Vera gel?
First of all, see if Aloe Vera is somewhere at the top of the ingredients list, when it is at the back the product contains little Aloe Vera and will not do so much.

We have noticed that many Aloe Vera products contain alcohol. Alcohol can dry out and irritate the skin, while you smear Aloe Vera on your skin to hydrate and soothe the skin. Therefore, avoid Aloe Vera products with alcohol. Check the ingredients list and look for: alcohol, ethanol, ethyl alcohol or alcohol denat. These are all synonyms for alcohol.
Aloe Vera gel is colourless and transparent, but there are also green Aloe Vera products in the store. These are therefore colored with a dye. If you want to avoid products with dyes, do not buy colored Aloe Vera gel.

Summarized
Although some cosmetics companies exaggerate the positive effects, Aloe Vera does have many positive effects, which are supported by scientific research. It mainly helps in stimulating collagen production, hydrating the skin and reducing UV damage. It contains a large amount of useful substances that care for and protect the skin. Preferably buy an Aloe Vera product with a high percentage of Aloe Vera (somewhere at the top of the ingredients list) and no alcohol or dyes.

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