Aloe, Pay Attention! The Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
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I don’t know about y’all, but I am always anxious about the plethora of unpronounceable ingredients and unknown chemicals that I’m unwittingly putting into my body via skincare and beauty products. So I’m always excited by an ingredient that is jam packed with nutrients and benefits that I can trust to deliver while still being holistically good for my body. One of my very favorite of these ingredients is Aloe Vera – which I’ll be telling you all about here in our ‘Health Benefits of Aloe Vera‘ feature!
What are Aloe Vera and Aloe Vera Gel?
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant – one that is very easy to maintain if you want to home grow your own! Trust me, you’ll want to once we’re all done here. Aloe Vera leaves are full of a clear, gooey gel that has been used as an ointment for centuries in different healing and beauty cultures across the world. It’s full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals and has great moisturizing properties. It’s no surprise that companies like Erno Laszlo, Nivea, Lush, and L’Oréal turn to Aloe – it does wonders for their products! Aloe is often used as treatment for sunburn, but there are so many more uses for this powerful ingredient. It’s
Aloe Vera for Hair Loss
Whether you’re struggling with hair loss or just want to boost your hair health or appearance, Aloe should be an ingredient to look out for in hair products. It can even be applied straight to the scalp as a mask! Aloe is an amazing natural moisturizer and a dry, unhealthy scalp is often to blame for stunted hair growth. A healthy scalp is vital when it comes to promoting healthy hair, and Aloe can help you achieve the healthiest of scalps.
Aloe is also a natural cleanser and antiseptic (noticeable by the gel’s soapy texture) and that clears away sebum, or scalp oil, which may be clogging hair follicles and preventing hair from growing. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B12 promote strong, healthy hair and stimulate hair growth – and Aloe is rich in all three.
Aloe Vera for Face and Acne
One name for Aloe Vera is Kumari which means princess, because, well, it’ll make you look like a princess. Umm… sign me up? There are two main types of moisturizers. One is a humectant, which attracts water to the skin and binds water to cells and skin tissue. The other is an emollient, which stays on the skin’s surface to lock in the moisture that is already there. One awesome thing about Aloe Vera is that it does BOTH, attracting moisture to the skin and then locking it in. And though emollients are not usually recommended for oily skin, Aloe is super lightweight so it works for all skin types. Hydrated skin is brighter, softer, and refreshed. It plumps the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
If you’ve got acne, this one’s for you. A huge mistake acne sufferers often make is avoiding moisturizer because they already have oily, “moisturized” skin. However, excess oil can often be produced by the skin to make up for a lack of hydration. Aloe Vera is a great moisturizer for you because it is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. Another reason Aloe Vera should be your new BFF is that it will detox your liver (eat/drink Aloe for this one) and thereby help stop your acne at the source.
Aloe Vera for Scars
Aloe Vera can be wonderful for minimizing the appearance of scars. It is an anti-inflammatory, and as such there is less surface swelling – helping to normalize skin texture. Because it’s soothing and moisturizing, the damaged skin can better heal and repair itself. Aloe Vera also increases the skin’s production of collagen, generating new skin cells and helping torn skin fuse back together.
— Sunshine Organics (@sunorganicsusa) December 13, 2016
What is Aloe Vera Powder?
Aloe Vera powder is freeze dried Aloe, and it sure is easy to store and convenient to use. Bacteria needs moisture to live, and since the powder is dry it doesn’t need any added preservatives like a store-bought gel would. A fresh plant is great and all, but it can be time-consuming to cut off the spikes and scrape off the gel for each use. Aloe Vera powder can easily be added to smoothies for an easy kick of vitamins and antioxidants, or mixed with water to make a healing paste.
Can You Eat or Drink Aloe Vera?
You can! Eat the gel straight with a spoon or add it to a smoothie and take advantage of the many internal benefits of Aloe Vera. It tends to have a somewhat bitter taste which is why you may prefer to take the smoothie route. However, if you’re eating straight from the plant, choose a leaf that is convex – they are less bitter or even completely tasteless.
Eating or drinking Aloe helps regulate blood sugar levels, it improves circulation, aids in digestion, hydrates the body, cleanses the liver and other vital organs, and is highly alkaline so it reduces heartburn and other symptoms of high acidity in the body.
Aloe Vera Products Overview
Once you start looking out for it, you’ll notice that Aloe is added to a huge variety of products. So many great products capitalize on this super-gel because it soothes, heals and hydrates, and works for all skin types including most people with sensitive skin. Lip-balms and lotions rely on the softening Vitamin E and moisturizing abilities of Aloe Vera. Shampoos and other hair products take advantage of the clarifying nature of the plant and its ability to strengthen hair follicles. It’s an antiseptic, so it’s great for soaps that won’t dry out your skin. It can also block harmful UV rays which is why it’s often added to sunscreen and works as an amazing sunburn ointment for those times we think we’re above SPF or fall asleep tanning, or both. Lastly, Aloe also makes for a wonderful natural lubricant – there’s no shortage of uses for this little wonder-plant!
Aloe Vera Side Effects
Unfortunately, Aloe Vera isn’t necessarily all good all the time! First of all, some people are allergic or sensitive to the plant. It’s always a good idea to test out the gel on a small patch of skin or eat a small amount of it in order to gauge your reaction. Discontinue use if you have a bad reaction such as hives or stomach pain. Additionally, because it lowers blood sugar levels, people with diabetes or hypoglycemia should use Aloe Vera with caution.
I love Aloe Vera because it’s non-toxic and effective. Plain and simple. The various antioxidants, vitamins, enzymes and minerals in Aloe Vera can improve your immune system, help hydrate and detoxify your body, and stabilize vitamin deficiencies. With such a wide variety of uses, it is just a great substance to have around. Your skin, hair, liver, immune system, digestive system – you name it – will be cheering in the stands as you apply that gel, use that shampoo, or drink that aloe smoothie. Hooray for being nice to our bodies! And who doesn’t want to look like a princess? Am I right? I’m right 😉