Buzzy skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and retinol tend to get all the love and attention. But there's another tried and true ingredient that can naturally power up your skincare routine and give you hydrated, glowing skin—so it's about time you get reintroduced to aloe vera.
The succulent plant (formally known as aloe barbadensis) can do so much more than simply soothe your sunburns. For centuries, the gel inside aloe vera leaves, which is high in amino acids and nourishing vitamins, has been harvested to address a wide variety of skin conditions. Whether you're suffering from breakouts, skin irritations, dandruff, or dry skin, there are endless ways to use aloe vera on your skin and even in your hair care routine. Keep reading to discover eight reasons you should be using aloe vera in your skincare routine.
About the Expert:
Just like aloe vera helps to calm sunburned skin (more on that below), it can also soothe minor skin irritation and even rashes. Rachel Nazarian, MD, a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group, explains that this is because "aloe contains magnesium lactate, which is a chemical that decreases histamine and can decrease itching and irritation."
If you have sensitive skin or are noticing more irritation than normal, swap your products for aloe-infused versions. We love THREE SHIPS Purify Aloe and Amino Acid Cleanser as a daily face wash, but the multitasking formula does way more than just clean. A blend of 10(!!!) different amino acids help replenish your skin barrier to lock in moisture while aloe vera soothes. Consider it a win-win for your skin.
When you think of aloe vera, the first thing you probably think of is lathering it topically all over red, sunburnt skin after a long day at the beach. Dr. Nazarian explains, "It’s a great anti-inflammatory ingredient, which is why it’s a favorite for post-sunburn injury."
When using it to soothe a sunburn, try chilling it in the fridge to add additional anti-inflammatory benefits to the topical application. This is another instance in which you should look for pure aloe as formulas made with alcohol can easily irritate sunburns.
Aloe has some seriously impressive wound-healing properties, and Dr. Nazarian says it's a great option for those looking to reduce the residual injury to skin caused by acne or other wounds. "There are studies that have supported the use of aloe vera to improve wound healing and to decrease skin inflammation," she says. "Aloe vera has been shown to decrease a chemical called thromboxane, which is known to inhibit or slow down wound healing."
If you have sensitive skin that's also acne-prone, purifying face masks are often a double-edged sword. They're great for clearing up breakouts, but they often strip your skin of much-needed moisture. To help avoid that dilemma, look for a face mask like GENERATION CLAY Detoxifying Charcoal Australian Clay Mask, which combines hydrating aloe vera gel with charcoal, a key ingredient for clearing out pores. Together, these two ingredients will fight blemishes and leave your skin feeling soft and moisturized.
Shaving creams and gels are often packed with parabens, sulfates, and other potentially irritating ingredients. If you want to keep your shower routine as natural as possible, try swapping your shave cream with aloe vera gel. Use it just like you would another shaving product—except you get to feel even better about what you’re putting on your body.
Not only is aloe great for calming skin but it also works as a clean and effective moisturizer. If your skin is particularly parched, you can apply pure aloe vera straight onto the body (just like you do to soothe sunburns).
But if you're looking to reap the moisturizing benefits of aloe vera without the thick texture, try using a skincare product that features aloe vera as a primary ingredient. PURLISSE BEAUTY Watermelon Energizing Aqua Balm blends aloe with watermelon extract and white tea to deeply hydrate skin. PIXI BY PETRA Glow Mist Setting Spray also blends aloe vera gel with fruit extract to create a moisturizing spray that will keep your makeup locked in place and your skin expertly hydrated all day long.
While aloe vera may not be the first thing you think of for hair care, it does have a myriad of hair health benefits. Mainly, it's great for treating scalp issues.
"There are several skin conditions that affect the scalp, such as seborrheic dermatitis [dandruff] and psoriasis," Dr. Nazarian says. "Although aloe vera is not a classic treatment for those scalp conditions, they may help with the symptoms associated with them, such as itch or flaking." By keeping your scalp happy and healthy, you may even experience impressive hair growth as a result.
Some beauty buffs have even swapped their conditioner for this clear gel. Now that’s worth trying.
Hand sanitizer is key to keeping our hands clean when we're out and about. However, alcohol-heavy formulas can quickly take a toll on skin health, making our hands irritated, dehydrated, and dry. To combat these issues, aloe vera is often included in hand-sanitizing formulas.
"Aloe vera's role in hand sanitizer is typically to act as an anti-inflammatory and to make the product less irritating," says Dr. Nazarian. She says this is especially helpful for people who wash or sanitize their hands many times a day.
If you're on the hunt for a go-to hand sanitizer, try the SAFE WARRIOR Hand Sanitizer Gel. This germ-fighting formula is made with aloe vera and glycerin, a powerful hydration duo.
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