With rubbery, spear-like leaves that gravitate from a center base, the aloe vera plant makes a nice addition to any indoor space or arid outdoor garden. While a small potted aloe vera complements a sunny window sill, this special plant offers much more than beautiful décor. The clear gel found inside aloe vera’s thick, sturdy leaves offers a host of health benefits including treatment of various skin conditions and injuries.
Common to subtropical and tropical regions, aloe vera is a succulent plant, meaning its rubbery leaves store large amounts of water. The stored water combines with glycoproteins and polysaccharides to form a healing gel. When it comes to skin health, glycoproteins work by reducing pain and inflammation, while polysaccharides promote skin repair and new cell growth.
Ways that Aloe Vera Enhances Skin Health
Prescribed by medical experts throughout the 18th and 19th centuries for a number of health concerns, people continue to use aloe vera today for various skin issues.
Dermatologic Skin Conditions: When applied to the skin, aloe vera gel reduces symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis including dry skin, scales, and itching. By hydrating the skin, aloe vera gel also reduces symptoms of xerosis cutis, a condition of abnormally dry skin common in the elderly, and it relieves the dryness, itching, and redness that comes with psoriasis.
Burns: In a review of several scientific studies, researchers found that burns treated with aloe vera healed an average of nine days sooner than burns not treated with aloe vera. Another study comparing aloe vera with silver sulfadiazine for treatment of burns showed quicker healing for aloe vera by roughly three days.
Minor Wounds: According to Prevention Magazine, minor wounds treated with aloe vera heal an average of eight days quicker than wounds treated with standard care.
Additional Aloe Vera Benefits
As if treating minor burns, wounds, and skin conditions aren't enough, here are more helpful benefits of aloe vera gel:
- Offers soothing relief from sunburn, bug bites, and poison ivy
- Speeds healing of chronic leg ulcers
- Helps relieve side effects of microdermabrasion, a technique used to diminish acne scars and wrinkles
- Works well as a natural shaving cream and makeup remover