I may not be able to keep an aloe vera plant alive for more than two weeks (even though they can survive up to years in deserts, whatever) but I can definitely break down the chemistry of it. So chances are there’s been a time or two where you either forgot to apply sunscreen or just didn’t apply it frequently enough and have come inside to discovery red and puffy skin, this is where aloe vera gel comes in. This so-called “magical” succulent has been the go-to plant for many health and beauty issues throughout history. However, scientists and users alike are beginning to speculate as to whether this plant can actually fix all these health and beauty woes
does aloe vera gel really work?
There’s a surprising amount of controversy on this subject. Like I said previously, the speculation of aloe vera gel has risen a lot lately, leading aloe vera to be the topic of many research studies. A research study from the British Journal of General Practice conducted and compiled multiple research studies on aloe vera to test their effectiveness. What did they find? The researchers did not find enough data for any of the studies to prove that aloe vera really does anything in cosmetics. However, this study was done in 1999, that was 17 years ago, a lot of science advancements have taken place since then.
In a more recent study (2012) from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology conducted an in-vitro study on the inhibition of inflammatory responses in the skin and found that aloe vera was able to inhibit these responses to the skin. This study helps with the idea that aloe vera gel can help reduce skin inflammation after a sunburn.
However not too long ago, the Beauty Brains posted an article about how apparently aloe vera actually works citing an article from Dermatology Times. According to the article, the composition of the aloe vera gel being produced is the key to its effectiveness.
So very long story short, the reason you’ll see aloe vera gel being marketed as 99% aloe vera is very important. That 99% is the aloe vera juice/”ooze”, directly from the plant. The other 1% are the other compounds that allow aloe vera to be so effective. By itself, aloe vera may not be as effective in treating that burn until those other compounds are added.
aloe vera gel composition
So we now know that 99% of aloe vera gel is the juice/”ooze” that comes out of the leafs when cut. This ooze is also known as mucilage. Mucilage is (grossly) defined as “a viscous secretion or bodily fluid” which is also responsible for the sticky texture of aloe vera gel. The other 1% of ingredients can include compounds such as colorants (commonly blue 1), stabilizers, preservatives, a carrier (typically SD alcohol 40), a thickener, etc. The combination of all these chemicals creates a stable compound that together are able to heal burns and reduce inflammation.
applications of aloe vera gel
In case you haven’t gotten the gist of what I’ve said above, the jury is still out on whether or not aloe vera gel can be used to heal wounds, cure dryness, treat psoriasis, etc. There is a ton of speculation out there, and to quote The Beauty Brains “not all aloe is equal”.
Overall, In my opinion, being a historically known botanical ingredient aloe vera and aloe vera gel would be perfectly safe to test out for different beauty applications. I’ve seen bloggers talk about using it as after-shave relief, moisturizer, acne treatments, etc. Aloe vera is known to be safe for sensitive skin and pretty much safe for everyone so go ahead and experiment! Just know that there’s not a lot of research out there backing up evidence for these uses. Skin burns and inflammation carry the most scientific backing and even then is not super solid. Also, user tip from someone who burns a lot keeping aloe vera in the fridge, not only keeps the gel long lasting, but the cooling effect is insane when in touches your poor burnt skin.
Do you have any aloe vera remedies you swear by? I’d love to hear in the comments below!