What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is the common name for the plant Aloe barbadensis. For millennia, Aloe vera has been used for its health, medicinal, skincare, and cosmetic benefits. The plant is divided into three layers: the outer rind, the middle layer, from which latex is extracted, and the inner gel, which is 99.5 percent water. The remaining 0.5 percent of the inner layer is made up of up to 75 known elements, including zinc, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins E, C, and D.
How Aloe Vera Work?
Aloe vera has a long history of use in traditional medicine and indigenous medicine. The plant can be traced back 6,000 years to early Egypt, where it was portrayed on stone carvings. The United States Pharmacopeia formally identified Aloe vera as a skin protectant in 1820. A systematic review published in 2009 summarised 40 experiments including the use of aloe vera for dermatological purposes. Aloe vera has also been shown in research to help mitigate the appearance of psoriasis, dermatitis, frostbite, burns, and inflammation. The most common use of aloe vera is to treat sunburn and mild burns. It accomplishes this by assisting in the cooling of the skin as well as the replenishment of the skin's moisture and vitamin content. It is suitable for all skin types, except those with reported allergy to it.
What Aloe Vera Does To The Skin?
The number of vitamins and active components present in Aloe vera makes it a great benefit to the skin in many ways including;
- Maintaining Moisture: Aloe vera can aid in the prevention of transepidermal water loss. Transepidermal water loss (TEWL) occurs when water in the skin is lost to the atmosphere and air, especially in dry conditions such as in the presence of heaters and air conditioners. It has been proposed that glycosaminoglycans are responsible for this ability to inhibit moisture loss. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are a type of sugar molecule that aids in the retention of moisture in the skin. GAGs are commonly present in human skin and have a primary function in the dermis by supporting the proteins collagen and elastin. The bulk of an essential support structure known as the extracellular matrix (ECM) is made up of collagen, elastin, and GAGs. Aloe vera's GAGs are what make this natural product such an impressive addition to a skin moisturiser.
- Soothing and cooling: Aloe vera is mostly used to treat sore or slightly damaged skin. This impact is caused by the plant's cooling ability. Since Aloe vera is 99.5 percent water, it helps to cool the skin and keep heat from being concentrated. This is ideal for heat-producing skin disorders or mild burns.
- Healing properties: Aloe vera can also be beneficial to the skin in terms of anti-inflammatory properties. The advantages of Aloe vera are attributed to the plant's 75 active phytochemicals. Vitamins, nutrients, carbohydrates, lipids, sugars, salicylic acids, and amino acids are examples of phytochemicals, which are natural chemical compounds formed by plants to aid in their growth and survival. In reality, Aloe vera contains 20 of the 22 amino acids needed by humans, as well as eight of the eight essential amino acids.
Aloe vera phytochemicals have been thoroughly researched for their dermatologic benefits. Aloe vera, for example, has high anti-inflammatory effects thanks to an enzyme called bradykinase.
- Antioxidant properties: Aloe barbadensis leaf extract could be able to protect your skin from free radical damage. When the skin is subjected to oxidative stress, free radicals are formed. Exposure to UV rays is the most common source of oxidative stress. Free radicals cause skin cell damage and have been attributed to an elevated risk of ageing. Because of a molecule called aloin, aloe vera can help to reduce imbalances in free radical formation. When added to the skin's surface, aloin can block up to 30% of ultraviolet rays. Furthermore, Aloe is high in vitamins C and E, which are antioxidants that shield the skin from the harmful effects of free radicals in the atmosphere, such as UV exposure, pollution, and irritating chemicals.
- Hamman J, 2008. ‘Composition and Applications of Aloe vera Leaf Gel. Molecules, vol. 13, is. 8, pp. 1599-1616.
- Hęś, M, Dziedzic, K, Górecka, D, Jędrusek-Golińska & Gujska, E, 2019. ‘Aloe vera (L.) Webb.: Natural Sources of Antioxidants – A Review’, Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, vol. 74, pp. 255-265.
- Radha, M & Laxmipriya, N, ‘Evaluation of biological properties and clinical effectiveness of Aloe vera: A systematic review’, Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, vol. 5, is. 1 pp. 21-26.