Aloe vera is a plant with thick green leaves that grows in harsh climates with dry soil. In order to survive the unfavorable environment, the plant’s leaves need to store as much water as possible.
These water-storing ability, working together with special components called complex carbohydrates, makes aloe vera an efficient skin moisturizer. It also has a cooling and pain-relieving effect when applied to the skin.
Does aloe vera protect skin from UV?
Aloe vera can’t provide sufficient UV (ultraviolet) protection by itself. However, the plant can be used as a natural basic component for sunscreen lotion. Research shows that Aloe Vera sunscreen cosmetics were found to be as effective as other sunscreens available on the market.
Can aloe vera help with a sunburn?
Sunburn is a result of a cell-dying process called apoptosis. This process causes an immune system to produce immune cells and increase the blood flow to carry the immune cells to the damaged areas. This inflammatory process makes the burned skin areas red and painful.
Aloe vera can increase the efficacy of the inflammatory process by relieving pain, cooling and moisturizing a burned skin, and helping cells to repair.
- A 2011 study notes that Aloe vera’s efficacy was scientifically proven for all types of burn, including solar and thermal.
- A recent study found that aloin, an aloe vera compound, can minimize possible inflammation while healing.
- Aloe vera is also a natural source of antioxidants and vitamins. According to the study, aloe vera gel is able to “stimulate skin and assist in new cell growth”, which is helpful for sunburned skin.
- Alasdair Barcroft and Audun Myskja in their book “Aloe Vera: Nature’s Silent Healer” say that aloe vera can not only improve fibroblast cell structure but also accelerate the collagen production process.
Moisturizers containing aloe vera are recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology to help soothe sunburned skin. They suggest applying a moisturizer or aloe vera gel to the sunburned areas to keep the skin moisturized.
Are there side effects from using aloe vera?
Aloe vera is not likely to cause any harmful effects when applied as a sunscreen or on a sunburn. However, before applying a new cosmetic product, try it on a small skin area to make sure you’re not allergic to its components.
Other benefits from using aloe vera
In a number of recent studies, it’s been proven that aloe vera has benefits for different aspects of people’s health, including:
- Wound healing, curing damaged skin and dry hair
- Cancer and diabetes
- Osteoporosis and osteopenia disorders
- Cardiological health problems
- Reproductive health care problems
Choosing aloe vera cosmetics
The general rule is the more aloe vera, the better. Small research didn’t find a 70% after-sun aloe vera-based cream effective enough, so it may be that the best option is to use the pure gel, if available. Also, avoid cosmetic products with color or perfume additives. They can cause additional skin irritation.