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Aloe is a genus of succulent plants consisting of over 420 diverse species that are extensively used in alternative medicinal systems. The most common source of aloe-based products is Aloe barbadensis¸ popularly known as aloe vera.
The healing properties of aloe vera are concentrated in the clear gel found within its leaves and the inside skin layer known as the yellow latex. Both these plant components are used in the manufacture of various health and beauty products.
Aloe vera is one of the most sought-after ingredients for home remedies that yield hair and skin benefits. This medicinal plant has a long history of use in folk medicine for wound healing (1) and treatment of gum diseases, (2)(3) and it even works as a laxative for constipation relief. (4)(5)
Aloe Vera for Skin and Hair
The skin health benefits of aloe vera can be traced back to its rich reserve of enzymes, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C.
Its anti-inflammatory properties can help in the treatment of acne, burns, and dry skin, while its antiaging effects can delay the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. The enzymes in aloe vera act as exfoliators that help in smoothening and moisturizing the skin. (6)
On top of that, aloe vera is also considered good for your hair. It cleanses your hair, supplies nourishing vitamins to make them longer and stronger, and prevents further damage. Aloe vera may also be used as a remedy against dandruff and bacterial and fungal infections. (7)
Adverse Effects of Aloe Vera Allergy
Occasionally, the topical application of aloe vera may cause redness, stinging, and a burning sensation. Allergy to aloe vera is usually due to its anthraquinone (aloin and barbaloin) content. (8)
Before using any product containing aloe vera, do a patch test first to determine possible allergic reactions.
Individuals allergic to plants that belong to the lily family, such as onion and tulips, may experience skin irritation, cramping, hives, and diarrhea on oral and topical administration of aloe vera. (9) Do not put an aloe vera mask on open skin wounds.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, or people with appendicitis, abdominal pain, or intestinal obstruction should refrain from consuming aloe vera orally. (10)
DIY Aloe Vera Face Mask
This homemade aloe vera mask may be used to keep your face looking bright and youthful. This face mask also contains lemon juice, which is a natural bleaching agent and aids in lightening skin pigmentation. (11) Honey provides antimicrobial properties. (12)
- 2 tbsp aloe vera gel
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp organic raw honey
How to make:
- Put the aloe vera gel in a clean mixing bowl.
- Add in the lemon juice and organic raw honey into the bowl.
- Mix the ingredients well using a fork, whisk, or electric mixer.
How to use:
- Cleanse your face.
- Apply the mixture to your face using a cotton ball.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes.
- Massage your face with the mask for a couple of minutes.
- Wash your face with normal water.
Use this aloe vera face mask daily as desired.
DIY Aloe Vera Hair Mask
Most people desire smooth and shiny hair. This aloe vera hair mask may help you achieve these hair qualities. It will also protect your scalp against dandruff and bacterial and fungal infections. (7)
Although lacking scientific evidence, adding olive oil in this hair mask may help hydrate the hair, while honey locks in the moisture. Furthermore, yogurt may give shine to your locks.
- 2 tbsp aloe vera gel
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
How to make:
- Put the aloe vera gel in a clean bowl.
- Pour in the honey.
- Add the olive oil and yogurt.
- Blend the ingredients using an electric hand whisker.
How to use:
- Part your hair into multiple sections.
- Apply the mask to the hair roots down to the tips of your hair.
- Leave it on for half an hour approximately.
- Rinse your hair with water and wash it using your regular shampoo.
Use this hair mask three to four times a month for smooth and luscious hair.
- Make sure to wash the aloe vera leaves thoroughly before using them.
- To extract the gel, you can cut the leaf into large cubes instead of slicing it lengthwise. Slit the top layer of the cube to reveal the gel and peel it out.
- You may also use a spoon to scoop out the gel instead of peeling it with a knife.
- To make full use of the lemon, roll it on the countertop before squeezing, facilitating the extraction of more juice. You may juice it with your hand if you do not have a lemon squeezer.
Aloe vera gel is a highly potent ingredient with many uses. It is rich in nourishing vitamins and is an excellent moisturizing agent, making it a popular choice for skin and hair treatment.
Before using aloe, test for allergies. Only apply masks to intact skin. If you have any skin sensitivities, consult your doctor before applying an aloe-based mask.