Aloe Vera for Acne
About Aloe Vera
Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller) is a common succulent plant that has been used in herbal medicine throughout history. Documentation of its use dates back as far as the 16th century BC from Greece to Egypt and China. It has a number of soothing and healing properties when applied topically to skin and it can also be consumed orally. The properties mainly stem from an abundance of saponin compounds, which are effective antimicrobial agents. Today it is found in lotions and cosmetics and is used to treat an array of conditions. Recent studies are investigating its effectiveness as an acne treatment.
Aloe Vera and Acne
Acne can be caused by numerous factors that either result in the overproduction of natural skin oils or cause skin to be excessively dry, irregularly shedding dead cells. Both of these ultimately cause a buildup of bacteria. When hair follicles become clogged either by sebum (oils) or dead cells it creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive and results in acne, which is an inflammatory reaction. Hormones, certain types of medication and carbohydrate-rich foods can exacerbate acne. Aloe vera’s saponins attack the bacteria of already present acne along with a number of other active ingredients.
A study by Amar Surjushe, Resham Vasani, and D.G. Saple at the Grant Medical College in India looked at the mechanisms of the various compounds found in aloe vera and their effectiveness in a range of conditions. Glucomannan and gibberellin interact with growth factor receptors and stimulate healing, reducing scar tissue. This is helpful in treating the scarring aftermath of severe acne and helping the wounds to heal more rapidly.
A new anti-inflammatory compound called C-glucosyl chromone was also isolated from aloe vera gel, which is helpful in reducing acne swelling and inflammation. For acne caused by dry skin, mucopolysaccharides help with moisture retention. The amino acids present also tighten pores, making it more difficult for them to become clogged, which can lessen the severity of acne flare ups in some people.
Aloe vera is effective in treating and lessening already-present acne, but unfortunately it is not consistently effective in acne prevention. It is great alongside other acne medicines. A study by the Department of Dermatology at the Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences in Iran found that when used in conjunction with retinoid acne preventatives, it resulted in a well-rounded treatment also helping to decrease the irritation caused by the retinoids in addition to aiding in the healing process of the acne.
Aloe Vera Products
There is a variety of aloe vera products on the market specifically for acne treatment and others that are intended for general skin ailments like generic aloe vera gel. Choosing a product depends largely on the severity of the acne and type of breakouts.
Aloe vera acne creams often act as “spot removers” for the occasional large acne bump, relieving them quickly. There are also face washes, salts and masks for larger breakouts and treatment of scarring. Some products are applied directly to the skin and left while others are washed off.
Making Aloe Vera Gel
Making your own aloe vera gel at home is easy and cost-effective. It can be used to fight breakouts, previous scarring and also cuts and scrapes. Aloe vera plants can be purchased at any home and garden store and they are very low maintenance because they are succulents.
First, wash your hands so not to contaminate your gel then slice off one of the outer leaves of your aloe plant. Try to get a thick, fleshy leaf to make the most gel and it is also easier to work with large leaves. Peel the green skin off of one of the broad sides with a sharp knife so that you can scoop the gel out of the center with a spoon.
Next, put the gel into a blender along with 500 milligrams of powdered vitamin C and 400 IU vitamin E. Vitamins C and E will help preserve the gel and are also good for your skin as well. Once the ingredients are blended well, simply store your gel in a sterilized glass jar and apply topically to your skin as needed.
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Stay Healthy Folks 😉