The ancient Greeks and Romans believed in it. The Mesopotamians recorded its use as a healing plant in 2100 bce. The Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality,” and presented it as a gift to deceased pharaohs. What is it? The humble aloe vera, a succulent plant that so many of us today use on cuts and burns. However, there’s far more to aloe vera’s its story than just a burn gel.
So What Can Aloe Vera Do for My Skin?
All skin types love aloe vera, and yours will too. It contains antioxidants including beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E that reduce inflammation, stimulate new cell growth and promote healing. If you’re beginning to worry about the appearance of fine lines and loss of elasticity in your skin, these antioxidants help improve the skin’s natural firmness and prevent premature aging.
Aloe vera is also a great moisturizer – it’s oil free and doesn’t clog pores, so is great for all skin types including oily skin. In Ayurvedic medicine, aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne and eczema. Aloe can also be used as a natural food flavoring, and has many health benefits. Try adding it to your next smoothie to benefit from the inside out.
Great! I Found Some in the Drug Store!
Your local drug, big box, and grocery stores are full of aloe vera products, but before you leave to stock up, let’s talk about what you may be buying along with your aloe. Mass production of aloe vera typically involves, crushing, grinding, and pressing out juice. After that, aloe is frequently heated, which changes its molecular structure and makes it less effective.
Many commercial aloe preparations may also be adulterated with dangerous chemicals and other such crap. Non-organic aloe is contaminated with pesticides, and most commerical also vera gel is packed full of harmful preservatives such as parabens. Many aloe preparations contain denatured alcohol, and although ethanol itself can be safe for skin when used with the proper complimenting ingredients, the denaturing process often involves the use of harmful chemicals. Further, these products may also contain glycerin produced with animal products or genetically modified plants. These nasty little hitchhikers will overcome any helpful qualities the aloe might have.
Eek! Where can I Find a Good Source of Aloe Vera?
One of the best ways for you to know the content of your aloe vera is to just grow it yourself! It’s an easy plant to grow, and you can find it in your local plant centers and farmers’ market. You can keep it around the house, and pinch a leaf off to squeeze out the juice when you’re in need of an aloe fix.
If you don’t have a green thumb, you can also look for organic, all-natural aloe preparations from retailers and manufacturers you can trust. Do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes nasty chemicals and ugly ingredients don’t have to be directly disclosed, as is the case with chemicals used to denature ethanol, so doing your homework is a must.
Treat yourself to the “plant of immortality” for cuts, burns and supple, younger-looking skin. You won’t be sorry!