Trusted and used by people around the world, aloe vera, undoubtedly is that one household staple that everyone swears by. And why not; this miracle ingredient has saved us from countless skin and hair problems, including those pesky pimples and acne spots, rashes, minor burns, dry patches, hair fall, damaged hair and what not! This short-stemmed succulent is an evergreen perennial shrub that grows naturally in dry and tropical climates across continents in Asia, Africa, Europe and the rest of the world.
Interestingly, this beneficial plant was dubbed as ‘plant of immortality’ by the Egyptians many centuries ago because it flourishes even in the most unpredictable climates without soil.
- Anatomy of The Aloe Vera Plant
- Benefits of Aloe Vera For Skin
- Benefits of Aloe Vera for Hair
- What Happens When Aloe Vera is Consumed Orally?
Anatomy of The Aloe Vera Plant
A typical aloe vera plant has three parts, including its outer skin, the gel inside and the latex. While the gel has a thick, viscous and transparent texture, the latex looks like a yellow pulp found between the rind of the leaf and the clear gel. The latex contains laxative compounds such as aloin, which is deemed highly risky for oral consumption, leading to serious side effects for the body.
Of course, the aloe vera gel, on the contrary, is widely used for its skin and hair care benefits and in some cases, it can be consumed orally as well and is often available in the form of aloe vera juice at market counters. But as always, consult your doctor before oral intake of aloe gel. But, when talking about aloe vera’s topical usage and medicinal properties, it comes as no surprise that the beauty industry has made it one of the superheroes of the skincare world, and rightly so. Suffice it to say, aloe vera gel is a trove of skin and hair benefits and we list it all out below.
Benefits of Aloe Vera For Skin
Aloe vera gel contains skin-friendly antioxidants that work effectively to hinder the development of bad bacteria known to cause skin infections. A go-to remedy for many people, thanks to aloe gel being antibacterial and antiseptic, it also helps in healing skin problems like rashes, minor cuts or burns.
Full of plant nutrients
The bright green skin (leaf) of the aloe vera plant is made up of a kind of tissue that contains water, which gives the aloe leaves its thick and plump exterior. And, this slimy tissue is called the aloe gel. It is known to carry a number of bioactive compounds, including antioxidants, minerals, vitamins A, B, C and E and amino acids, making it a go-to for various remedial benefits.
While it is a universal fact that aloe vera gel aids in deeply moisturising the skin, it is interesting to note that it moisturises in two ways. First, the aloe vera leaf is a rich source of water that boosts hydration in the skin. Second, aloe vera carries in it mucopolysaccharides, a plant sugar that doubles up moisture levels in the skin and helps to retain it for a long time. This quality works well across skin types, be it dry, dehydrated, oily or sensitive. People commonly use aloe gel in face masks or combine it with essential oils or use it in its natural form to instantly infuse hydration and moisture in the skin.
The usual signs of eczema are cracked skin, rashes or inflammation caused due to a weak skin barrier. Aloe vera can potentially aid in this skin concern by reducing the irritation and soothing inflamed patches on skin. Not to forget, aloe gel is also loaded with antiseptic properties, which could help in keeping bacteria and fungal infections at bay.
Heals sunburns and dark spots
Aloe vera contains a concoction of antioxidants, and a few such vitamins and proteins help in healing sunburns, tan and dark spots. According to studies, aloe plants contain aloin, a compound known to have anti-inflammatory benefits that works well on skin, along with hydrating and cooling it. Aloe vera also has metallothionein, which most likely protects the skin from damaging sun rays. Spots that convert into hyperpigmentation on the skin due to various hormonal or environmental reasons can be treated, too, thanks to aloin derived from aloe vera. It is known for its skin lightening and wound-healing properties.
Benefits of Aloe Vera for Hair
Medically, scalp dandruff is known as a form of seborrheic dermatitis, which often leads to a string of other skin problems like itchiness and flakiness. In this case, aloe vera is considered a natural source of treatment as it moisturises the scalp and relieves dryness and excessive flaking. It also contains zinc, which is popular for its dandruff-healing benefits. Plus, the root cause of dandruff is often the overgrowth of a specific kind of yeast that attacks areas with sebaceous glands like the scalp. Hence, aloe vera gel with its anti-microbial power also combats the growth of yeast and ensures dandruff stays away from the scalp.
Minimises hair fall
Aloe vera gel may also help in decreasing hair fall and promoting hair growth. Being loaded with vitamins and minerals, when applied topically on the hair and scalp, aloe vera gel actively boosts new growth of hair follicles, along with increasing blood circulation. People commonly use aloe vera in hair masks to strengthen their tresses, revive thinning hair and get rid of a dry scalp that is generally the number one cause of hair fall.
With vitamins A, C and E in it, aloe vera gel makes for a perfect remedy against dry and dehydrated hair. Loss of moisture can often lead to weakening of hair shafts, and result in them becoming brittle and lacklustre. It could be due to various reasons such as heat styling, humid atmosphere and even sun exposure. Using aloe vera gel not only infuses the tresses with hydration, but also helps to retain the moisture for a long time and binds the cuticles together to make them look smooth, sleek and lustrous.
What Happens When Aloe Vera is Consumed Orally?
Now that you have gained clarity on how this therapeutic plant can shield your skin and hair from numerous damages, it must be noted that aloe vera has been gaining ground for its oral benefits as well.
Lowers blood sugar levels
Although this fact requires better research, it is said that aloe vera may help in improving blood sugar levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity in the human body. But, people with blood sugar and diabetic problems should always consult their doctors before consuming aloe vera orally.
Aside from aloe vera gel, the latex of the aloe plant may also help to treat constipation. The sticky yellow latex is known to have laxative compounds of aloin that aid in improving bowel movements as well as issues of anus fissures and piles. However, the aloe latex could also backfire and cause severe stomach cramps or liver damage when used for an unregulated long time. So, it is crucial to consult your doctor before consuming any part of the aloe vera plant or its supplements orally.
Helps with weight loss
You may have seen aloe vera as one of the supporting ingredients in weight loss drinks, juices or supplements. According to a few reports, aloe vera may provide some benefits to your diet and help with weight loss as it could potentially help with boosting the metabolism function. It contains enzymes, amino acids, minerals and vitamins that help in burning body fat and convert it into energy, making your system healthier.
Written by Pratishtha Rana on Feb 22, 2022
Pratishtha is a writer driven by curiosity. With over two years of experience in journalism, her toes are dipped in the exciting world of beauty, fashion, food, travel and luxury. Trust her words to help you navigate the do’s and don’ts of all that’s trending online (and offline). A lover of minimal aesthetics, she’s also big on experimenting with colours and prints, and often finds herself power-dressing even for a quick grocery run. When not at work, she’s reading a book, learning Korean, binging on K-Dramas and kimchi ramyeon or just karaoke-ing her hours away.