A guide from A to Z on Aloe Vera

While we’ve all researched the healing benefits of aloe vera after a pesky sunburn at some point in our lives, industry professionals say the ingredient is more than just soothing the skin. . Read on to learn all about the super plant, from the way it’s formulated in skin care, to its many benefits.

What is aloe vera?

According to Krupa Koestline, cosmetic chemist and founder of KKT Consultants, aloe vera – it is also known as the perennial succulent xerophyte – is a plant that develops a water-storing tissue in its leaves to survive in dry climates. . “The innermost part of the leaf is a clear, soft, moist tissue that consists of large, thin-walled cells in which water is retained in the form of viscous mucilage,” she explains. “The thick, fleshy leaves of aloe plants not only contain cell wall carbohydrates such as cellulose and hemicellulose, but also storage carbohydrates such as acetylated mannans, which are not as common.”

In a study conducted by Skin research and technology, researchers found that aloe’s ability to store water in its leaves makes it an excellent topical skin care ingredient for treating dry skin. Heather Florio, founder and CEO of aloe-based skin care brand Desert Harvest, adds that aloe has antibacterial, antifungal, antibiotic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties.

How is aloe formulated in skin care?

While we generally think of aloe vera as an ingredient that comes in the form of a thick gel, Koestline says that 90 percent of aloe vera used in modern skin care actually comes in the form of a concentrated powder. “The brands use patented technology to create such powders which contain polysaccharides standardized to meet the needs of the cosmetic application.” It is also a more sustainable way of using the plant, as it reduces the water content and reduces the carbon footprint generated by production, she explains.

Noting that Desert Harvest’s aloe vera is uniquely processed, Florio gives us a step-by-step look at how the brand formulates its aloe products. “We start by growing our aloe vera in volcanic soil, which dramatically increases the nutrient content of our aloe vera. Then we set up an initial on-site treatment of our aloe vera to preserve these nutrients before using a cold process to freeze-dry our aloe vera, as the heat would also kill all of the plant’s nutrients.

What are the benefits of aloe for skin care?

Washington, DC dermatologist Tina Alster, MD says aloe vera’s biggest skin care benefit is its ability to regenerate damaged tissue, which aids in healing, one of the main reasons it is formulated in after-sun products. “It is also very good for sensitive skin“, explains the doctor. “Aloe helps prevent scarring and tissue discoloration with its abundance of antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and the mineral zinc,” adds Florio. “It also contains compounds that can help prevent wound infections while stimulating collagen synthesis and skin regeneration, making it ideal for wearing under makeup or as an aftershave for men and women. women to help with cuts and bumps. ”

If you suffer from acne, Kally Papantoniou, dermatologist from Melville, NY, says aloe, known to be a natural, gentler alternative to salicylic acid, can help. “With its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, aloe is a good option for patients with inflamed acne lesions when applied topically. It’s lightweight and won’t clog pores. Other conditions that could find relief with topical aloe vera would be things like psoriasis. It is always important to see your dermatologist first to be sure.

How is aloe vera used?

If you can find an aloe vera plant – these are often sold in grocery stores or farmers’ markets – Dr. Alster recommends starting a DIY experiment at home. “Aloe vera can be applied to the skin directly from the plant. Use a mortar and pestle and you can create a soothing and cooling face mask or you can use it to relieve sunburn. While the doctor says it can be used daily on the skin, she explains that aloe vera is not a substitute for active ingredients such as vitamin C or retinol. “Aloe vera is best when included in active products for its calming effects to counter any irritation or sensitivity. If you’d rather buy a product that already contains aloe, it can be applied anywhere the skin is irritated, or just to keep the skin hydrated and healthy.

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