“My mum applied Aloe vera gel on my hair, that’s why it isn’t itchy anymore. Shebi you know Aloe vera? That green long thing?”
Aloe vera is a popular medicinal and cosmetic plant — it is a succulent plant species of the genus Aloe and grows in hot, dry climates.
Aloe is used topically (applied to the skin) and orally. It is extensively used in cosmetics and beauty products. Not only does this superhero plant give you relief from sunburns, but it also helps in treating many skin conditions like eczemas, psoriasis, and cold sores. It contains anti viral and anti bacterial properties — which has the ability to treat the skin effectively.
Aloe vera secretes a clear gel that when extracted from the plant can be applied topically to soothe the skin. The gel contains moisturizing elements.
Aloe for the skin
1. It helps fight sunburn:
Aloe vera helps with sunburn through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial levels of the skin, a layer that covers the body. Aloe vera acts as a protective layer of the skin and helps replenish its moisture.
2. Aloe vera acts as a moisturiser:
Unlike the regular moisturizer, the Aloe vera gel doesn’t leave a greasy feel on the skin. Instead, it unclogs the pores and softens the skin — which makes it perfect for all skin types.
3. It fights skin ageing:
Aloe vera contains numerous antioxidants that include beta-carotene, vitamin C and E that can help improve the skin’s natural firmness and further keep it hydrated.
4. It fights acne:
Aloe vera has anti-inflammatory properties that help fight against acne-causing bacteria. In addition to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera is also a natural source of salicylic acids, which can also help with breakouts such as blackheads and whiteheads.
5. It helps fade dark spots:
Dark spots on the skin, also known as hyperpigmentation, can leave their mark for a variety of reasons. Whether from sun exposure, acne, or just the normal aging process. However, a compound called aloesin, found in the Aloe vera plant, could help lighten things up.
6. Dry skin:
When applied on the skin, the Aloe vera gel is absorbed easily, making it ideal for a dry skin because it helps to seal in moisture giving you a refreshing feel.
Check out this article on how to care for dry skin here https://federalcharacter.com/7-skin-care-tips-for-dry-skin/.
The AV gel can also be used as an aftershave treatment. It helps to keep the skin hydrated and heals burns and cuts caused by a shaving stick/razor.
How to use aloe vera for skin
1. Aloe vera gel and olive oil:
Take some aloe vera gel, olive oil and some oatmeal and mix all the ingredients in a bowl until it forms a paste. Apply the paste on the face and keep it for about 30 minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
2. Just the aloe vera gel:
Peel off the outer layer of the aloe leaf to scrape the gel out. Scoop out all the gel and gently massage it on the face. Store the rest in the refrigerator. The water content in the gel will leave your skin hydrated.
3. Aloe vera gel and lemon juice:
Take some Aloe vera gel and add lemon juice in it. Massage the solution on your face and keep it overnight. Wash it off with running water.
Aloe vera for the hair
I first learnt about Aloe Vera in High school from my friends. We usually get to talk about our skin care routine at recess.
“My mum applied Aloe vera gel on my hair, that’s why it isn’t itchy anymore. Shebi you know Aloe vera? That green long thing? — my seatmate back then told us while we were having our ‘girl talk’. It became a staple in our haircare routine after that.
I reached out to a few of my girls asking them about it, and it is refreshing to know that I am not the only one that still swears by the aloe vera gel for my hair.
Benefits of Aloe vera gel on the hair
1. Hair growth:
Like skin reproduction, Aloe vera gel helps in activating new hair growth as it increases the blood circulation to the scalp. It also provides essential minerals and vitamins. Aloe vera contains proteolytic enzymes that help repair dead skin on the scalp. So aloe vera works as a great remedy for scalp problems in women and men.
2. Keeps dandruff at bay:
Aloe Vera helps in healing dry skin, fungal infections, and excessively oily skin. All these are significant causes of dandruff. It is one of the natural ways to get rid of dandruff.
3. Acts as a conditioner to the hair and scalp:
Just as it moisturizes the skin, Aloe vera helps to condition the hair and soften it. Regularly applying Aloe gel to the hair and scalp helps to maintain the vitality of the hair and its shine.
How to make an Aloe vera hair and scalp mask
1. Get a fresh Aloe, and carefully cut in smaller pieces to extract the gel.
2. Grab the gel and apply it directly on your roots, by itself, 20 minutes before you shower. Give it a gentle rub to help it penetrate, and rinse thoroughly after 10 to 15 minutes (again, don’t leave it on for longer than 20 minutes). It is best to cut your hair into smaller sections for easier access to the scalp.