The Alternative Daily
Aloe plants were a familiar part of my household growing up — being a family of outdoor enthusiasts meant that we spent a lot of time exploring nature. Spending so much time outdoors unfortunately meant that we also experienced a sunburn or two.
It wasn’t uncommon for us to camp two to three weeks at a time — from the red sandy shores of Prince Edward Island, to the bustling coast of Myrtle Beach, my mom was always prepared. Of course, we couldn’t take our houseplants with us, but we had aloe vera gel with us wherever we went.
Whether you experience a burn from the sun or your oven, aloe vera is well known for its cooling and healing properties. Although it’s a great after-sun and burn remedy, its benefits do not stop there. These three home remedies utilize aloe vera in ways you may not have known about — it’s time to invest in an aloe plant of your own.
1. Treat acne
We often associate acne with pimples, which tend to break out at the most inconvenient times. In fact, acne is inflammation of the skin. There are many factors that play a role in the development of acne, including stress, diet, hormonal imbalances, and hygiene. But one thing is for certain, aloe vera can help.
When using the gel from an aloe vera plant, you are offering your skin anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial benefits. Acting as an astringent, aloe vera also helps purify blood and stimulate new cell growth. This has been reported in a number of studies, including one which showed the synergistic effect of aloe vera on clove basil (Ocimum gratissimum) oil in the treatment of acne.
2. Alleviate gum disease
Aloe vera has the ability to heal tissue, including your gums. Once again, based on its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and healing properties, it is able to improve oral health. Within a study, published in the Journal of the Indian Society of Periodontology, it was found that aloe vera gel can improve periodontitis — a serious gum infection that causes swollen, red and tender gums.
Researchers stated that aloe vera significantly reduced pocket depth and symptoms of gingivitis, in comparison to controls. Simply massage your gums with fresh aloe, leave it on for 30 minutes, then rinse. You can also swish with a homemade aloe vera mouthwash — combine one cup of aloe vera juice with half a cup of distilled water and 10 drops of peppermint essential oil.
3. Heal blisters and frostbite
When your skin becomes injured or wounded, you increase your risk of infections and other more serious complications. Although we think of aloe vera as a way to heal sunburn, it can also address blisters and frostbite. When applied topically, aloe vera will prevent further tissue damage.
This succulent plant contains a compound known as glucomannan, which stimulates cellular growth and improves collagen production. In turn, accelerated healing is experienced. Not only does it reduce swelling and redness, but aloe vera also offers hydrating properties — promoting more rapid healing while reducing the risk of infection.
Make your own aloe vera acne facial mask
Not only will this easy DIY facial mask target acne, it will also naturally brighten your skin. With regular use, this mask can help reduce the appearance of acne scars.
The recipe below is for one mask. If you would prefer to make a larger batch, simply increase the increments accordingly. When stored in the fridge, fresh aloe will keep for approximately one week.
- A large aloe vera stem
- ¼ tsp of lemon juice — if you have sensitive skin, reduce to 2–3 drops (prevents acne and lessens the look of acne-related scarring)
- ½ tsp raw honey (offers natural antibacterial and probiotic properties)
- Cut a large leaf at the plant’s base.
- Squeeze out the juice over a bowl, extracting as much juice as possible.
- Place the leaf on a cutting board, removing the cactus-like edges.
- Slice down the center and remove all of the gel, adding it to the juice.
- Mash thoroughly, combining the lemon juice and raw honey.
- Apply to the face and neck, massaging into the skin — allow to sit for 15 minutes before rinsing.
- Continue three times weekly.