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Le gel d'aloe pour soulager les brûlures ?

Aloe Vera for Burns: Is the Application Recommendable?

The gel extracted from aloe vera has a cooling texture and is often used to relieve sunburn. But is it recommendable to use aloe vera gel for burns of other types? Let's find out together if the properties of this plant allow it to play a role in the healing of these wounds.

Summary
Published March 12, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 7 min read

What Do We Mean by “Burns”?

A burn is a lesion of the skin caused by exposure to intense heat, contact with a chemical agent, radiation, or electricity. They can be responsible for the appearance of redness, blisters, and cause swelling of the tissues and dehydration to a greater or lesser extent. Rinsing the wound with cold water is the first thing to do. Whatever severity of the burn, an appropriate treatment is necessary.

Following a burn, the skin can no longer fulfill its role as a protective barrier and is more prone to infection.

There are three levels of severity and symptoms:

  • First degree burns: In a first degree burn, only the epidermis is affected. There is then vasodilatation and increase in the diameter of the blood capillaries. This vasodilatation causes the passage of liquids from the blood vessels to the tissues, which can cause local edema (swelling of the skin), without blister formation. The skin is red and slightly painful. Itching may also be felt. For example, sunburns are first degree burns.

  • Second degree burns: The dermis is affected. A liquid exit of vascular origin is observed and leads to the formation of a bubble. It develops at the epidermis-dermis interface and forms a blister. The blood vessels are dilated but not damaged. The skin is red, swollen, oozing and painful.

  • Third degree burns: The skin is black or whitish. The burned area is insensitive, but the periphery may be painful. The skin is burned deeply, sometimes to the hypodermis. Blood vessels and nerve endings are destroyed.

Overview of Aloe Vera.

Aloe vera is a member of the Asphodelaceae family. Originally found in the Middle East, it was known by the Arabs as the “desert flower”. In ancient times, aloe vera was used to heal wounds, skin conditions and prevent hair loss. Its medicinal virtues have survived the centuries and Christopher Columbus is said to have said: “Everything is fine: we have aloe on board”. Today, aloe vera is still used in alternative medicine throughout the world.

This fatty plant, rich in minerals and vitamins, has thick, fleshy, thorny leaves. These contain the thick and transparent aloe vera gel. This ingredient with multiple benefits is obtained by mechanically pressing the plant's leaves. The aloe vera gel is composed of 99% water and the rest concentrates an impressive amount of nutrients, including minerals, vitamins, and enzymes.

Aloe Vera Gel for Burns?

Aloe vera “burn” gel can only be used to relieve first degree burns. The use of aloe vera for burns of higher degrees is not recommended. The severity of these burns is too important, and it is then necessary to consult a doctor.

Various studies have highlighted several properties of aloe vera gel that allow it to accelerate and relieve scarring:

  • The aloe vera gel has an anti-inflammatory action: the application of a care containing this active ingredient makes it possible to relieve the pain, and to reduce irritations and itching. It also has analgesic and soothing effects. Aloe vera gel is able to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and interleukin-6 (IL-6). TNF-α is targeted by certain flavonoids, such as quercetin and kaempferol, contained in aloe vera gel and its activity is thus decreased.

  • Aloe vera gel also has healing properties. A recent study showed that glucomannan, a polysaccharide contained in aloe gel, would act on TGF-β1, the growth factor of fibroblasts. The production activity of collagen and elastin is then increased. These molecules belong to the extracellular matrix and are both involved in maintaining the structure of the skin and keeping it healthy.

  • In addition, aloe vera gel contains several amino acids and hygroscopic polysaccharides that give it moisturizing properties for the skin. This composition allows the botanical extract to limit the evaporation of water on the surface of the epidermis. The hydration of the skin following a burn is essential to enable him to find its elasticity and to limit the feelings of tightness.

  • Finally, the pleasant and refreshing texture of aloe vera gel helps to soothe the skin and relieve certain irritations and pains.

It is however important to note that the studies quoted were not carried out on burns but on other types of wounds. The properties of aloe vera for burns presented here have not been directly demonstrated.

Sources

  • PATUMRAJ S. & al. Therapeutic effects of Aloe vera on cutaneous microcirculation and wound healing in second degree burn model in rats. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand (2000).

  • PATUMRAJ S. & al. Effects of Aloe vera on leukocyte adhesion and TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels in burn wounded rats. Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation (2003).

  • SAPLE D. G. & al. Aloe vera : a short review. Indian Journal of Dermatology (2008).

  • Thèse de Margaux ROULLIER. Le gel d’aloe vera en usage topique et ses vertus cicatrisantes (2015).

  • LOIS C. & al. Formulation of Aloe juice (Aloe vera(L) Burm.f.) sheet maskas anti-aging. Pharmaceutical Technology (2016).

  • BISWAS S. & al. Aloe Vera as an antagonist for TNF-alpha: in silico study. International Journal of Innovative Science and Research Technology (2019).

  • LI J. & al. Aloe vera: A medicinal plant used in skin wound healing. Tissue Engineering (2021).

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