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Aloe Vera: Moisturizer for Skin and Hair.

Aloe Vera: Moisturizer for Skin and Hair.

Aloe vera is an oily, water-rich plant that has been used for thousands of years for its beneficial effects. Its pungent leaves contain a gel with moisturizing properties, renowned for skin and hair care.

Published January 14, 2022, updated on March 12, 2024, by Maylis, Chemical Engineer — 4 min read

Aloe Vera, Briefly Explained.

Aloe vera or Aloe barbadensis is an oily plant belonging to the Liliaceae family that grows in dry, tropical climates. Its prickly, leathery leaves are waterlogged, enabling it to survive in arid conditions. It has been cultivated and used for over 5,000 years by various great civilizations, notably for cosmetic purposes. Ancient traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, followed by Greek, Egyptian and African medicine, have all used this plant to treat and protect the skin. According to legend, even Cleopatra used aloe vera gel moisturizer regularly to enhance her beauty.

The gel rich in polysaccharides, vitamins, trace elements, enzymes and amino acids is extracted from the leaves by mechanical pressure. In cosmetics, this natural substance is recognized for its moisturizing, soothing and even smoothing properties to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Aloe Vera as Moisturizer for Skin.

Poorly moisturized skin becomes fragile and more prone to irritation and tightness. It can also lead to the appearance of fine dehydration lines, particularly around the eyes, where the skin is thinner than on the rest of the face. To avoid this, daily moisturizing is essential, whatever your skin type (even oily skin needs moisturizing).

Several studies have demonstrated the moisturizing properties of aloe vera gel moisturizer for skin. It acts on two levels:

  • It retains water molecules in the skin through a humectant mechanism.

This humectant effect is linked to aloe vera's composition, rich in mono- and polysaccharide hygroscopes and amino acids (histidine, serine, arginine, threonine, glycine), which enhance water retention in the epidermis. In other words, aloe vera gel, thanks to its composition of hydrophilic species, captures and retains water molecules, guaranteeing good skin hydration.

  • It forms a film on the skin's surface, limiting water evaporation.

Aloe vera skin care contains substances called glucomannans, which act like a moisturizing shield on the skin. Researchers have shown that when aloe vera gel is applied to the skin, the long-chain mucopolysaccharides polymerize to form a thin, semi-permeable film that produces a moisturizing effect and limits insensible water loss.

Note: As most of the compounds present in the gel are hydrophilic, it remains on the skin's surface when applied topically. This is because the barrier function of the stratum corneum and its composition of non-viable cells rich in proteins and intracellular lipid domains prevent it from penetrating deep into the skin.

Aloe Vera for Hair.

It is essential to provide hair with the moisture it needs on a daily basis. Poorly or insufficiently moisturized hair tends to become dry, split ends appear and break easily.

Aloe vera gel contains mainly water and hygroscopic substances such as polysaccharides (mannose-6-phosphate, aloeverose, acemannan). These long-chain sugar molecules contain hydroxyl groups (-OH) that create a hydrophilic environment. The gel thus retains water molecules, limiting their natural evaporation. It also forms a protective film on the surface of hair fibers to maintain hydration and combat dryness.


  • DAL'BELO S. E. & al. Moisturizing effect of cosmetic formulations containing Aloe vera extract in different concentrations assessed by skin bioengineering techniques, Skin Research and Technology (2006).

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


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