A member of the Liliaceae family, aloe vera or Aloe barbadensis has prickly, leathery leaves. Its pulp contains a wide range of active ingredients - vitamins, minerals, amino acids - which provide the moisturizing, soothing and repairing properties to aloe vera skin care products.
The Benefits of Aloe Vera Products for Skin and Hair.
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is a fatty, water-logged plant with multiple properties, from which two substances are extracted. The gel from the toothed leaves of the aloe vera plant softens the skin, heals skin lesions and, more generally, accelerates the healing process. As for the latex, it is used medicinally to treat constipation, burns and diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels. The astonishing powers of this plant explain its use in cosmetics and hygiene products.
There are many varieties of aloe. The richest in vitamins, nutrients and minerals isAloe barbadensis, more commonly known as Aloe vera. It is also the most widely used in cosmetics, although there are others (Aloe ferox, Aloe andongensis...).
The Benefits of Aloe Vera Products for the Skin.
Aloe gel has many virtues when applied to the skin.
Soothing burns and irritations: The anti-inflammatory activity of aloe vera skin care has been demonstrated by a number of scientific studies. It is known to soothe sunburns, but also certain skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disease characterized by extreme dryness and red patches often covered with small blisters. Biologically, the gel exerts its anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting certain inflammatory mediators such as prostaglandin F2, via the arachidonic acid degradation pathway, acting on cyclooxygenase.
Moisturizing the epidermis: Aloe gel contains substances known as glucomannans, which act as a moisturizing shield on the skin. Researchers have shown that when an aloe vera product 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.
Reducing wrinkles and fine lines: Studies have demonstrated aloe gel's ability to smooth out wrinkles already present on the surface of the face. However, researchers do not explain the mechanism behind this promising finding. They do indicate, however, that this effect is certainly due to the various nutrients of aloe vera products, with their astringent properties, as well as to acemannan, which stimulates the production of type I collagen, an essential fibrous protein that gives skin its firmness.
The Benefits of Aloe Vera for Hair.
Aloe vera is also a natural compound recommended for hair care, from roots to ends. Containing mostly water and hygroscopic substances, it moisturizes and strengthens hair fibers, preventing breakage and split ends. Applied directly to the roots, it cleanses the scalp. Thanks to its soothing action, it relieves irritation and itching, and purifies the scalp. Researchers have also demonstrated its effectiveness in combating seborrheic dermatitis (the scientific term for dandruff). Finally, thanks to its antioxidant content (mainly vitamins A and E), aloe gel protects hair from external aggressors (pollution, cigarettes, sunlight, etc.), limiting its deterioration.
WEINRAUB S. T. & al. Anti-inflamatory C-glycosyl chromone from aloe barbadensis. Journal of Natural Products (1996).
BITON A. & al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of an Aloe vera (A. barbadensis) emulsion in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Journal of Dermatological Treatment (1999).
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).
VAN RENSBURG & al. A comparison of the leaf gel extracts of Aloe ferox and Aloe vera in the topical treatment of atopic dermatitis in Balb/c mice. Inflammopharmacology (2015).