Aloe Vera has long been used for all types of skin irritations. As a natural botanical, it has many widely known skin-soothing properties. With everything from hydrating to antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, using Aloe Vera for sunburn, minor cuts, or dry skin is a no-brainer; but does Aloe Vera gel do anything to help with acne?
What is Acne?
Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin that occurs in nearly all teenagers and may continue into adulthood. How it occurs in another story. Human skin is literally covered in hundreds of thousands of pores, microscopic hair follicles that sometimes overproduce cells and become blocked. Acne happens when one of these skin pores gets clogged, causing skin oil to build up within the pore. Once a pore is clogged, bacteria begin to form and feed on the skin oil, and then begin to multiply.
The clogged pores which develop into acne can either be non-inflammatory or inflammatory.
Non-Inflammatory – Whiteheads and blackheads are examples of non-inflammatory acne.
Inflammatory – Papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts that spread across the face, neck, back, and chest. These are swollen and often more painful or irritating than non-inflammatory acne
How Can Aloe Vera Benefit Acne?
Exactly what Aloe Vera is helps in explaining its benefits in the treatment of acne. The gel found in the leaves of the succulent plant is filled with active components that help fight acne. Aloe Vera contains over 75 active constituents—vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids—that provide a host of benefits for skin:
- Anti-inflammatory action
- Antiviral properties
Some of the most important compounds Aloe Vera contains that affect acne are:
Amino acids play a significant role in maintaining healthy skin and repairing skin damage. Aloe vera has 7 of the 8 essential amino acids, and provides 20 of the 22 amino acids that are required by humans.
Salicylic acid has natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can treat acne.
The lignin, when mixed with other topical acne preparations, enhances the effects of the other ingredients.
The saponins in Aloe Vera have cleansing and antiseptic properties to fight the root cause of acne breakouts.
The prime benefits of applying Aloe vera on those swollen, irritated red pimples are first, it can act to immediately help to reduce swelling, and relieve the tenderness and pain. Secondly, Aloe has wound healing effects that can aid in healing open acne blemishes.
How To Use Aloe Vera for Acne Breakouts
1. Find the right type of Aloe to use
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure you are using the right type of Aloe gel to benefit your acne! Using the wrong type can leave you with little to no results.
- Raw – If using raw whole leaf aloe, make sure that it is Aloe Vera and not any other succulent species.
- Gel Products – There are dozens of options out there, but it is important to use a quality and reputable Aloe Vera gel that is made with pure Aloe Vera and free from alcohol or other chemical additives that can irritate skin.
2. Thoroughly clean and dry face
Once you have the right type of Aloe to use, the next step is to thoroughly wash the affected areas of your face with an antibacterial soap. Rinse off and pat dry with a clean towel. Never use the same towel to dry yourself. It can spread bacteria and cause additional acne.
3. Apply Aloe gel to affected areas
Once clean and dry, apply Aloe gel to the areas of your face that are experiencing breakouts. If you suffer from dry or irritated skin, apply the gel all over to aid in hydration. Being natural and chemical-free, there is no danger of using too much Aloe gel!
Note: If you are taking traditional acne medications such as tretinoin cream, one recent study found that combining the gel with the cream will help to reduce acne lesions in people with mild to moderate breakouts.
Aloe itself will not ‘cure’ acne, but it does work to provide relief from any pain, help reduce swelling, and aid in healing blemishes that can cause scarring. Make a habit of applying the gel at night before bedtime. That gives plenty of time for the healing properties of the gel to act in reducing inflammation caused by acne. Allow the aloe gel to dry before going to bed. Use the gel on a regular basis as a safe and natural way to help fight acne!