We have all heard how good aloe vera is but what exactly is it’s make up and why is it good for us and especially is it good for acne?
Aloe Vera plant extract has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and this has led to its usage in treating acne. I’m sure you have seen a lot of over the counter skin products that contain aloe vera.
Aloe vera is considered an alternative treatment, and so there are no approved guidelines about strength or dosage. It is likely that not all methods will work for everyone, but aloe vera is very gentle on the skin, so there is little risk in trying it but if you are concerned you should check with a health professional. So, Aloe Vera and Acne, how good is it? We probably need to look at a range of factors which we will go through below but the general consensus is that by itself it can probably help mild forms of acne and add it to other natural products it is a very helpful ingredient and even adding it to traditional medications as a lot of companies have can also help in the treatment of acne.
What is in an Aloe Vera Plant
We will be mainly looking at the make-up of the leaf. And it is made up of 3 layers. Hopefully it’s not too sciency!
- The inner clear layer, this contains 99% water and the rest is made up of amino acids, lipids, sterols, glucomannans and vitamins.
- The middle layer which is the bitter yellow sap and this contains anthraquinones and glycosides.
- The outer thick layer which is made up of 15-20 cells and it is commonly referred to as the rind, this has the function to synthesize carbohydrates and proteins
- Active components with it’s properties: Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active constituents: vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids.4–
Active Components and Properties
Aloe Vera has more than 70 active constituents including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, lignin, saponins, amino acids and salicylic acid.
Vitamins: Aloe Vera contains vitamins A, C and E, which are all antioxidants. It also contains vitamin B12, folic acid, and choline. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.
Minerals: Aloe provides calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc.
Enzymes: It also contains 8 enzymes: aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically.
Sugars: It provides monosaccharides (glucose and fructose) and polysaccharides: (glucomannans/polymannose).
Anthraquinones: Aloe provides 12 anthraquinones, which are phenolic compounds traditionally known as laxatives. Which may help in other areas! Aloin and emodin act as analgesics, antibacterials and antivirals.
Fatty acids: It also provides 4 plant steroids; cholesterol, campesterol, sisosterol and lupeol. All these have anti-inflammatory action and lupeol also has antiseptic and analgesic properties.
Hormones: Aloe Vera has Auxins and gibberellins and these help in wound healing and have anti-inflammatory action.
Others: It provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. It also contains salicylic acid that possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Lignin, which is an inert substance, when included in topical preparations, enhances penetrative effect of the other ingredients into the skin. Saponins that are the soapy substance have cleansing and antiseptic properties.
How Good Is It?
Crikey, that was a bit long-winded but hopefully you get the idea that this plant is full of a lot of the things that the body needs to help combat acne and help treat other skin conditions.
I am constantly astounded about the natural products that are out there and how they can help us. It may be simpler to list the items are that are in Aloe Vera and are also good for acne treatment.
Virtually all the Vitamins are helpful in treating acne.
Reduces inflammation with components like Bradykinase, Salicylic Acid, Auxins and Gibberellins.
Antibacterial components with the likes of Salicylic Acid and Saponins Lupeol Aloin and Emodin.
So, it’s good.
Would I use It
Absolutely, I am a believer in natural products but I am also a believer in giving them a hand if required with man made treatments as well. If I had nothing else and if I had acne I would be using it every day – being careful and not over doing it. But I also believe that there are a lot of natural products out there that are as just as beneficial as aloe vera in the treatment of acne.
We have listed a lot of compounds that Aloe Vera has and a lot of them help in treatment but we did not look at the amounts required and are they there in the quantities we need. I am not a chemist but if we look at all the acne treatment products out there Aloe Vera is just one ingredient and this includes in natural acne treatment products as well. Does that tell us something?
In the treatment of acne there are steps to take to give yourself the best chance of getting rid of it, and they are all virtually the same which ever way you decide to treat acne, they are;
Clean the Skin gently
Use a toner or astringent
Apply the Acne Treatment
Apply an oil free moisturizer
The only step that you could possibly skip is the use of the toner or astringent and this is because in certain situations this may aggravate your skin. Treatment of Acne is only part of the whole picture, I’m sure that if you were to skip all the steps except this one then in some cases you may see a reduction in acne but it may also not work or take a lot longer to bring it under control.
As I mentioned there are a lot of other natural products that help in acne treatment and I will put together an article that goes through them in some detail at a later date.
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