Aloe vera is a common ingredient in skincare products due to its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Aside from healing burns caused by UV rays, aloe can be an effective ingredient in treating acne with its lesser-known antibacterial properties. Acne caused by bacteria are typically Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermis strains; aloe vera holds the potential to fight against both strains of bacterial acne.
Aloe is categorized as an herbal extract and is a popular choice for its naturally derived healing properties with few side effects. It is most potent and best used as 99% pure aloe. Aloe used directly from the plant is a great option to avoid additives.
Aloe Vera Healing Properties
Aloe vera gel is created from the inside of the Aloe plant’s leaves. Aloe contains over seventy-five compounds such as polysaccharides, vitamins, and enzymes that likely work together to deliver its healing properties. There are seven main properties of aloe vera which can heal acne and enhance the skin’s overall tone:
- Anti-inflammatory: Aloe can heal burns as well as skin inflammation including acne, boils, and cysts due to the enzymes it contains. It 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, while others help in the breakdown of sugars and fats.
- Antibacterial: Aloe contains salicylic acid which is an effective ingredient to treat acne by chemical exfoliation.
- Moisturizing: The mucopolysaccharides in Aloe help the skin retain moisture.
- Antioxidants: Aloe contains vitamins A, C, and E which neutralize free radicals, protecting the skin from the sun’s harsh UV rays.
- Penetration enhancement: Aloe aids in the ability of other topical products to work deeply within the pores. Lignin, an inert substance present in aloe, when included in topical preparations, enhances the penetrative effect of other ingredients into the skin.
- Wound Repair: Aloe contains hormones Auxins and gibberellins which aid in the wound healing
- Non-comedogenic: Aloe will not clog pores.
How to Use Aloe
First, test aloe product on a small patch of skin to ensure there is no sensitivity to the product. Aloe can be applied topically in the morning and at nighttime- it does not commonly interact negatively with other topical skincare ingredients. To use aloe directly from the plant, trim healthy leaves close to the stem, wash, remove sharp edges, and split the plant to reveal the interior gel. Leaves can be scooped of its contents or applied to the skin directly from the leaf.
Is Using Aloe Right for You?
With its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, aloe vera can be used in conjunction with other topical acne medications to treat acne. It cannot prevent hormonal acne, however, it works well to soothe inflamed papules and add a boost of moisture to your routine.
Since aloe works well in conjunction with other products, it can be introduced into your daily skincare routine seamlessly. Contact your dermatologist or the Ask Dr. Z page for more information regarding aloe vera and your specific skin care needs.