Whether or not aloe vera is good for your skin is a burning internet question. Some say it can treat topical acne and cite the plant as a miracle ingredient, while others warn that it may dry out delicate skin on the face.To put these claims to the test, I used aloe vera in my night time skincare routine for a week.
If you’re like me, you might associate aloe vera with that iconic green Banana Boat aloe gel your parents always used to soothe childhood sunburns. I never thought the same plant celebrated for calming burns could also be the secret to brighter, smoother skin.
Aloe and its possible benefits is a trending topic on community forums like Reddit. However, its actual benefits as it pertains to acne and skin care remain unclear. To discover the answer for myself, I used aloe vera in my nightly skincare routine for a week.
Step 1: Deciding between store-bought vs. fresh aloe vera
First, I hit the books. Well, not really the books. More like online research. An article from the Baylor College of Medicine cites Kim Chang, an aesthetician at the university, “[aloe vera] can help treat burns, acne and dry skin.” Interesting. I read on. The caveat is that the enzymes in aloe vera, which help to break down dead cells making skin appear smoother, can cause skin to dry out if overused. Overall, its Vitamin A, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties lead me to believe that there might be truth to the plant encouraging better skin.
Overall, I consulted medical journals, beauty sites, and community forums hoping to get a varied mix of perspectives before starting my week’s experiment. Through all of these sources, I noticed people recommended using the purest form of aloe vera: an actual leaf. In an article for Byrdie, cosmetic chemist Perry Romanowski notes, “If there is any benefit to using aloe topically, you are much more likely to get those benefits from using a treatment directly from a plant versus using a formulated product.” As a result of my research, I decided to use fresh aloe vera for my skin.
Step 2: Purchasing aloe vera at the local store
aloe vera meat
Next, I purchased fresh aloe vera. Where to purchase, you ask? Generally, you can find aloe vera leaves at your local grocery store. I easily found a leaf at my local Sprout’s for $1.99. The leaves are large, spiny, and tough with a leathery green exterior. The first step was to carefully slice open the plant and scoop out the clear membranes. I kept mine refrigerated until I used it that night.
Step 3: Applying aloe vera nightly in my skincare routine
A little note: My skin is picky to say the least. I have combination skin that has a tendency to get dry during seasonal changes, so I was a little unnerved applying the mucus like membranes of the aloe on my face. After cleansing, I grabbed one piece of the sticky aloe vera and rubbed it over my face and neck for about a minute. The aloe vera then dried, leaving a tight, face mask-like sensation on my skin. I washed it off with warm water and followed up with my nightly application of moisturizer.
I continued this regiment for the rest of the week.
After each application of aloe vera, I found my skin softer to the touch. Halfway through the week, I didn’t see visible results on my stubborn acne and red spots.
my skin, pre aloe experiment
To summarize, I found my skin to be softer and seemingly more moisturized after the week. Yay! However, I failed to see any tangible results that the aloe vera minimized my acne or pigmentation issues. In my research, I noted that it can take upwards of a week and half for some to see results. Perhaps for more persistent issues like acne and redness aloe vera has a slower action rate. The verdict? If you are looking for a natural and inexpensive way to hydrate and soften skin aloe vera is a perfect option.
my skin, post aloe experiment