By Manna Zel
When I reached for a hot pan too soon and burned my fingertips, my roommate immediately ran to the kitchen to make sure I coat the affected area in aloe vera gel. Luckily, an impulse buy (now a justified one) meant I had a bottle of aloe vera lying around in a drawer somewhere, so I applied and reapplied the gel throughout the day— three times, as instructed by the Internet. The discomfort lessened, my fingers began to lose their redness, and my bottle of aloe vera gel went from the bottom of a drawer to its rightful place on my top shelf.
Found in the leaves of an aloe plant, aloe vera is a topical gel that soothes and moisturizes the skin. If you’re wondering why everyone seems to love aloe vera, it might have something to do with the composition of the leaf: the inner layer is made up of 99.5% water. The remaining 0.5% comprises a range of chemical compounds—vitamins, minerals, enzymes, polysaccharides, and organic acids—that have many benefits for the skin.
Known as an anti-inflammatory skin-soother, aloe is so hydrating that it helps calm dryness, itchiness, and inflammation associated with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. But its benefits are even better when used alongside other hydrating products in your routine. When applied topically, aloe vera gel helps cool, hydrate, and help your skin heal from scrapes, cuts, or minor burns (like mine—especially when I layer it with the Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream).
Regular use of aloe vera helps prevent transepidermal water loss in the skin, which happens when your skin loses water through a natural process and appears dry, dehydrated, and inflamed. By boosting collagen and locking in moisture, aloe vera softens skin and helps to reduce the size of pores, wrinkles, and fine lines. Aloe vera helps soothe and protect irritated skin after sun exposure and radiation damage, but it doesn’t look after your skin the way sun protection preventatively does. Nothing replaces a broad spectrum SPF!
Whether you try it straight from the leaves of an aloe plant or in some of your Youth To The People faves, including the Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream, aloe vera is gentle enough to be a part of your everyday routine to decrease inflammation and achieve your skincare goals. It’s a highly beneficial ingredient to keep in stock at home.