Aloe Based Skin Care

Courtesy of srbichara: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/srbichara
Courtesy of srbichara: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/srbichara

Aloe Based Skin Care

Aloe Vera stands out amongst the crowded market, promoting the next Superdrug for curing all ailments. Most of these wonder medicines hit the headlines and then disappear, just as quickly, when research disproves the claims. Aloe Vera has been used for thousands of years, by the Ancient Greeks and the Egyptians, amongst others, and Aloe based skin care really does work, for a variety of conditions. Most of us are aware of the cooling effect of Aloe Vera upon sunburned skin, and the vast majority of after sun lotions contain Aloe extract. This is not the only use for aloe based skin care, and western medicine is starting to uncover a wide range of uses.

As with any research into the benefits of a medicinal plant, finding the truth behind the benefits of Aloe Vera can be difficult. The results are often hidden behind vague figures and unscientific terminology, with just enough truth to entice the consumer to buy. However, a review of the peer-reviewed scientific literature shows that evidence for the benefits of aloe based skin care are not all anecdotal. The benefits of Aloe are backed up by good research, and modern medicine has embraced this old-fashioned cure wholeheartedly.

Aloe Based Skin Care – The Scientific Evidence

There have been many studies into the use of Aloe Vera for skin care, the vast majority producing positive results. A study by West and Fen Zhu, in 2003, showed that people who regularly use latex examination gloves often suffer from dry skin and other uncomfortable effects. They tested 30 women, who suffer from this condition, and gave half of the subjects gloves impregnated with Aloe; the rest wore no gloves. The results showed that the women with the aloe based gloves recovered far quicker than the control group.

Aloe Vera is rapidly making its way into mainstream medicine, and it is a stalwart of the research and treatment of many dermatological conditions. According to research by Olsen et al (2001), applying Aloe Vera gel to patients undergoing radiation therapy reduced the chances of adverse skin reactions.

Whilst research is ongoing, and there may be some isolated cases of adverse allergic reactions to Aloe Vera (Reynolds & Dweck, 1999), medication based upon the plant has been shown to help many skin conditions, from dry skin and psoriasis to severe burns and scalds. This research also pointed out the potential for Aloe for diabetes related skin conditions and the anti-biotic properties, so Aloe is widely expected to become a much more common treatment in hospitals.

Courtesy of xymonau: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/xymonau
Courtesy of xymonau: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/xymonau

Aloe Based Skin Care Products

There are many products incorporating this plant, and most are of great benefit to people suffering from dry or damaged skin. Aside from the after sun lotions on the market, aloe based skin care is available as a cleanser, for those who cannot use soap, and even as baby wipes, soothing the skin and preventing diaper rash. Even men with sensitive skin regularly use Aloe-based gel to reduce the effects of razor burn, so it is a remedy that can be used by all aspects of society.

When selecting the best Aloe based skin products, it pays to look at the ingredients list, and attempt to buy the product with the highest level of pure Aloe Vera extract. In addition, there is little point in attempting to take advantage of the benefits if you undo the good work by using a product that also contains harsh chemicals. Try to avoid products that contain alcohol or mineral oil, because these substances attack the skin, so it is false economy to buy these. Many products contain a tiny amount of Aloe extract, and use these chemicals to ‘bulk out’ the product, lowering the price, but also diluting the benefits markedly.

As noted in the literature, there is a small risk of adverse reaction to aloe based skin care, and it is important to seek out a dermatologist if you have any concerns. Otherwise, Aloe Vera can alleviate some of the worst effects of sun damage and the action of other environmental factors. Aloe based skin care is one of the health products that works, and looks set to become a part of mainstream medical care.

Aloe Based Skin Care - References

Olsen DL, Raub W Jr, Bradley C, Johnson M, Macias JL, Love V, Markoe A. (2001). The effect of Aloe Vera gel/mild soap versus mild soap alone in preventing skin reactions in patients undergoing radiation therapy.Oncol Nurs Forum. 2001 Apr;28(3):543-7. Retrieved 24th April 2009, from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11338761

Reynolds, T. Dweck, A.C. Aloe leaf gel: a review update. Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 68, Issues 1-3, 15 December 1999, Pages 3-37. doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(99)00085-9

West, D.P. Fen Zhu, Y. Evaluation of aloe vera gel gloves in the treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure. Am J Infect Control 2003;31:40-2. doi:10.1067/mic.2003.12


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