Aloe vera has been known and used for centuries for its health, beauty, medicinal and skin care properties. Aloe vera is a natural product that is frequently used in the field of cosmetology. Two parts of Aloe vera are used for the above purpose, the gel and the latex or juice (not to be mistaken with aloe vera juice made from the gel). Aloe latex is the liquid that seeps from the leaf when it is cut, it's golden yellow in colour and bitter in taste.
Gel is the clear pulp at the innermost part of the leaf, it is the most potent part of the plant used for topical preparations. The fresh pulp is extracted and, for maximum benefit, blended with certain emollients like glycerin for hydration and natural stabilisers to help water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients stay blended together in the gel form.
Natural Aloe vera gel and Aloe vera as an ingredient in products
Natural Aloe vera gel is the odourless, clear pulp at the innermost part of the succulent leaves. This natural pulp is used as an ingredient in several formulations for topical and internal use. In products, this will be used in conjunction with a preservative, preferably of natural origin. Natural aloe vera gel is very sticky and has to be washed off after application.
Shelf life of Aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel formulated with other natural ingredients and natural preservatives, including grapefruit seed extract having a shelf life of a maximum of 12 months.
Selection of pure Aloe vera gel.
- It can be hard to differentiate based on physical characteristics- bright green/coloured ones should be avoided . originally should have a transparent appearance.
- Any Aloe vera gel which has an instant cooling effect on the skin suggests an addition of synthetic colour and alcohol, which in the long run causes dryness and harm to the skin.
- Check the key ingredient list. Aloe vera should be one of the first ingredients to be mentioned, as the list is mostly in descending order as per the quantity of the ingredients.
- Percentage of Aloe vera in the ingredients list should contain at least 15-20 per cent. Anything below that will not be effective.
- Preservatives - Choose a product with safer preservatives like ascorbic acid, TLC, potassium sorbate, etc
- Fragrances and Aroma : Avoid buying Aloe vera gel with fragrance, unless it's from natural essential oils.
- Consistency : Pure Aloe vera gel has a thin consistency - mucilaginous to liquid. Almost all companies add a thickener like seaweed, xanthan gum or a carbomer to make the consistency thicker and gel-like. Read the label to see what has been added.
How To Make Aloe Vera Gel At Home?
Take a leaf and cut off the ragged edges first. Then slide the knife right under the skin along the length of the leaf. Now, carefully with the help of a spoon, scoop out all the transparent gooey gel and collect it in a bowl. To preserve the gel for a longer period, add a few drops of grape seed extract or some essential oil.
Aloe Vera gel benefits
- Effective in treating skin conditions like
- Minor burns
- Skin injured by radiation
- Herpes sores
- Anal fissures
Also helpful in
- Wound healing - Aloe vera gel may help expedite the healing process of burns or cuts on the skin.
- Sunburn relief.
- Aloe vera gel taken orally (by mouth) seems to help
- lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- Helps to lower cholesterol.
- Digestive help Aloe latex contains aloin, which is an anthraquinone that gives aloe vera its laxative properties and may help treat constipation.
- Heartburn. Researchers found Aloe vera lessen several symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), including heartburn, belching, and vomiting.
Some home remedies.
- For hair dandruff - Combine aloe vera juice with coconut milk and wheat germ oil. Massage into the scalp and rinse.
- Skin scrub - For rougher patches make an organic salt skin scrub, using 2 cups of sea salt, 1 cup of aloe vera gel, 1 cup of organic coconut oil and 2 tbsp of organic honey.
- Get rid of dull flaky skin with an exfoliating organic sugar scrub. Mix together 2 tbsp of aloe vera gel, 2 tbsp of organic brown sugar and 1 tsp of organic lemon juice.
- Brighten skin: Aloe can decrease pigmentation and dark spots.
- Shrink warts: Soak a cotton ball in aloe vera gel and apply to the wart. Do this daily for two weeks or until you see results.
- Stretch marks: There's not a lot of clinical evidence that it heals stretch marks but aloe vera is well-known for skin softening and healing so it can't hurt.
- Prevent pesky pimples and treat acne: Apply twice a day for four weeks to see results.
- Swab over blisters for quick relief.
- Fight athlete's foot using a mixture of aloe vera and 10 or so drops of tea tree oil and lavender oil.
- Treat burns from minor mishaps in the kitchen like from grease splatters or hot utensils. Apply pure aloe vera gel to the affected area.
- For more major kitchen mishaps like a scald, mix some aloe gel and vitamin E oil into a little jar for a homemade burn healer.
Do not take aloe vera internally if you have the following conditions:
- kidney conditions
- renal disorder
- cardiac condition
- Crohn’s disease
- ulcerative colitis
- intestinal obstruction
Possible side effects of aloe vera include:
- kidney issues
- blood in the urine
- low potassium
- muscle weakness
- nausea or stomach pain
- electrolyte imbalances
Special Precautions & Warnings:
- Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Aloe -- either gel or latex -- is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. There is a report that aloe was associated with miscarriage. It might also increase the risk for birth defects. Do not take aloe by mouth if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- Diabetes - If you take aloe by mouth and you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely. Aloe Vera helps to lower the blood sugar level.
- Children: Aloe gel is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin appropriately. Aloe latex and aloe whole leaf extracts are POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in children. Children younger than 12 years-old might have stomach pain, cramps, and diarrhea.
- Do not apply topical aloe vera to deep cuts or severe burns. People allergic to garlic, onions, and tulips are more likely to be allergic to aloe.
- Interactions. If you take any drugs regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using aloe supplements. They could interact with medicines and supplements like diabetes drugs, heart drugs, laxatives, steroids, and licorice root. The oral use of aloe vera gel may also block the absorption of medicines taken at the same time.
- Aloe gel is generally considered safe when appropriately applied to the skin. It is safe when appropriate doses are taken orally. Aloe gel should be taken in a dose of 15 mL daily for up to 6 weeks.
- Taking Aloe latex or aloe whole-leaf extract orally is POSSIBLY UNSAFE at any dose. One should not confuse Aloe vera gel with Aloe vera latex. Even though it's from the same plants it has completely different properties.
Taking even 1 gram of Aloe latex for several days can be fatal. Aloe latex can cause side effects such as stomach pain and cramps. Long-term use of large amounts of Aloe latex might cause diarrhea, kidney problems, blood in the urine, low potassium, muscle weakness, weight loss, and heart disturbances.