The powerhouse plant that benefits your skin

Aloe’s ability to soothe sunburn has become so legendary that bottles of aloe gel have become a crucial beach accessory. But if you reserve the use of this succulent plant to simply one season, then you miss out on the benefits aloe can bring to your skin throughout the year.

Sliced aloe vera |

Photo credit: Joe Biafore / iStock / 360 / Getty Images

Why use aloe?

Loaded with more than 200 active components, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharides, fatty acids and more, aloe is clinically proven to benefit the body. It has an excellent ability to promote the regeneration of skin cells, making it ideal in the treatment of conditions like eczema and acne.

It is an effective anti-inflammatory and can, therefore, address inflammation-based skin issues, including visible skin aging. Aloe contains a high magnesium content and aspirin-like compounds, which help it to alleviate the discomfort of dry skin. And unlike water, aloe can penetrate skin tissue, which ensures that its active components reach the site of skin healing.

Yes, there’s a trick to shopping for aloe…

Put aloe to work for your skin by looking for skin care products that include a high concentration of the ingredient. Aloe will be the first ingredient listed on the label. Additionally, be sure the product you select not only uses aloe but a high quality of aloe, because the plant contains components that are considered impurities that might cause irritation for some individuals. Like many skin care ingredients, aloe is available in a variety of grades, with pharmaceutical-grade being of the highest quality and purity. If the product contains high-grade aloe, it will most likely be stated on the label.

While the gel from a raw aloe leaf is often touted as a superior home skin therapy, its unpurified state means irritation could occur in highly sensitive individuals. Therefore, if you choose to treat dry, cracked hands with fresh aloe gel, do so cautiously until you know how your skin will respond. Your best bet, however, may be to skip the hassle and instead turn to an aloe-rich hand lotion.

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