Aloe vera is one of about 400 species of aloe, a succulent plant grown in the Caribbean, South Africa and South America, and is a common houseplant in the United States and other countries. It has been used for thousands of years to soothe skin conditions, minor burns and minor wounds.
Aloe vera for treating or preventing scars
Aloe vera may be purchased in a variety of topical forms, including lotions, creams, ointments, soaps, and gels. Clean the skin thoroughly, and use as directed on the package, applying to the injured area or to acne before scarring begins.
You may also use pure aloe by cutting the tip off an aloe plant and rubbing the gel directly on the skin, or by scooping out the slimy inside of the plant and pureeing in the blender, then applying to the skin. To harvest fresh aloe:
- Remove a whole aloe leaf from the plant. Take an outer leaf and remove it as near the trunk as possible.
- Cut a slit down the middle and allow the yellow latex to drain. The latex has other uses but is not good for irritated skin and might cause inflammation in some people.
- If you want to use the aloe immediately, use a serrated knife to remove the thick skin. This will take some practice but after a few tries you will be able to remove the skin and end up with a nice thick piece of gel. and rinse the gel under cold water.
- If you are using aloe arborescens, it is not necessary to drain the leaves. You can open the leaf and apply the gel directly.
- Cut a piece of the gel and apply it directly to the skin as needed, avoiding the eyes..
- The gel will keep for about a week if stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Why It Works
Aloe vera has been shown to speed the growth of new cells and aid in the healing process, although there is no consensus on the reason. It may be because of anti-inflammatory properties, because of the blend of vitamins and minerals in the plant, or simply because of its moisturizing quality. Regardless, when a wound, burn, or acne heals quickly and cleanly, it is less likely to leave a scar. Aloe has not been consistently shown, however, to significantly reduce the appearance of old scars.
Aloe should only be used on minor burns, acne, or skin irritations, and should not be applied to deep or open wounds. In rare cases an allergic reaction may occur, resulting in a skin rash. Please consult a doctor if you have scars that bleed or produce any type of discharge.