Think back to your first experience with aloe vera. If you (like me) were a child in the Midwest in the 80s, this probably awakens memories of neon green goo slathered on a sunburn. Luckily, aloe-based formulas have grown much more cosmetically elegant since then. Aloe forms the foundation of my Hydrate Facial Serum and acts as a supporting cast member, assisting the blend of antioxidants and humectants as they take center stage. Read on to learn why aloe is the perfect sidekick for your favorite skincare ingredients!
Aloe vera is primarily composed of water. Since water is fairly inert, it won’t cause any skin reactions or negative interactions with most active ingredients—the same holds true for aloe. However, unlike water, aloe brings more to the table. It contains polysaccharides that act as potent humectants, locking moisture into the skin for lasting hydration while still feeling light on the skin. One of the many polysaccharides found in aloe is called acemannan and provides additional anti-inflammatory benefits. More recent research also suggests that acemannan can help accelerate wound healing. These soothing, regenerative properties make aloe feel good on sunburn, cuts, scrapes, and generally irritated skin. No wonder why it’s used in so many after-sun and wound care products!
The Not-So-Sunny Side
It is possible to love aloe too much. There is one camp of thought poses such a problem. Some individuals claim aloe as a kind of miracle, capable of curing nearly any ailment. Overstating aloe’s benefits sets unrealistic expectations and does a disservice to aloe’s real assets. Additionally, many suggest that drinking aloe juice will provide enhanced benefits over topical application. Aloe ingestion hasn’t been studied extensively, so I’d suggest sticking to skincare and keeping expectations realistic.
Aloe is wonderful as part of a group, but not much of a showstopper when used on its own. You’ll see its best results when used in conjunction with other skin-friendly ingredients. Aloe makes a great vehicle for peptides and antioxidant-rich extracts. Think of it as a reliable member on a diverse team of ingredients—aloe loves to support more active ingredients and let them shine!