Known to the ancient Egyptians as the “plant of immortality”, there’s a good reason why aloe vera (a cactus plant of the Liliaceae family) has been used for centuries for skin care, healing and medicinal purposes.
Legendary Egyptian Queens Cleopatra and Nefertiti believed that bathing in aloe vera would enhance and prolong their beauty. As they were renowned as great beauties, there might be something to this.
Alexander the Great used aloe vera as a healing solution for wounded soldiers on the battlefield. In early modern medicine, the aloe gel was used to soothe the skin of patients burned by primitive X-ray machines. Ouch.
Since then, its uses have become more targeted and medicinal. When aloe gel is applied topically it helps heal wounds and it’s now one of the leading therapies for soothing sunburned skin. Applied directly to a wound, the anthraquinones found in the gel of the plant have an anaesthetic effect, whilst it’s medicinal properties fight off bacteria, help dilate capillaries and increase blood flow to promote healing, besides helping to relieve pain and itching.
Modern day miracle
Those ancient Egyptians were really onto something. The plant of immortality is certainly living up to its reputation.
According to the Mayo Clinic, aloe vera is also thought to be useful for more than treating burns. It also is used for treating minor skin infections, cysts, diabetes and elevated blood lipids in humans. Research results also show aloe vera has great promise as an anti-inflammatory and in treating conditions such as eczema, genital herpes, dandruff, psoriasis, canker sores and skin ulcers.
Other studies into the benefits of the aloe vera plant have found that it is effective in treating a variety of skin conditions – from flaky or dry skin, to hair and scalp problems. It’s also thought to help hair regrowth when the gel is rubbed into the scalp.
Yay, bring on the aloe vera! I’m going to give that a try. As someone who has lived with Crohn’s Disease since I was 20, my hair falls out by the handfuls when I’m sick with a flare up. Unfortunately, the medications to prevent a flare up also affect my hair – one makes my hair fall out, the other stops my hair from regrowing.
Skincare’s not so secret weapon
There’s a very good reason aloe vera is now being used in organic skin care products, replacing plain water as base for hydration. It’s a natural source of Vitamins A and B, folic acid, enzymes, proteins, amino acids, and good fatty acids and triglycerides.
Once natural aloe vera gel has been applied to and dried on the surface of the skin, it provides a protective barrier that helps keep moisture locked in. Its cooling effects may reduce acne inflammation and assist in healing, removing redness and soothing dry or angry skin.
Here are 4 benefits of using aloe vera-based beauty products in your skin care routine:
1. It acts as a moisturizer.
Aloe moisturises the skin without feeling heavy or greasy, so it`s perfect for anyone with an oily skin complexion. For women who use mineral-based make-up, aloe vera acts as a moisturizer and prevents skin drying.
2. It’s a natural treatment for acne.
Aloe vera contains two hormones: Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones provide wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin inflammation. Giberellin acts as a growth hormone stimulating the growth of new cells. It helps the skin to heal quickly and naturally with minimal scarring. Aloe gel is soothing and can reduce skin inflammations, blistering and itchiness. In Ayurvedic medicine, aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis and eczema.
3. It fights ageing.
As we age and our skin loses its elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles start creeping up on us. Aloes contain a plethora of antioxidants including beta carotene, vitamins C and E that can help improve the skin’s natural firmness and keep the skin hydrated.
4. It lessens the visibility of stretch marks.
When the skin stretches too far or too fast (due to pregnancy, rapid weight gain or weight loss), its elasticity is damaged, minor tears are formed in the skin’s layers and cause stretch marks. Aloe vera can help reduce the severity these stretch marks by healing these wounds.
So, where can I get wrapped head to toe in this little miracle?
At the Eforea Spa at the Hilton Aruba. The spa offers aloe sun relief wrap, aloe vera rum and hot stone massage, and an aloe body scrub.
Apparently, my skin will retain moisture better than ever after these treatments and any dryness or redness I might’ve gotten from hanging by the beach will be quickly remedied.
Aruban aloe is rich in vitamins and bioactive compounds that hydrate, put a protective barrier on the skin and prevents TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss.). Aruba’s desert-like environment intensifies the aloe plant’s natural healing qualities and produces the world’s most potent aloe vera gel rich in vitamins A, B, C, D and E as well as minerals like magnesium, potassium and zinc.
I’m convinced, so I’m off to check out flights. But where exactly is Aruba, anyway?