Amazing Uses For Aloe Vera In Your Beauty Routine

If you live in a hot part of the country, chances are you'll have seen a succulent plant with triangular leaves and spikes that line up on two sides of the triangle's base. And if you get a chance and you've got the space, you may want to give that plant a good home because that succulent, known as aloe vera, is one of nature's many gifts that keep on giving.

Aloe vera — as in raw plant or gel form — has mostly been used as a doctor-approved way of treating sunburns. "Aloe vera contains sugars that play a role in collagen synthesis and contribute to wound healing," dermatologist Shari Lipner tells Prevention. Researchers say that one of those sugars, acemannan, is seen to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which can speed up healing of skin issues (via NCBI). Prevention also says acemannan also treats dryness resulting from too much sun exposure.

But aloe vera has the potential to do so much more than that.

Aloe vera is one of nature's most potent beauty treatments

Cosmetic dermatologist Noelani Gonzalez tells Prevention that inside of aloe vera's plump leaf is a gel that contains a host of nutrients including vitamins C and E, as well as antioxidants which, when applied onto your skin, can help keep it softer, smoother, and healthier. Gonzalez says that because aloe vera is gentle and has moisturizing properties, its gel also makes a great makeup remover.

Because aloe is a vitamin-loaded succulent, it also makes a good serum, esthetician Renee Rouleau tells ELLE. "Since aloe from the plant has a high water content, you'll want to use it as you would a skin serum. Apply it to the face after cleansing and then follow with a moisturizer. A moisturizer will contain oil and occlusives that will ensure the aloe underneath will absorb into the skin."

Other aloe vera-based beauty treatments

Ever thought of using aloe vera makes as a body scrub? Prevention suggests mixing half a cup of sugar or oatmeal to the gel to make the moisture a bit gritty, then rub it on the bits of your body that need softening. If you want to use aloe to exfoliate your face, mix aloe with olive oil and brown sugar. As an added bonus, aloe vera has salicylic acid, which helps your body deal with dead skin.

Your hair may even benefit from an aloe treatment. As a natural treatment for greasy hair, Prevention suggests adding one to two tablespoons of aloe to lemon juice to a cup of water, and leaving that mixture in your hair for a few minutes and rinsing that off with cold water after a few minutes.

But before you use aloe vera, and as with all cosmetics and treatments involving your skin, dermatologists suggest you do a patch test to make sure no hidden allergies emerge.