Soothing Burns with Aloe

Benefits of Aloe Vera on the Skin

Aloe vera is full of skin benefits and is known as a wound healer for many skin problems across the globe.

Aloe Vera is a green and spiky cactus plant from the LILIACEAE family and grows in dry areas like Africa and India.  It is also grown in warm climates like countries in the Caribbean.  For centuries, it has been known for its wonderful healing qualities for the skin. (Cleopatra used aloe in her daily skin treatments.) It has been used for medicinal purposes for more than six thousand years and has been referred to by the Egyptians as the “plant of immortality”.  Aloe Vera secretes a gel like substance when it is broken off from the bunch and the meat-like substance between the green skin of the aloe leaves are slippery and translucent. The benefits of using this plant on the skin are far reaching as it not only soothes the skin, but also works as a barrier to block the skin from the harsh UV rays-making it a natural sunscreen.

Benefits of using Aloe Vera

It clears acne; hormones in the aloe vera gel- Auxin and Gibberellins – assist the cells with anti-inflammatory properties that heal the skin all while also stimulating the growth of new cells. The combination of these hormones helps the skin to heal rapidly.  In addition to treating acne, aloe can be used for psoriasis and eczema as well. A journal article in 2009 documented that from the study conducted, oral consumption of aloe vera reduced the growth of skin lesions, reduced the appearance of psoriasis and even help to lower the chances of developing HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). (M.R. Namazi, 2009).

Benefits to the Skin

Aloe Vera also works as a natural moisturizer for the skin. Because it isn’t oil based, it works very well for both men and women who have oily skin. It is great as an aftershave for men as it is moisturizing and very soothing to the skin; not to mention it prevents razor burn.   For women, aloe vera can be used for quickly removing makeup from the face. It also works to prevent premature signs of aging. The antioxidants in the Aloe Vera like Beta-carotene and Vitamins C and E help to keep the skin naturally firm over time.

How it works on Burns

Because of the protective coating it provides from UV rays, in 1959 the U.S. Food and Drug administration approved Aloe Vera as an ointment for the skin specifically to treat burns, bruises and blemishes on the skin. Aloe Vera not only provides a coating for the skin with the hormones to help it heal, but it also provides nutrients, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that work under the coating of the skin to suppress external exposure, allowing the skin to heal even faster.

How to Use Aloe to Treat a burn

Aloe vera works great on first and some second degree burns.  it is advised that you seek medical attention for third and fourth degree burns as those have penetrated the skin much deeper, reaching tendons, muscles, and possibly bone. As always,  irrigate the area and cool the area of the skin that has been burnt. If you cannot run water over the area for 5 minutes a cool towel for 15 to 20 minutes will be just as effective.

If you have it naturally growing in your back yard, cut the spiny edges off the aloe vera leaf and split it down the center to expose the gel like center. Run lines with a knife throughout the gel to release the gel from the skin. Make sure you have enough to cover the wound and apply as generously as you can to the area and let it sit. If natural Aloe Vera isn’t available, you can also use aloe vera over the counter gels or creams. Make sure the content is 100% Aloe.

Consider this DIY recipe for an effective burn salve:

ingredients:

  1. 1/4 cup raw honey
  2. 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
  3. 1 teaspoon beeswax
  4. 1 tablespoon Sea Buckthorn oil
  5. 1/2 teaspoon aloe vera gel or aloe vera juice

instructions:

  1. In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan or double boiler, heat the beeswax over the lowest heat possible.
  2. When the beeswax is nearly melted, add in the coconut oil and melt completely.
  3. Stir in the honey and Sea Buckthorn oil and whisk over the heat
    only until the whole mixture is one uniform liquid, about 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from the heat and  stir in the aloe briskly until the mixture is completely homogeneous, then pour into your containers.
  5. Let sit until
    comfortable to touch before using. The mixture will fully harden in approximately 6-12 hours.

Aloe Vera is a very versatile plant and does not take much to maintain as it can grow in very dry environments. The uses it has for the skin are more than what you would expect from such a humble plant. Everyone should have Aloe Vera in the house, whether it be natural grown or over the counter.  Trust me, you will be glad you do.

References

M.R. Namazi, A. F. (2009). Aloe Vera In Dermatology : A Review. G Ital Dermatol Venereol., 85-91. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19218914