aloe vera

Anti-Irritants , Plant Extracts

There is no real evidence that aloe vera (Aloe barbadenis) helps the skin in any significant way, but it’s not a throwaway ingredient. Some brands use aloe in place of water in their products, but aloe is actually 99.5% water. [1]

There is research indicating that isolated components of aloe vera, such as glycoprotein, can have some effectiveness for wound healing and as an anti-irritant. [2, 3] However, when mixed into a cosmetic product, it is doubtful that those qualities remain, although it may still play a role in binding moisture to skin. [4] In pure form, aloe vera’s benefits on skin are probably its lack of occlusion and the refreshing sensation it provides. Aloe serves as a water-binding agent for skin due to its polysaccharide (complex carbohydrate) and sterol content. (An example of a sterol that’s beneficial for skin is cholesterol.) Although research has shown aloe also has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial qualities, no study has proven it to be superior to other ingredients with similar properties, including such ingredients as vitamin C, green tea, pomegranate, and many other antioxidants.

References Cited:

  1. Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple D. Aloe vera: a short review. Indian J Dermatol.. 2008;53(4):163- 6.
  2. Reynolds T, Dweck A. Aloe vera leaf gel: a review update.. J Ethnopharmacol.. 1999;68(1- 3):3-37.
  3. Lee K, Weintraub S, Yu B. Isolation and identification of a phenolic antioxidant from Aloe barbadensis.. Free Radic Biol Med. 2000;28(2):261-5.
  4. DalBelo S, Gaspar L, Maia Campos P. Moisturizing effect of cosmetic formulations containing Aloe vera extract in different concentrations assessed by skin bioengineering techniques.. Skin Res Technol.. 2006;12(4):241-6.

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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