Aloe vera stems store water. To survive in tropical climates, the plant creates a clear, gel-like substance that is rich in amino acids, antioxidants and minerals.
Additionally, the gel contains vitamins A, C and E that promote wound healing and healthier skin.
The gel also contains polysaccharides or long chains of natural sugars. These compounds are said to be responsible for the skin-healing properties of aloe vera gel.
While you can buy many products that also contain aloe vera, some of them may contain potentially harmful additives such as dyes. To avoid these dangerous ingredients, it's better to grow aloe vera at home and make your own soothing remedies by harvesting the gel when you need it.
Just break a leaf off of an aloe vera plant and store the gel in an airtight bottle.
If you're not used to applying aloe vera on yourself, try a patch test first to determine if you are sensitive to the gel before applying it on inflamed skin.
Aloe vera gel is used to make various home remedies and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that the soothing gel is safe to use topically.
Aloe gel helps soothe skin redness. According to Dr. Jennifer Gordon, a dermatologist in Austin, the gel contains beneficial compounds that suppress inflammation.
Aloe vera gel also contains a natural pain reliever called carboxypeptidase.
Aloe vera gel doesn't just have antibacterial properties. It also contains salicylic acid, an exfoliant that helps unclogs pores and acts as an anti-inflammatory on oil glands that cause acne.
Use an aloe vera cream several times a day to relieve redness, scaling and itching inflammation caused by mild to moderate psoriasis.
Note that if you use aloe vera cream for psoriasis flare-ups, it will take at least one to several months before you notice significant improvements.
Use aloe vera creams to soothe painful cold sores. The gel will help the lesions heal faster because of its antiviral properties.
According to Dr. David Lortscher, a dermatologist based in California, aloe vera contains natural anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents.
Aloe vera gel can help wounds like first- and second-degree burns heal faster. (Related: Aloe vera: The plant of immortality with proven health benefits.)
To make aloe vera gel at home, you need leaves from a plant you're growing or you can buy fresh leaves at a grocery store or the farmer’s market.
Aloe vera gel without vitamin C or E will last up to one week in your fridge when stored in an airtight container.
If you add vitamin C or E, the gel will last for at least two months while refrigerated.
Relieve minor skin conditions and keep your skin looking soft and smooth with moisturizing aloe vera gel.