Aloe Vera is a plant that thrives in dry climates and has been used medicinally and cosmetically for centuries. It is packed full of vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene which give it incredible anti-aging and nourishing properties. Ancient Egyptians called aloe vera the ‘plant of immortality’ due to its many healing properties and skincare benefits.

(The gel extracted from the leaves has amazing skin and hair benefits)

Companies who have understood the benefits of this amazing plant have created creams, juices and diet supplements that claim to have miraculous properties. But some of these can contain harmful chemicals. So it is best to harness the benefits of aloe vera from the source. Aloe vera plants require little care and are easy to grow at home.

The aloe vera plant is cactus-like with prickly, slightly bitter leaves. A translucent gel is contained in the leaves and has amazing healing properties. This gel is made up of around 96% water and is rich in vitamins and amino acids. This is the primary part of the plant that is used.

It can be used in all climates, is suitable for all skin types and can hydrate oily skin without leaving a greasy layer. Drinking aloe vera juice is also said to have various benefits for your health. Drinking this juice early in the morning on an empty stomach improves digestion and gives relief from stomach issues.

Aloe vera is effective at healing sunburnt skin and can also help lighten stretch marks over time. It does this by treating cells at the epithelial level of the skin. The gel provides relief from a number of skin conditions, including acne, eczema, and dry skin.

The benefits of aloe vera can be harnessed to be used on the skin in various ways. The gel can be applied directly, or it can be combined with other beneficial, readily available ingredients to make packs and other treatments. Keep reading to find out about some of the ways aloe vera can be used to give you flawless skin and hair.

1. Moisturizer for Dry Skin

Aloe vera is an effective natural moisturizer. It gives you smooth skin and also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. These are essential to prevent wrinkles and visible signs of aging. Aloe vera also contains antioxidants which prevent free radical damage and repair sun damage.

To make an aloe vera moisturizer at home, combine 4 tablespoons of aloe vera juice with a quarter teaspoon of Sweet Almond Oil, 6 drops of jojoba oil and 1 teaspoon of glycerin. Sweet almond oil helps reduce wrinkles and lightens dark circles around eyes. Glycerin draws oxygen into skin cells and gives skin a youthful appearance.

This moisturizer can be stored in an airtight jar for about a month. Apply a small amount to your face every day.

2. Gentle Exfoliating Scrub

Exfoliation must be a part of your skincare routine as it gets rid of dead skin cells and reduces the appearance of blemishes and blackheads. Excess oil, dirt, and pollution can clog pores resulting in breakouts. Using a gentle scrub 2 to 3 times a week is an excellent way to wash away unwanted dirt and oil and revive skin. Including aloe vera in this scrub leaves skin moisturized and can heal any damage left behind from blemishes.

Combine half a cup of fresh aloe vera gel with 1 cup of brown sugar and add two teaspoons of lemon juice. The sugar will help scrub off dead skin cells, and the lemon will lighten marks. The aloe vera helps deep clean and hydrate skin.

3. Acne Treatment

Aloe vera has antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that protect skin from bacterial buildup. It also removes excess oil from skin and contains glycol-proteins which reduce redness and discomfort caused by pimples. The polysaccharides and gibberellins contained in aloe vera stimulate the growth of new skin cells and destroy acne-causing bacteria.

To prepare an aloe vera treatment for acne, take 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel, 1 teaspoon of honey and a pinch of turmeric. Apply this on the affected areas and leave on for 10 minutes before washing off. For more tips on treating acne and useful posts such as 2016’s best foundations for acne prone skin (Top 10), check out Fix Your Skin.

4. Moisturizing Conditioner

Aloe vera acts as a great hair conditioner, leaving it soft and shiny. It contains powerful proteolytic enzymes which are effective at repairing dead skin cells on the scalp. Aloe vera has a similar chemical makeup as Keratin, the primary protein of hair. It renews hair with its nutrients and prevents breakage. It also increases the elasticity of hair, reduces dandruff and prevents itching.

Mix a quarter cup of aloe vera gel with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Add 3 to 5 drops of an essential oil such as chamomile, lavender, basil, lemon, rosemary or patchouli. Apply this conditioning mixture on hair after shampooing. Work this through your hair from the scalp to the tips. Leave this on for 5 minutes and rinse out with warm water.

5. Nourishing Hair Mask

Aloe vera can be applied as a hair mask to make the most of its nourishing benefits. If you have dull, dry hair, give this moisturizing mask a try to regain shine and bounce. Combine 4 tablespoons of aloe vera with 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of honey. Mix well and spread on hair from root to tips. Keep this on for 20-25 minutes and rinse off with your regular shampoo. Apply this hair mask once a week or every fortnight for strong and smooth hair.

Various studies have shown that aloe vera is great for treating a number of skin problems such as dry skin, sunburn, acne, pimples and much more. It is also effective against hair and scalp ailments and if used regularly can give you soft, nourished hair. It is rich in phytochemicals and vitamins which make it one of the best natural ingredients to use for skin and hair. Its juice can be consumed and added to smoothies to benefit from its vitamin-rich properties. For more information on the benefits of vitamins for skin, take a look at this infographic.

14 Potent Vitamins for Younger and Healthier Skin

Aloe Vera can treat, exfoliate, restore and revive skin and provide vital nutrition to the body. It can also be used to treat cuts, wounds, dry skin and burns. So make aloe vera a part of your skin and hair regimen to start seeing results!