Far from unsung, aloe vera has been everyone’s go-to for skin emergencies for as long as we can remember. But it’s not just for sunburn – here’s why the green goddess deserves a place in your daily skincare routine for good…
A remedy renowned for centuries for its healing powers, aloe vera is a true botanical force. Just a dab of its juice on cuts, scrapes, and irritated areas speeds up skin repair like nothing else, while calming inflammation and cleansing with its antimicrobial properties. Most popularly used to soothe sunburned skin, it’s a staple in so many households – but its uses go far beyond the summer holiday period.
When applied to acne, aloe vera reduces redness while helping shorten the lifespan of any spots, especially when used alongside oil-controlling favourites like salicylic acid, clay, zinc and tea tree. If your skin’s stressed out after using glycolic acid too frequently, or simply from too many new products all at once, aloe can calm down inflammation to bring down any texture and redness.
One of the bonuses of aloe is that it’s completely customisable. Use it straight from the source with an aloe leaf available at most health food shops or a houseplant (just make sure to cut any leaves with a sanitised knife to avoid infections to the rest of the plant).
Cut the leaf lengthways and scoop out the fleshy meat of the leaf, and either apply straight onto the skin as a spot treatment or blend or mash it up and use as a face mask for around 15 minutes. Aloe works great on its own, but is at its best when combined with other kitchen beauty staples like honey, avocado oil, and turmeric for intense nourishment. If that’s too much DIY, look for skincare products with aloe juice or aloe leaf extract in the ingredients list – the higher up, the better. Read on for the ones that make the cut for your most soothed, nurtured skin yet.
Typology Exfoliating Cleansing Gel PHA 5% + Aloe Vera
Let’s start at the beginning. Aloe’s usually found as a topical gel to leave on, but its microbial powers make it excellent in a cleanser. Typology’s incorporates gentle PHA acids to micro-exfoliate dead skin – perfect for sensitive or sensitised skin.
Aesop Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum
For those with oily and combination skin types, this watery texture is for you. With a vitamin-enriched formula including ylang ylang and panthenol to comfort stressed skin, it dries down to a matte finish while working on any redness.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Aloe Vera GelAs the facialist with the cult following, Dr. Barbara Sturm knows a thing or two about post-treatment care. With 90% organic aloe juice as the primary ingredient, this tube also brings in the doctor’s signature purslane active to protect sensitised skin cells against free radicals, plus panthenol to soothe.
The Body Shop Aloe Calming Cream Cleanser
Back to the cleansers – and this one’s creamy formula is perfect alone or as a prelude to another. Created for sensitive skin with fairtrade Mexican aloe, it’s free from fragrance, colour, or alcohol to avoid aggravating skin any further. The Body Shop has an entire aloe range for all your needs, including a foaming aloe cleanser for tougher or more healed skin conditions.
Aurelia London Cell Revitalise Night MoisturiserHaving won all the awards, this pot of magic is more than worthy – and it has aloe as the second ingredient after water. Merging probiotics (to feed the ‘good’ bacteria on the skin) together with botanical heroes, it protects and nurtures stressed skin with everything it needs. Plus, the dreamy lavender, neroli, mandarin and rose scent makes it the perfect bedtime hero.
Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice
If your skin is sensitised or sensitive, then get to know another incredibly soothing ingredient: cica. Elemis’ serum uses its powers in its vegan and 75% organic aloe formula, plus prebiotics, to feed and calm skin and gradually build up its resistance over time. Wonderfully cooling, this is the one for summer – keep it in the fridge to really bring that redness down.
Garnier Skin Active 3-in-1 Hydrating Aloe Water Jelly
This jelly-like moisturiser can be applied layer after layer for continuous soothing after a particularly bad reaction. Using hyaluronic to hydrate any dry, flaky patches, it also locks moisture into the skin for up to 48 hours.
Images: Getty/courtesy of brands
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