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The aloe vera plant has been recognized and used for centuries for its medicinal properties skin care. The name aloe vera is derived from the Arabic word “alloeh” which means bitter and bright substance, while the word “vera” in Latin means truth.

2,000 years ago, Greek scientists considered aloe vera to be a universal panacea. The Egyptians called aloe vera the plant of immortality. Today, this exotic plant is widely used in many areas. In this article, we will review its characteristics, mechanism of action, and clinical uses.


Aloe vera has been used for medicinal purposes in many cultures for thousands of years. Thus this plant is traditionally known in Greece, Egypt, India, Mexico, Japan and also in China.

The Egyptian queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra used it as part of their beauty routine. Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus used it to treat soldiers' wounds.

The plant

The botanical name of aloe vera is Aloe barbadensis miller. This plant belongs to the family Asphodelaceae (Liliaceae) and is a pea-green succulent plant. Aloe vera grows mainly in dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, America and India.

Aloe vera has fleshy triangular leaves with serrated edges. Each sheet consists of three layers:

  1. Transparent inner gel, composed mainly of water and rich in glucomannan, sterols and vitamins;
  2. An intermediate latex layer containing a yellow and bitter sap rich in anthraquinones and glycosides;
  3. Thick outer bark with a protective function.

Active ingredients, mechanisms of action and properties of aloe vera

Aloe vera contains at least 75 active ingredients With, among others, vitamins, enzymes, minerals, complex polysaccharides, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids.(1). This amazing wealth of active ingredients gives this plant multiple healing properties. It can be used on the skin or taken orally.

Collagen biosynthesis

Aloe vera is rich GlucomannanIt is a polysaccharide rich in mannose and contains gibberellin, a growth hormone. These two active ingredients will interact with growth factor receptors on fibroblasts, which are the cells responsible for collagen synthesis.

Applying aloe vera topically to the skin, or taking it orally, has been shown to stimulate the activity and proliferation of fibroblasts, which significantly increases collagen synthesis.(2).

Not only does aloe vera gel increase the collagen content in wounds, it has also been shown to increase the degree of cross-linking of collagen. As a result, it helps increase wound healing and increases the resistance to tearing of the resulting scar tissue(3).

Increased synthesis of hyaluronic acid and dermatan sulfate in granulation tissue has also been reported for wound healing following oral or topical treatment.(4).

Protective effect against damage caused by ultraviolet rays to the skin

Aloe vera gel has been reported to contain Protective effect against damage caused by ultraviolet rays And also gamma on the skin(5)(6). After consuming aloe vera gel, an antioxidant protein, metallothionein, is produced in the skin.

This antioxidant protein scavenges hydroxyl radicals and improves superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase levels in the skin. At the same time, aloe vera reduces the production and release of immunosuppressive cytokines derived from skin keratinocytes such as interleukin 10 (IL-10).(7).

Anti-inflammatory action

Aloe vera inhibits the cyclooxygenase pathway and reduces the production of prostaglandin E2 from arachidonic acid, giving aloe vera a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.

Recently, another anti-inflammatory compound, called C-glucosyl chromone, was isolated from aloe vera gel extracts.(8). In addition, the allergens in aloe vera inhibit the influx of calcium into mast cells, thus preventing the release of histamine and leukotrienes by mast cells, mediated by antigens and antibodies.(9).

Laxative effects

The anthraquinones found in aloe vera latex are A Laxative effect interesting. They increase the water content in the intestine, stimulate mucus secretion and increase intestinal peristalsis(10).

Antiviral activity

These actions may be the result of indirect or direct influences. The indirect effect is due to stimulation of the immune system and the direct effect is due to anthraquinones.

The anthraquinone aloin in aloe vera inactivates many enveloped viruses such as herpes simplex, chicken pox or influenza.(11).

Moisturizing and anti-aging effect

The mucopolysaccharides found in aloe vera help retain moisture in the skin. Aloe vera stimulates fibroblasts that produce collagen and elastin fibers, which leads to the appearance of wrinkles More elastic skin and less wrinkles. Aloe vera also has cohesive effects on surface skin cells that flake off and stick together, causing them to stick together. Softens the skin.

The zinc it contains also acts as an astringent to tighten pores. the Moisturizing effects Aloe Vera has also been studied in the treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure where aloe vera gel has been shown to improve skin integrity, reduce visible fine wrinkles, and reduce erythema.(12). Aloe vera, due to its antiseptic effects, also has an anti-acne effect.

Antiseptic effect

Aloe vera contains at least 6 different antiseptic agents; Lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamic acid, phenols and sulfur. All these agents have a broad inhibitory effect on fungi, bacteria and viruses(13).

What aloe vera to buy?

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Your frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of aloe vera on the skin?

Aloe Vera has moisturizing, soothing and rejuvenating properties which makes it a very popular ingredient in skin care. It can help soothe skin irritation, reduce redness, and promote healing.

How to use aloe vera on hair?

Aloe vera can be used as a hair treatment to moisturize, nourish and strengthen hair. It can be used as a mask before shampooing or as an ingredient in conditioner or styling gel.

How to grow aloe vera?

Aloe vera is an easy plant to grow. It needs well-drained soil and a sunny location. It can be grown in pots or in the ground and requires little maintenance.

What precautions should be taken when using aloe vera?

When applying to the skin, it is important to perform a skin test beforehand to avoid allergic reactions. It should not be used on open wounds and should be consumed with caution due to the risk of poisoning.

Is aloe vera effective in treating acne?

Aloe vera can help reduce inflammation and moisturize the skin, which may be beneficial for those with acne. However, its effectiveness may vary depending on the severity of acne and skin sensitivity.

How to use aloe vera to relieve insect bites?

Aloe vera can help relieve itching and inflammation caused by insect bites. Simply apply aloe vera pulp to the affected area to relieve the pain.

Can aloe vera help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema?

Aloe vera can help relieve the symptoms of psoriasis and eczema due to its anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties. However, it cannot cure these skin conditions and should not be used as a primary treatment without medical advice.

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