Heinen’s Wellness Consultant, Andrea, shares how to keep your skin cool in the summer with Aloe Vera.
Summer has finally arrived! For many of us, it could not have come too soon. Synonymous with sunshine, more people are venturing out into nature as they re-establish their summer routines and find new ways to explore the great outdoors. Being in nature is the ultimate regenerator.
While outside, the strong solar rays of summer sunlight can create a need to provide our skin with cool and soothing relief. Seasonally, nothing works better than aloe vera. Nicknamed the “Plant of Immortality,” aloe vera is a succulent that excels at providing a long list of health benefits for the inside and outside of the body.
What is Aloe?
The aloe family contains over 200 different species that grow in the dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. It is a succulent that resembles a cactus but actually belongs to the Lily (Liliaceae) family. They can survive long periods of drought and have the amazing ability to quickly self heal if cut. Many early civilizations report of aloe’s medicinal and cosmetic uses and, according to numerous sources, Cleopatra attributed her irresistible charm and beauty to the daily use of aloe vera gel.
How does Aloe Support the Body?
Internally, aloe vera can provide nutritional support from over 200 naturally occurring vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, natural plant sterols, bioflavonoids, analgesic and antiseptic compounds and a full range of polysaccharides and monosaccharides (complex sugars). This powerful combination of compounds makes aloe vera incredibly versatile for health, wellness, skincare and overall anti-aging.
Externally, aloe vera is extremely effective. You can apply aloe vera gel (the clear, bitter, jelly-like substance from the inner leaf) directly to the skin as a healing salve, or combine it with other ingredients as part of a complete skin-soothing recipe. Many people keep a fresh aloe plant handy for quick first-aid skin solutions, but for convenience, you can purchase a commercially-prepared gel.
The Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
- Pain and itch relief
- Contains emollient properties to help nourish and soothe the skin
- Stimulates new tissue growth and regeneration inside and out (wrinkles, scars, wounds, muscle injuries, insect bites, rashes, blisters,mild sunburns)
- Helps diminish scars, stretch marks, and skin discoloration
- Tightens and tones the skin
- Reduces skin puffiness under the eyes (when applied topically)
- Acts as a moisturizer and humectant
- Stimulates production of collagen and improves skin elasticity/helps prevent premature aging
- Cleanses and detoxifies the body
- Fortifies cell membranes
- Improves cellular metabolism
- Enhances circulation
- Enhances digestion and elimination
- Enhances and strengthens the immune system
- Supports healthy hair growth, luster and shine
The aloe vera plant has hundreds of possible uses. Above all, it is excellent for first aid applications such as minor cuts, scrapes, burns and rashes.
What to Look for in Aloe Products
If you choose to use aloe vera internally, be sure to use a product that has been processed to properly remove the aloin, the bitter yellow substance found between the outer leaf and the gel. Most products will list “aloin free” on the label.
Aloe is a very popular drink in Thailand where they make aloe water with chunks of the inner leaf dispersed within. We offer aloe water in four flavors to quench your thirst and help to balance you from the inside. These taste great, too!
Many feel the fresh aloe leaf has the most benefits, which is why we also offer fresh, whole leaf aloe in our Produce Department. It is important to soak the inner leaf upright in 1” of water to drain out the aloin prior to using. You can add the gel to a smoothie or juice or apply it topically.
When to Use Aloe Products
Aloe vera juice/gel is best taken on an empty stomach in small divided doses prior to or between meals. For the average healthy person, 1-2 oz. of juice two times a day is sufficient. Because it has a cooling effect on the body, I find aloe is best during the warmer seasons.
How to Use Aloe Vera Juice
- Spray on your face as a toner
- Spray on hair to bring luster and protect from heat appliances
- After-sun spray or for sunburn
- Mouth rinse to keep your gums healthy
- Aloe vera mocktail
- Aloe vera margarita
- Refreshing and cooling summer drink
Aloe vera’s skin-benefiting properties are well known and many companies have added aloe vera to their product lines as moisturizers, cleansers, facial masks, deodorants, shaving gels and shampoos.
Check out our selection body care products that contain aloe!
If you need further guidance, a Heinen’s Wellness Consultant is happy to provide you with the information and support that you need to help find the best health solution for you.