We've all heard of drinking aloe vera juice and using the plant to help things like sunburn (admittedly the cooling effects are unbeatable) but did you know there is a tonne of other ways you can use aloe vera to benefit your hair, skin, nails and overall health? With high concentrates of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, aloe vera works to hydrate you, detoxify and lower cholesterol. It also contains high levels of polysaccharides, which boost your immune system, as well as a host of antioxidant compounds making it not only a superfood but also a super product.
One teen even used freshly cut aloe vera from her garden to cure her acne, alongside a lineup of supermarket products. You can .
Convinced? Here’s exactly how to reap the benefits of this juicy green plant in your beauty regime...
Exfoliators that use aloe vera are ideal for sensitive skin types. The cooling properties within the plant makes it much kinder on the skin and the fact it’s so rich in healing agents means that it will actively work to heal any blemishes or irritation you may have. If you want to go super-natural, it's very easy to make your own. Just mix 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel, 2 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of lemon juice.
Aloe vera gel is a natural moisturiser. You can wear a thicker layer in the evening for a night body mask or apply a thin layer morning or night for an everyday boost of hydration. Do be warned though, it's best not to apply it if you’re in a rush - it needs time to sink into the skin before you can put your clothes on.
22 of the best moisturisers to give your skin a golden glow
Yes, aloe vera can help you get (at least close to) the Hollywood smile. The plant contains a rich blend of bioactive organic properties which dentists say can help heal gums that are wearing away and even whiten your smile. Before selecting an aloe vera toothpaste though, do consult your dentist to see if it’s a suitable option for you.
Aloe vera is a powerful natural astringent which means it works to clean the skin. It unblocks pores, helps to remove impurities from the skin’s surface and it’s antibacterial meaning it can help to prevent spots and be used as an acne treatment.
A step-by-step guide to banishing acne on every single part of your body
Even your hair can benefit. The plant contains proteolytic enzymes which actively work to promote hair growth plus it's antibacterial and moisturising elements will give it a good nourish and cleanse. You can find aloe vera in a ton of shampoo, conditioner and hair masks - just look for it in the ingredients list.
Looking after your insides obviously has a huge effect on how you look on the outside so don't overlook the benefit of including aloe vera in your diet. The plant's juice can be bought from suppliers such as Whole Foods to drink on it's own or you can blend it into your smoothies (time to dust off that Nutribullet). The plant is amazing for supplying oxygen to your cells and strengthens the skin’s tissue meaning you're more likely to be left with a plump, dewy complexion. Aside from this it’s potential to detoxify, neutralise acid and even promote fat reduction has been well documented. Win-win.
Superfoods: 53 ultimate foods to eat