Here's What Dermatologists Want You to Know About Using Aloe Vera on Your Skin
The powerful plant is helpful for more than just soothing sunburns.
We all know that using aloe vera gel helps soothe the pain caused by a bad sunburn. Unfortunately, we’ve all been there—though we’re going to go ahead and assume you’ve learned your lessons and are diligent about using sunscreen now. Every. Single. Day. But just because you’re trying to make sunburns a thing of the past doesn’t mean you should nix aloe altogether. In case you didn’t know, aloe vera is actually a very beneficial ingredient that helps treat a range of skin concerns apart from sunburns. Its soothing, calming properties can be incorporated into your regular skincare routine, all year round.
To get the full scoop on choosing the best aloe skincare products, we reached out to Harold Lancer, M.D., (who, by the way, happens to be Kim Kardashian, J.Lo, and Victoria Beckham’s go-to derm), who filled us in on what we need to know about aloe vera and using it on our skin.
First things first: What’s the point of using aloe vera in your skincare routine?
“Aloe vera is an important natural active ingredient that is used as an anti-inflammatory agent,” explains Dr. Lancer. “It boosts vitamins A and C, as well as enzymes and antioxidants which work to repair burned or dehydrated skin.” Additionally, studies show that its hydrating properties can even have an anti-aging effect.
Is aloe vera beneficial for all skin types–even the most sensitive skin?
Yes! In fact, Dr. Lancer insists that it’s most beneficial on dry or acne-prone skin, and says that it works well for treating rosacea, too. “It promotes barrier repair, reduces dryness, and alleviates skin irritation.” You can also use topical aloe-containing skin care products with any other ingredients in your regular routine as an add-on for more benefits.
Does aloe vera work best in a certain types of skincare products?
“In terms of skincare, aloe works best when it is used in creams and serums,” says Dr. Lancer. “A cream with aloe will allow for hydration and alleviate dryness, and serums are incredibly important as they can soothe irritations and provide a protective barrier by inhibiting water loss.” So, if you notice that your complexion is reacting especially well to aloe skin care products, double up by layering a cream on top of a serum.
What are some of the key differences between using a natural aloe vera gel and a skincare product formulated with aloe?
“Aloe vera gel is best when used as an agent to help a burn or irritation,” explains Dr. Lancer. “Skincare products containing aloe work with other ingredients to impact the skin’s complexion.” So during desperate times (aka sunburns), reach for the thick, gooey aloe vera gel you know and love. Any other time, turn to a skin care product that lists aloe as one of the ingredients for added benefits.
These are some of our favorite skincare products with aloe vera:
Treat yourself to a calming face mask that will almost instantly soothe your skin. It's infused with calendula, an anti-inflammatory natural ingredient that has antibacterial properties that can be used for healing minor wounds, and aloe vera. It has a bouncy gel-like texture that will feel lightweight, not sticky, on your skin. For best results, use it three times a week for five minutes each time.
An aloe vera gel can help reduce the burning sensation caused by both sun burn and razor burn, and can soothe irritated skin—just make sure you choose one that’s fragrance-free, since fragrance can further aggravate the skin. For best results, apply it after doing a cold compress on the affected area
"This product gently calms and visibly reduces skin redness providing a balanced tone,” says Dr. Lancer. “It contains aloe leaf juice, hyaluronic acid, and honey peptides to visibly calm and hydrate the skin while also providing anti-aging benefits.”
The toner-serum hybrid not only reduces the appearance of redness (on the spot and over time), but also the more you use it, the stronger your skin barrier becomes. It's infused with aloe vera, vitamin E, and licorice root extract to help soothe, hydrate, and brighten the skin.
One of the best things you can do for your complexion is to use a cleanser every single day. This one is perfect for sensitive skin types since it's fragrance-free (meaning it won't cause irritation) and is infused with calming aloe vera. The gel-like formula also helps to keep skin hydrated and will prevent it from being stripped of its natural oils that keep it healthy.