Our apartment is home to many plants, including a few aloe vera plants. One type of aloe vera that we have has unique characteristics that allow us to use it for health purposes.
Aloe is a succulent and an evergreen plant. It needs little water and can grow it in a pot indoors. I usually water mine every two weeks. Aloe loves sun or half shade since it originates from the Arabian Peninsula. There are over 900 sorts of Aloes but I am using Aloe Barbadensis Miller from the Asphodelaceae family.
There is very little medical evidence about what Aloe does to your skin. However, some papyrus-written ancient recipes that date back to the 16th century BC describe the use of Aloe Vera. It was also commonly used in traditional medicine and cosmetics.
For me, Aloe does wonders. My skin can be very dry in the winter and very oily in the summer. Aloe has a smooth and calming feeling on my skin. After applying it, my skin feels hydrated and my acne and redness are less visible.
When I accidentally cut myself while cooking, the first thing I grab is Aloe gel. Afterwards I cover the cut with a bandage. After 1-2 days, the cut is healed as if nothing happened.
Aloe is also perfect after a hot day – just put it in the fridge before applying for half an hour. It will calm your skin and remove redness. Therefore it is also great after sunburn. It works much better for me than synthetic aftersun creams.
We recommend to follow this tutorial in the bathroom or with a towel nearby.
What you need:
- An Aloe vera plant or leaf (You can buy them at EkoPlaza, Gimsel or at the market)
- A knife
- A towel
- Some water
1. Cut off one of the leaves with a knife. Select the lowest leaf if possible since that one is the oldest and should be full with the aloe gel. You do not have to cut off a whole leaf, a smaller piece is also enough. The leaf will close itself in a few days and the plant will grow further.
2. Cut the leaf in smaller pieces. This way it will be easier to use it on your skin.
3. Cut the rough edges off the sides.
4. Cut the leaf in half to open the gel. This will release some liquid called the leaf juice.
5. Put the pieces on your face or other parts of your skin and rub around like a sponge. You will notice when the leaf is empty of the gel because it will become rough. That indicates that it is time to get a new leaf.
6. Leave it on your face or skin for 15 minutes or as long as it is comfortable for you. You do not have to remove it after 15 minutes, you could also sleep in this mask on and remove it in the morning.
7. After 15 minutes remove it with a lukewarm cloth. I use a linen sponge from Dille en Kamille.
9. Your skin should feel soft to touch and hydrated. Redness should be reduced. Try not touching your skin too much, it will make the skin feel oily again.
Use Aloe Vera once a week or when treating a cut or a sunburn every day until your skin is healed. Aloe gel can be used for smoothies and cocktails as well. After finishing with the Aloe, put the leaf in the compost bin and bring it to a composting facility. Keep the leftovers in an airtight container for up to two weeks in the fridge.
If you have any irritations or have sensitive skin, it is best to test the treatment on a smaller surface before using it. By medical skin conditions, always consult your doctor or dermatologist.