AKA: Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe barbadensis leaf juice is a truly wonderful and widely-used skincare ingredient.
It is a freshly-pressed, gelatinous juice from the inner part of Aloe vera leaves. It is a humectant ingredient, meaning that it helps the skin to retain water, forms a humectant film on the skin surface, and makes the skin appear smoother and softer. Aloe barbadensis, or Aloe vera, is a tropical plant originating from Arabia. It is an evergreen succulent plant that has adapted its leaves to hold large amounts of water in order to survive in the arid conditions of the Arabian Peninsula. As a result of this, the thick leaves are filled with pale green, gelatinous tissue.
There is a row of vascular bundles filled with yellow latex directly under its skin. This latex contains compounds called anthraquinones, which are very potent laxatives - so potent, in fact, that the FDA discontinued their use as an over-the-counter laxative due to their adverse side effects.
These compounds are also harmful when applied to the skin, so the latex glands must be carefully removed along with the skin during aloe processing, and the juice and the extracts must be checked for any residues. The clear, anthraquinone-free aloe gel contains mucilage and various gel-forming polysaccharides, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
When applied to the skin surface, aloe vera gel increases the absorption of the other compounds mixed with it. It retains water, forms a humectant film on the skin surface, and improves the consistency of the skincare product.
As for its other benefits that are sometimes claimed, like wound healing and anti-inflammatory or antimicrobial properties, the science has shown conflicting results – some claim wonderful effects and some show the exact opposite. This might be due to the variability of aloe vera samples, or due to the fact that aloe vera gel is very susceptible to oxidation and degradation.
But overall, there are still many other proven benefits of aloe vera gel and it deserves its top place among skincare ingredients.