Aloe Vera is commonly found in many gardens and homes. In fact, it grows easily in pots. The Sanskrit name of Aloe Vera is Ghikanwar or Ghritkumari. It has been known for its healing properties since the ancient times. It has also been very much a part of Ayurveda. The care of the skin and hair by Aloe Vera is very helpful in winter, when the weather is dry.
The plant has unique moisture retentive abilities. It is a powerful natural moisturizer and seals off loss of moisture. It also softens dead skin cells and helps their removal, leaving the skin smoother and brighter. In fact, it helps the normal functions of the skin by improving its capacity to retain moisture. Aloe Vera also has an astringent action and tightens the skin, thus protecting it from early aging. It has shown remarkable results on sun-damaged skins, with its moisturizing, softening, soothing and healing actions.
Aloe Vera also has anti-oxidant properties and thus boosts the skin’s cell renewal process. Regular use of products containing aloe vera helps to delay the formation of ageing signs on the skin.
The real breakthrough came when the Aloe Vera gel was stabilized. It could then be used in cosmetic preparations for various skin conditions. It was found to be ideal, not only for the treatment of problems, but also for general cosmetic care, to protect and maintain the good heath of the skin and aid the regeneration of healthy new cells. It is added to skin care products and lotions, like cleanser, moisturisers, serums, gels, masks and so on. We have, in fact, used Aloe Vera as an ingredient in many products, including cleansers and moisturisers. Our 24 Carat Gold range is processed in Aloe Vera gel.
Aloe Vera can also be used in home care if the plant is easily available at home. The aloe gel or juice may be applied directly on the skin. The gel obtained from the plant itself is the leaf pulp and is found in the inner portion of the leaves. The aloe juice is found just beneath the outer skin of the leaves. However, while using it directly on the skin at home, one should wash the plant well and observe total hygiene.
The aloe vera gel or juice may be applied on the face daily and then washed off with plain water after 20 minutes. It helps to soften and moisturize the skin. In fact, used regularly, it helps to restore the skin’s youthful properties.
Applying aloe vera is useful during winter as it helps to relieve dryness and maintain the soft texture of the skin. It also soothes the skin, especially after sun-exposure. It moisturizes the skin, without making the skin oily.
Aloe vera juice can also be used to treat varicose veins. Apply the juice directly to the area. It is good for any skin injury - sores or wounds and soothes the skin. Applying fresh Aloe Vera gel to the damaged area helps the epidermis of skin recover faster. The nutritive mineral zinc present in this healing plant is anti - inflammatory and prevents the skin from swelling.
Aloe Vera can also be added to face masks. Take one tablespoon oats or multani mitti, one teaspoon each orange peel powder and curd and one tablespoon aloe vera gel. Mix together and apply on the skin, washing it off after 30 minutes.
Aloe Vera can also be used on the hair. The gel may be applied on the hair and washed off with plain water after 20 minutes. It helps to soften and smoothen rough hair.
It can also be added to hair packs. For a cleansing pack, take gram flour (besan), curd and one tablespoon aloe vera gel. Mix into a paste and apply on the hair.
For extremely dry, rough and brittle hair, mix well together one egg, one tablespoons castor oil, the juice of a lemon and one tablespoon aloe vera gel or juice. Apply on the hair and wear a plastic shower cap. Wash the hair after half an hour.
The writer is international repute beauty expert and is popularly called as Herbal Queen of India