You have probably heard of aloe vera at some point in time, especially if you are prone to getting sunburns. However, you might be surprised to hear that there is much more aloe vera has to offer rather than a simple salve for burned skin.
The plant has been heralded as a modern miracle for many beauty experts the world over and has additional effects that make rejuvenating your skin a much more viable option. But what about those of us with suntans? A little-known fact about aloe vera is that it can affect how tanned your skin can get as a result of exposure to the sun, among other traits.
Whether or not aloe vera will increase or decrease the tans we have developed is a question many who use it have. However, the real question we should be asking is whether we want it to make us more or less tan. With this article, we hope to help improve your understanding of the extent of aloe vera's effects on your skin.
What is Aloe Vera?
The first step in every journey involves knowing what you are dealing with. Aloe vera is an invasive species of plant worldwide that has been tolerated solely due to its use. It originates from the Arabian Peninsula and grows in the wild in tropical, semi-tropical, and arid climates. The prevalence of aloe vera across the world has led to a great deal of industry around it to create products that take advantage of the soothing and nourishing effects it has to offer. However, the properties of what gives aloe vera its effects are unique since the lifeblood of the plant is mainly composed of water.
Aloe vera contains a lot of beneficial compounds like vitamins, lipids, and a few other things that make it highly beneficial to dermal health. However, these compounds only make up 1% of the gel found within the plant's leaves. The other 99% is just water. So, while the other ingredients are crucial to what makes aloe vera such a beneficial product, the fact that they make up only 1% of the gel is truly shocking.
This is especially true when you consider the 160 other ingredients in aloe vera that make it such a helpful product. However, there is also the detail that not all forms of aloe vera are beneficial, and there exist toxic subspecies that can leave you sick. So, you should take care to purchase your aloe vera from a trustworthy vendor rather than risk acquiring a toxic product.
With the compounds within aloe vera, the creation of specialized products using them has become a staple of the industry. These products see use in topical medications, dietary supplements, and even traditional medicine to some capacity. However, how these products affect things like suntans is a little more specific.
Aloe Vera and Skin
Aloe vera's most popular function is as a topical salve for the skin following a sunburn. Sunburns are extremely unpleasant and can hit us at varying levels depending on how long we were exposed to the ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun. Aloe vera possesses a compound that soothes the pain of the burn.
Specifically, the substance aloin is an anti-inflammatory compound known to reduce the inflammation caused by sunburns. Combined with the fact that aloe vera moisturizes the skin, the peeling associated with higher degree burns can be mitigated and even prevented by regular application of aloe vera gel. If you want to avoid getting sunburns, making use of enhanced sunscreen can work wonders on protecting you.
Did you know our bodies also possess a natural defense mechanism against sunburns? Suntans are not simply the addition of pigment to the skin but a defense against damage from UV rays. The longer we are exposed to solar radiation and UV rays, the more melanin our bodies produce as a defense against them. This melanin is what darkens our skin and tans it, resulting in the new pigment.
However, the darker one's skin is, the more resilient they are to ultraviolet radiations. This resilience does not mean they are immune to all the potential health issues of over-exposure to UV radiation, but that they will require more exposure before the more severe complications take hold. Tanning your skin can lead to some of the same conditions sunburns bring. Tanning can damage the skin and accelerate the aging process or, even worse, lead to skin cancer.
When using aloe vera to treat a sunburn, you are also treating any suntan you might have developed. To this end, using aloe vera will help to undo the tanning process and restore your original skin pigment. This restoration means that if you want to maintain a tan for the sake of appearance, then aloe vera is something to avoid, whereas returning to your original appearance will make aloe vera an invaluable tool.
At this point, the real question becomes a matter of how to properly introduce the aloe vera to your system to maximize its effects if you are looking to purge the excess melanin from your skin.
How to Use Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is the sort of product that can be taken in many ways due to being refined into several products of varying forms. Finding the best method of using aloe vera to tend to your skin can be a simple matter if you have the right resources. For example, if you have access to an aloe plant you know for a fact is non-toxic, you can break off a piece of the plant to get at the gel held inside. Once you have accessed the gel growing within the aloe plant, you can apply it to your skin directly. However, making use of raw aloe might not be as effective as using more refined products that have emphasized the effects of the aloe.
Aloe products for application to the skin come in one of two different forms: lotions and gels. You can purchase gels consisting of 100% aloe with no additives. You can also find specialized lotions with the caveat that you should ensure the one you are purchasing does not have additives and has higher concentrations of aloe above all.
However, it is advised that you stick to the gels since the lotions have proven to be inefficient against sunburns and tans alike. As with the raw aloe that can be harvested directly from the plant, you will apply the gel or lotion directly to the affected areas so the compounds can go to work. Both the gels and lotions can be easily purchased from online retailers to bolster your supply. The exact amount of gel you should apply to the affected areas will be detailed on the container, so following those instructions are the best method for getting the best possible results.
Another option for introducing aloe into your system that you might have heard of is ingesting raw aloe and aloe products. Ingesting aloe can have a wide range of benefits, like the reduction of inflammation in your body. However, ingestion will not be of any benefit for those looking to take advantage of aloe vera for skin health.
It is also worth noting that the ingestion of aloe-based skin products like the aforementioned gel is not a good idea as those products are not edible. If you want to use aloe to purge the tan you have developed, your best bet is to stick to the gel products currently on the market. Even still, there remains the question of how much of a good thing is too much.
What Are the Risks of Aloe Vera?
Most products on the market today have a limit before they go from being beneficial to becoming a burden on your body. With aloe vera, being aware of potential side effects is essential unless you want to exacerbate any issues you might already have. As it stands, you should not have a lot to worry about when it comes to making use of aloe vera for personal care.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences research, aloe vera application to the skin is not likely to have any adverse side effects. The biggest issue with aloe vera use comes from ingestion, which can cause side effects, including abdominal cramps, diarrhea, or causing an imbalance in electrolytes. However, if your goal is to use aloe vera to undo your tan, then you will not be ingesting the aloe at all.
With that said, using aloe vera is not 100% guaranteed to be safe for everyone using it, but this is based on the individual more than the product itself. A small demographic can have an allergic reaction to aloe vera or the supplementary ingredients found in the lotions or gels. You have a greater risk of being allergic to aloe vera if you are allergic to tulips, garlic, or onions.
If you are concerned that you might have an allergy to aloe vera to any capacity, you should conduct a localized test on a small patch of your skin and wait for 1 to 2 hours to see if you suffer any observable side effects as a result. If you do see a reaction, then discontinue the use of the product. If you do not, you can safely make use of aloe vera products to tend to your tan.
That said, do not use your aloe vera in conjunction with sunscreen. The two compounds perform very different tasks and do not complement each other well. Using a sunscreen with high SPF before being exposed to the sun and the associated UV radiation is always advised. Aloe vera should only be used after you have suffered a burn or gotten a tan. Combining both your aloe gel with your sunscreen runs the risk of diminishing the effectiveness of one or the other.
Ultimately, you are unlikely to suffer any ill effects using aloe vera to tend to your skin health needs. So, if you are looking to take advantage of its properties to purge unwanted melanin from your skin, you can safely pick up a bottle of gel and begin applying it.
The short answer to our question today is that aloe vera will make you less tan, but all for the better. Aloe vera is a naturally occurring plant that has invaded much of the world and has found itself a cozy nook in the industry of skincare products. Understanding that tans result from constant exposure to solar radiation, using aloe vera to purge the excess melanin is an excellent tactic.
Starting from your very first tan, the damage has begun and will continue to accumulate with every subsequent tan you get from that point forward. Making use of aloe vera to minimize the buildup of melanin in your skin is important to mitigate the damage as much as you possibly can. The most significant complication is finding an aloe vera gel best suited to helping tend to your skin.
Look for a product that minimizes the concentration of superfluous chemicals and additives to the gel. Keeping true to aloe-centric gels is key to finding an effective gel for your needs. It also does not hurt that aloe vera has additional benefits unrelated to keeping your skin healthy, meaning you can get more for your money when using it. So, while some view a tan as attractive, you might find yourself living a better life without one. After all, staying healthy is the best way of living your best life.
Now we turn to you, our readers! Do you have any stories about using aloe vera on a tan? If so, did you have any different results than what we had mentioned above? What happened? We'd love to read each and all of your stories, so be sure to leave those down in the comments section below! Your thoughts and stories not only help us, but help others who may have gone through similar situations!