Aloe vera not only offers deeply hydrating and moisturizing properties, but also aids in wound healing, has a gentle exfoliating effect, boosts collagen production and can penetrate as deep as the cellular levels of the epidermis. To round out this juicy leaf, Aloe also softens toughened skin, tames heat, reduces the appearance of redness and has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antiseptic properties to boost!
It is no coincidence that Aloe Vera is the base of nearly every single one of our products, including our latest new addition, Daily Acid Toner. It has been widely researched in modern times though its use for medicinal and beautification purposes can be traced all the way back to Egyptian queens like Nefertiti and Cleopatra, along with the Greek king, Alexander the Great. The origin of the name Aloe vera is derived from “Allaeh”, an Arabic word that means “shining bitter substances”, and “Vera” a Latin word that means “true”.
At this point, it’s fairly safe to assume that we are all familiar with the cooling relief of applying Aloe vera gel. It’s a staple product in the bathroom cupboard and the first one that we know to reach for after a long day out in the sun or after an unfortunate slip of the baking sheet coming out of the oven. But what exactly makes Aloe so beneficial?
“With such a vast array of rich, plant micronutrients that benefit skin, scalp, and hair, from hydration to helping heal inflammation issues to improving the complexion and hair manageability, it's essential that Aloe Vera is the base of just about every product we create.” Josh Rosebrook
Beneath the surface, the leaves contain a gel-like substance that contains a whopping 75 active compounds, some of which we’ll dive into below. What’s even more incredible is that the leading research on Aloe indicates that the benefits of this plant arise from the synergistic actions of its compounds, working together to produce some biological goodness that's stronger than any isolated component. This means that Aloe vera not only has a lot to offer on its own, but also improves the performance of other ingredients in our formulations. We know that terms like vitamins and amino acids get thrown around a lot when talking skincare, so let’s take a closer look at these beneficial compound groups so you know exactly what’s going on next time you spy one of these juicy plump leaves.
Vitamins: Aloe contains vitamins A, C, and E, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which can speed up the skin’s aging process. Our skin naturally battles these bad boys on a daily basis but Aloe can lend a helping hand - for a refresher course on antioxidants, click here.
Enzymes: Aloe contains a total of 8 enzymes that can help slough away dead surface skin cells and stimulate new skin cell growth.
Minerals: Aloe contains calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc - all essential minerals. Zinc can act as an astringent to tighten pores and help to combat the appearance of redness. Lastly, zinc can also act as an enzyme co-factor (there’s that beautiful synergy coming into play).
Sugars: Amongst others, Aloe contains glucomannan, a polysaccharide that stimulates collagen production and can promote tissue repair. Acemannan, another prominently available complex carbohydrate found in Aloe, has been shown to accelerate wound healing.
Lignin: An element that enhances the penetrative effects of other ingredients into the skin, as it can soak into all the levels of the skin, even down to the cellular level. Lignins can even penetrate toughened skin.
Salicylic acid: The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of salicylic acid are well known but should you need a reintroduction on all of its benefits, check out our acids blog post.
Amino acids: Aloe provides 20 of the 22 required amino acids that help the body to function and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids. Amino acids - the chemical that forms the building blocks of proteins - help soften toughened skin cells.
In addition to this already lengthy list, Aloe vera contains a major skin restoring cocktail of fatty acids and plant hormones. Fatty acids, such as cholesterol and lupeol, are anti-inflammatory in addition to having antiseptic and analgesic properties, and moisturize and soothe skin. The hormones auxin and gibberellin accelerate healing by stimulating cell replication, benefitting inflamed skin.
If you’ve done your due diligence on Aloe prior to reading this post (google to the rescue), you might be wondering about our formulations in relation to Aloin. Aloin, aka Aloe latex or Anthraquinones, comes from the thin layer of yellow sap that separates the outer rind from the translucent inner portion of the leaf, which contains the aloe gel. Some studies have shown some controversial findings, mostly regarding the effects of Aloin for internal ingestion of aloe vera juice. With precaution and safety in mind, we have always chosen a completely aloin-free, pure and certified organic source for our formulations.
We hope there will be more research studies performed on this miracle-like plant for hair and scalp in the future as currently we mostly rely on anecdotes and traditional usage claims. However, the scalp IS skin and as laid out above, there are many benefits that Aloe provides - including the fact that it has proven to provide relief for inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema and dermatitis. It’s gentle exfoliation coupled with the ability to soothe and stimulate collagen production and cell replication can only be a benefit to our scalp. According to Dr. Greenfield,of Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn:
“[...]Aloe vera contributes to healthy hair because it conditions and moisturizes the hair and scalp [...]. Proper hydration is a must for healthy hair and a skin barrier.”
Bottom line, take it or leave it - Aloe vera is filled with rich amino acids and phyto nutrients that support scalp, skin and hair - we'll take it! Hopefully you have come to love this ingredient as much as we have.
If you are curious to experience the array of benefits of Aloe vera for yourself, here is a list of all the products you will inevitably fall in love with:
Skincare within our 7 Phases
- Step 1 / Cleanse - Complete Moisture Cleanse
- Step 2 / Exfoliate - Active Enzyme Exfoliator
- Step 4 / Tone - Daily Acid Toner
- Step 5 / Hydrate - Hydrating Accelerator
- Step 5 / Hydrate - Hydration Boost Concentrate
- Step 5 / Hydrate - Advanced Hydration Mask
- Step 7 / Protect - Vital Balm Cream
- Step 7 / Protect - Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30
- Balance Shampoo
- Balance Conditioner
- Nourish Shampoo
- Nourish Conditioner
- Enrich Hair Mask
- Serum Spray
- Hair Cream