Aloe vera is an incredibly nourishing ingredient – perhaps one of the most famous in the skin care family. Aloe features as the base in a variety of plant-based skin care products, thanks to its soothing and cooling properties and sustainable harvesting methods. Its use dates back thousands of years, when ancient Chinese and Egyptians used the plant's liquid to treat burns, soothe wounds, and reduce fever. Cleopatra is said to have applied fresh aloe daily to her skin, as a rehydrating treatment and anti-aging tonic.
First thing to clear up: aloe vera juice and aloe vera water are terms used interchangeably, both describing the liquid that can naturally be extracted from aloe vera leaves. If you’re looking for juice or water for oral consumption – to reap the range of digestive benefits and high folic acid acid content – make sure you source a formula sans aloin. Aloin is the bitter tasting defense mechanism that occurs naturally in aloe water, which can cause laxative effects and digestive upset.
Another aloe fact to keep in mind: the juice and water are distinct from aloe vera gel. Aloe gel is the cool and viscous substance found within aloe leaves with bioactive compounds that hydrate skin and expedite wound healing. The same storehouse of vitamins and minerals that can be found in the gel (vitamins A, C, E, B, iron, copper, zinc, calcium) are also found in the water/ juice. The primary difference is the level of H2O, which is higher in the latter.
When it comes to topical application, aloe juice is extremely beneficial for those of us dealing with clinically flaky and dry skin, and dermatitis. The benefits can also be extended to those with persistent conditions like eczema, dandruff, psoriasis, and canker sores. It works by healing the epithelial level of the dermis, a layer of cells that cover the body, acting as a barrier between our insides and the external elements. The nutritional qualities stimulate skin cells to heal quicker, and on a molecular level, can act as a barrier between your skin and additional irritants.
For this reason, anyone with actively open skin conditions can benefit from aloe juice application. This goes for people suffering from acne or oily skin. Two hormones found in trace amounts in aloe water – auxin and gibberellins – provide anti inflammatory action and stimulate the growth of new skin cells. This can lead to a reduction in acne scar tissue and post-blemish discoloration.
The aloe vera plant contains a long list of absolutely essential skin vitamins, amino acids, and polysaccharides that endow it with hydrating and glow-boosting benefits. Bioactive compounds found within the water contain:
Vitamin A, key for the production of new skin cells
Vitamin B, necessary for battling hyperpigmentation
Vitamin C, for fighting free radical damage
Vitamin E, good for softening skin and removing scarring
Added to this allstar list, aloe juice also contains minerals including magnesium, potassium and zinc. These are all necessary for maintaining the structure of cell membranes in the skin, and allowing cells to rebuild collagen during the wound healing process. These minerals are bolstered by the presence of phytosterols, the naturally occurring cholesotral-like molecule found in plant foods. Phytosterols have been shown to delay the decline of collagen fiber, contributing to denser, bouncier and younger looking skin.
In other words, aloe juice is a healing ingredient not just for specific skin conditions and acne prone pores. Don’t forget about the benefits of aloe vera for skin when it comes to anti-aging – it delivers a shot of beneficial nutrients to help minimize the appearance of fine lines and supporting collagen production.
For more sensitive and dry skin types (plus sunburns, insect bites, and rashes), aloe is a must-have tonic and a classic homeopathic remedy. It acts as a humectant, providing a dose of vitamin filled H2O that is easily absorbable and light, providing deep hydration that replenishes the outer epidermal layer. It penetrates skin quickly, delivering a host of vitamins and pulling moisture from the air into your skin all day long. .
With its unique cooling sensation, you can also apply aloe vera to soothe the heat and irritation that you might experience after using an overly strong conventional chemical beauty product. A good example would be a stripping acne foam or a high intensity lab-derived peel. It might be better for some skin types to ditch these harsh treatments altogether, but if you’re in need of damage control, aloe water can be a smart and skin-loving tool. If you’re battling sensitive skin, reference our Sensitive Skin Guide for more helpful tips and general guidelines.
In Puristry products, aloe juice often stars as the base ingredient. It provides a soothing and H2O-filled foundation, which supports the integration of other active ingredients that require dilution (think fruit acids and essential oils). It’s a slightly more beneficial base than pure H2O on its own, rich in minerals that support skin elasticity and healing. Plain water has a lack of serious benefits and therefore isn’t necessarily beneficial to apply to dry skin, and can even reduce the effectiveness of other active ingredients. We dissect the details of these essential skin care processes in our How to Hydrate Skin With More Than Water Guide.
With this in mind, our Nopal Cactus Cleanser relies on a base of organic aloe water instead of plain water. It’s also amped up with a small amount of vegetable glycerin, which softens and smoothes skin with a PH level that mimics your skin’s ideal conditions. The formula features organic nopal cactus extract for a powerful dose of antioxidants, plus cedarwood bark oil for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Aloe water delivers these ingredients in the right dilution, ensuring easy absorption and reduced evaporation. As an ideal base, it you’ll find it high on the ingredient list in several Puristry formulas.
So what important lessons have we learned from our research? Aloe water is a must-have staple — meaning Cleopatra had the right idea from the start!