About 9.4% of the population across the world is affected by acne, which makes it the eighth most prevalent disease in the world (1). Alarming, right? Almost all of us get acne at some point in our lives, and many of us try random home remedies to manage inflammation. Aloe vera is a popular home remedy that is used to soothe the skin. The extract of aloe vera is commonly used to heal minor rashes, cuts, and sunburns – and is equally effective for acne. In this article, we have discussed why aloe vera is good for acne and how you can use it. Scroll down.
In This Article
Is Aloe Vera Good For Acne? What Does Science Say?
Yes. Aloe vera can prevent acne as it has anti-inflammatory properties due to the sugars and fatty acids present in it (2). It has several other properties that make it a safe option for protecting your skin and preventing inflammation:
- Pure aloe vera gel contains about 75 active ingredients, which include amino acids, salicylic acid, lignins, vitamins, minerals, saponins, and enzymes (2).
- Aloe vera also promotes collagen synthesis and helps in fast healing of wounds and scars (2). This property is beneficial in healing acne scars.
- It protects your skin from inflammation, damage, and skin hypersensitivity caused by UV exposure (2).
- It also moisturizes your skin, promotes elastin and collagen production, and prevents the formation of wrinkles (2).
- The amino acids and zinc in aloe vera soften your skin and tighten the skin pores (2).
A study published in 2014 examined the effect of a combination of aloe vera gel and acne medication on 60 subjects. Researchers concluded that the combination of aloe vera gel (50%) and topical retinoids (0.5%) was much more effective in healing acne than placebo (3). Also, it was well tolerated by the subjects.
Another study evaluated the efficacy of a combination of propolis, tea tree oil, and aloe vera in healing acne lesions. It compared the results with another group that was treated with erythromycin cream. It concluded that the combination of aloe vera gel (10%), tea tree oil (3%), and propolis (20%) was more effective in reducing the severity of acne, total lesion count, and erythema scars (4).
You can even use aloe vera to treat pimples and inflammation. However, if you are allergic to aloe vera, using it on your skin may cause rashes and allergic reactions. Although topical aloe vera gel (pure) is safe for the skin, do a patch test to determine if you are allergic to it. Scroll down for some easy recipes to use aloe vera for acne.
How To Use Aloe Vera For Acne
1. Pure Aloe Vera Gel For Acne
What To Do: Cut the aloe leaf and scoop out the transparent, fleshy part with a spoon. Apply the aloe vera gel on your face, focusing on the affected area. Leave it on overnight. Rinse it off in the morning and repeat every day until the lesions heal.
2. Aloe Vera, Honey, And Cinnamon
As per an in vitro study, honey has an inhibitory action on Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus aureus, the acne-causing bacteria (5). Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties. A study involving 20 patients with mild to moderate acne found that cinnamon gel helped reduce acne (6).
What To Do: Mix two tablespoons of pure aloe vera gel with four tablespoons of honey and half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder or oil. Apply the mixture on the affected area and wash it off after 10 minutes. Repeat this every alternate day.
Note: Cinnamon powder might sting, so you can adjust the quantity as per your skin’s tolerance level.
3. Aloe Vera And Lemon Juice
Caution: Do not use this remedy if you have sensitive skin as lemon juice can cause redness and irritation. Excess lemon juice can also dry out your skin.
What To Do: Mix ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel. Apply the mixture on the affected area. Wash it off after it dries. Also, use sunscreen afterward if you are going out as lemon makes your skin photosensitive.
4. Aloe Vera And Tea Tree Oil
The topical application of 5% tea tree oil is beneficial in managing mild to moderate acne and reducing inflammation (8).
What To Do: Dilute 2-3 drops of tea tree oil in any carrier oil (jojoba or sweet almond or olive oil). Mix it with a tablespoon of honey and apply it to the affected area. Leave it on for 15 minutes before washing it off.
5. Aloe Vera Spray Or Face Mist
You can also make a facial mist with aloe vera and use it throughout the day to soothe your skin.
What To Do: Mix a tablespoon of aloe vera gel in 1 ½ cups of distilled water. Add 2-3 drops of any essential oil of your choice (do a patch test before using). Store this solution in a spray bottle and spritz it on your face whenever required. Remember to always shake the bottle well before use.
6. Aloe Vera, Sugar, And Oil Scrub
The accumulation of dead skin cells on your skin is one of the major factors that trigger acne (9). Scrubbing is an effective way to remove dead skin cells.
What To Do: Mix ¼ cup of aloe vera gel with ½ cup of jojoba oil and ½ cup of granulated sugar. Gently massage the scrub on your face before washing it off.
7. Aloe Vera And Apple Cider Vinegar
What To Do: Mix a teaspoon of aloe vera juice with one teaspoon of ACV and teaspoon of purified water. Apply the mixture as a toner on your face.
Note: Apple cider vinegar may not suit those with sensitive skin. Avoid using it if your skin is sensitive.
8. Aloe Vera And Almond Oil
Oils make a perfect base for any home remedy.
What To Do: Mix one teaspoon of aloe vera gel with 3-4 drops of sweet almond oil (or any other oil of your choice) and apply it to your face. Wash it off after a few minutes.
9. Aloe Vera Gel, Cucumber, And Rose Water
What To Do: Mix a teaspoon each of cucumber juice, rose water, and aloe vera gel. Use a cotton ball to apply the mixture on the affected area or all over your face. Wash it off after it dries.
Though aloe vera is an effective treatment for acne, it also comes with potential risks. Check them out below.
Potential Risks Of Using Aloe Vera For Acne
People who are allergic to tulips, garlic, and onions are usually allergic to aloe vera, as well. Hence, it is better to do an allergy test before using aloe vera on your skin.
Avoid applying aloe vera to deep cuts and severe burns.
Topical aloe vera is usually not harmful to the skin (unless you are allergic to it), and an allergic reaction to topical aloe vera is rare. However, there was one case where a 72-year-old woman, who had been using home-made aloe vera juice on her legs, developed allergic dermatitis on her legs and erythema on her eyelids (13).
Avoid ingesting aloe vera. It contains latex, which is a laxative. It may cause diarrhea, pseudomelanosis coli, kidney failure, hypokalemia, and other hypersensitive reactions (14). Moreover, it may interact with the other medications you may be taking and reduce their absorption and effectiveness. Consult a doctor if you are considering taking aloe vera orally.
If you have mild to moderate acne, you can use aloe vera gel for treating it. We are not referring to store-bought aloe vera gel but the sap that you get when you cut the aloe vera leaf.
People have been using aloe vera for centuries now for treating skin issues. Hence, it is a good idea to incorporate aloe vera into your skincare routine. Although there are very rare chances of aloe vera causing any serious side effects, it is better to be aware of the associated risks.
Do not rely on aloe vera alone to make your acne disappear. Use it to ease the pain and aid healing, but consult your doctor to address the root cause of the issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use aloe vera for pimples and dark spots?
You can use it for pimples. However, it may not help reduce dark spots.
Can I use aloe vera for acne scars?
You can use it to soothe your skin, but it is not very effective on acne scars. Use aloe vera on acne to prevent scarring.
Does drinking aloe vera gel help with acne?
A study found that oral ingestion of pure aloe vera gel helped reduce mild acne (15). However, oral aloe vera may also cause toxicity and skin rashes (due to the presence of latex). Consult a doctor before ingesting aloe vera.
- A global perspective on the epidemiology of acne, British Journal of Dermatology, Wiley Online Library.
- Aloe Vera: A short Review, Indian Journal of Dermatology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Effect of Aloe vera topical gel combined with tretinoin in treatment of mild and moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, prospective trial, The Journal of Dermatological Treatment, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Treatment of acne with a combination of propolis, tea tree oil, and Aloe vera compared to erythromycin cream: two double-blind investigations, Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Application, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Honey: A Therapeutic Agent for Disorders of the Skin, Central Asian Journal of Global Health, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Efficacy of topical cinnamon gel for the treatment of facial acne vulgaris: A preliminary study, Biomedical Research, and Therapy, BioMedPress.
- Development of a lemon cutting machine, Journal of Food Science and Technology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study., Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Acne: Overview, InformedHealth, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression, Scientific Reports, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Treatment Modalities for Acne, Molecules, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber, Fitoterapia, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Allergic contact dermatitis to Aloe vera, Contact Dermatitis, ResearchGate.
- Aloe vera: A review of toxicity and adverse clinical effects, Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part C, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Aloe vera Juice and Acne Vulgaris: A Placebo-Controlled Study, Asian Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Science Alert.
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