If there’s one all-natural ingredient that’s been praised for decades (if not centuries) for it’s skin-nourishing benefits, it’s aloe vera. Whether we’re soothing a post-vacay sunburn, or just need some quick hydration, we’ve all turned to aloe vera gel at some point. It’s been the ol’ reliable for skincare — but could it be that this natural derivative isn’t as good for your skin as you’d think? Below, we talked to our go-to skincare experts for the good, the bad, and the ugly of skincare’s most beloved natural ingredient.
The Expert Debate on Aloe Vera
As we all know, aloe vera does have a few nourishing benefits. According to celebrity esthetician Joanna Vargas, it’s quite the skincare hero: “Aloe Vera is an amazing basic ingredient for caring for sensitive skin,” she says. “It’s hydrating and anti-inflammatory. “
“Aloe is great for sensitive skin conditions like eczema to calm the inflammation,” adds Kerry Benjamin, licensed esthetician and founder of StackedSkincare. “It also has antioxidants to protect the skin, can heal burns, and help reduce acneic breakouts.”
Anti-inflammatory; antioxidants; sounds pretty good, right? Well, according to celebrity esthetician Eileen Feighny, aloe vera is good in theory on it’s own, but many of the aloe-infused products we use raise some red flags.
“Aloe Vera is extremely hydrating for the skin, and can instantly soothe a sunburn or wind rash,” Feighny says. “However, most drug store products that say ‘Aloe Vera Gel’ contain almost nothing or no Aloe Vera gel, so refrain from purchasing these products.”
Feighny and Benjamin also note that aloe vera naturally contains latex, which can trigger allergic reactions and other skin issues. “Aloe Vera leaves contain latex, a yellow liquid which can cause contact dermatitis,” says Feighny. “If you are using fresh cut Aloe, be sure to filet only the inner most gel of the leaf. Leave the layer closest to the skin as you don’t want to use this part or any part of the skin.”
So, if you have an allergy to latex, you may want to stay away from aloe vera. But, these downsides shouldn’t refrain the rest of you from aloe’s nourishing benefits forever. Both Benjamin and Vargas believe that this natural ingredient can easily be tied into your skincare routines. “I would use it to soothe any acute problem like a sunburn,” says Vargas. “Just on clean skin, overnight. “
” You can use it to moisturize, before SPF to protect against UV, and after sun exposure to soothe skin,” adds Benjamin. “Products should always be applied thinnest to thickest, so apply aloe after cleansing, and serums.”
If you need to refresh your skincare haul with some quenching aloe vera, then check out some of these top-quality aloe-infused products, below.
Joanna Vargas Euphoria Face Mask
“If you’re stressed and you know you’re stressed, the Euphoria Face Mask is amazing to really calm down inflammation and soothe the skin,” says Vargas.
Peach & Lily Secret Soft Peeling Gel
Exfoliation is key to a radiant, smooth complexion, but sometimes our grainy scrubs can cause more irritating damage than good. That’s why we switched over to this aloe vera-infused exfoliator. It also contains hydrating glycerin to give your skin an added hydration boost as it rids your pores of clogging dirt and grime.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Cleanser
Does your skin feel a little too clean after washing it? That’s because your facial cleanser is over-stripping your skin of it’s essential natural oils. So, make the switch to this cleanser, which hydrates your skin with aloe vera as it gives you a much-needed detox.
Kiehl’s Deluxe Hand & Body Lotion With Aloe Vera & Oatmeal
Not only does this soothing lotion smell amazing, but it’s also packed with moisturizing aloe. Plus, it also contains oatmeal, which is known to help soothe inflammation and irritation on dry, sensitive skin.
Mario Badescu Aloe Vera Toner
This cult-favorite toner is a godsend for all dry skin types. It’s alcohol-free, so it won’t deprive your skin of much-needed moisture, and it’s filled with aloe vera to give your skin some plumping, calming hydration.
StackedSkincare Activating EGF Serum
COSRX Aloe Vera Oil-Free Moisture Cream
This oil-free cream will give thirsty skin all of the quenching it needs, without leaving a greasy feel or tacky residue, making it a great pick for all skin types — even oily skin!