7 science-backed reasons you need Aloe in your summer skincare routine
It has been called the plant of immortality in Egypt, for the right reasons. Slice it from the middle and the slithery pulp oozes from the transection of a fleshy aloe leaf, giving away its origins of surviving the harsh Arab deserts, where this succulent first grew. Having survived highly drying conditions of the regions, the plant evolved to store water in its leaves, a feature that makes the plant a natural go-to for hydration and moisturizing needs. But did you know there are 240 varieties of aloe in nature and not all of them are useful? In fact, only a handful of them is really recommended for therapeutic purposes. As historic heatwaves course over the Americas, stepping out in the summer can mean aggravated pitta dosha, sunburn, pigmentation, and dryness. Aloe can help manage all four during summer, and here’s why you need it as part of your skincare routine.
In the science of Ayurveda, aloe vera is called Ghrita Kumari meaning a ‘young girl.’ The nomenclature could be because of its regenerative and anti-aging properties for women. Though it is commonly found in parts of Europe, Egypt, Asia, and South America, aloe vera can grow easily anywhere because it requires very little to survive. In fact, it can draw its nourishment from the air too! The fleshy part of the aloe leaf stores water and other important minerals. For our skin, aloe helps hydrate it longer; heals wounds and infections faster; moisturizes; delays aging; maintains skin texture; and provides important nourishment. As per Ayurveda, it is known to have four tastes-sweet, bitter (Aloeh in Arabic means bitter substance), astringent, and spicy though it has a sweet aftertaste. According to Ayurveda, It balances all the three doshas or the three fundamental bio-energies that govern life forms.
1. More than 75 nutrients
Among the 240 varieties, aloe barbadensis is the only variety of aloe vera that can be used for its myriad benefits for healthy skin and body. For example, it has 75 active nutrients including
- vitamins-a, group B, C and, E; which are powerful sources of antioxidants, that help neutralize rogue free radicals and prevent skin aging.
- minerals such as calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, potassium, manganese, germanium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc needed by the body for the proper enzyme functions and improved metabolism.
- sugars such as monosaccharides-glucose and fructose; and polysaccharides such as glucomannan are present in this member of the Liliaceae family, which helps lock in moisture. More recently anti-allergic glycoprotein strains and anti-inflammatory compounds such as C-glycosyl chromone have been scientifically isolated from the gel.
- 7 essential and 11 non-essential amino acids such as isoleucine, leucine, lysine, threonine, asparagine, glutamic acid, alanine, glycine, among others are present in aloe vera. Amino acids act as building blocks of peptides and proteins essential for their ability to reproduce their own antioxidants, to carry moisture throughout the skin, and hydrate, that increases aloe’s penetrative quality.
- 12 phenolic compounds called anthraquinones are popular laxatives. Among them, aloin and emodin are known for pain-relieving, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
2. Improves collagen production that delays aging
The interaction of sugars like glucomannan and growth hormones like gibberellin in aloe increases collagen and elastin synthesis after topical use. Collagen regulates the skin’s texture and makes your skin look plump, elastic, and soft, and is essential for your skin to prevent premature aging and the development of wrinkles. Application of aloe vera gel also increases the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and dermatan sulfate. (also read- 5 benefits of hyaluronic acid for skin aging)
Shankara’s Anti-age serum is a 100% active serum that combines the goodness of as many as a dozen and rarer herbal ingredients and natural actives including Gotu kola, sandalwood, mandarin, Echinacea Purpurea, ashwagandha, neem, gooseberries, sodium hyaluronate and chamae rose to deeply moisturize and rejuvenate your skin making it visibly brighter and healthier. Brahmi, a key ingredient in the serum, is rich in antioxidants and enhances rejuvenation and oxygenation. Chamae Rose is energizing, rejuvenating, and supports natural skin renewal. Liposome ATP extract is derived from milk protein and is able to energize and hydrate the skin while supporting healthy aging.
3. Moisturizes and hydrates the skin
The sugars present in aloe, also called Mucopolysaccharides help to retain moisture or water in the skin. During the summers, when our skin tends to lose moisture quickly, we need hydrating moisturizers with aloe vera to keep the skin from drying up fast. Zinc present in it improves the cohesion between epidermal cells, tightens skin pores and prevents flaking. The amino acids help soften the harder skin cells.
In studies carried out among people who have dry skin due to occupational exposure, use of aloe vera in making their gloves helped improve the integrity of the skin, reduce wrinkles and skin redness.
You need a body lotion with aloe vera that makes the moisturizing action last, like Shankara’s Hydrating Body Silk, that simultaneously calms, soothes, hydrates, and offers relief for the most sensitive and irritated skin.
Shankara’s Hydrating Body Silk, made from the goodness of over 20 rare active herbs and nutrients contains along with aloe barbadensis; sandalwood which is known for its cooling properties and ability to soothe and purify the skin; calendula calms and soothes skin sensitivities; shea butter which is richly moisturizing with calming and soothing properties; sunflower oleic oil, polysaccharide-peptide composite; almond oil; jojoba oil; aspen bark extract; Vegetable wax; amino acids; kokam butter; vitamin E Tocopherol; essential oils like rose absolute, mandarin, extracts of green tea, sunflower seed, shatavari, amla, chamomile, chamae rose, ashwagandha, neem, lavender, licorice and fulvic minerals; and sodium hyaluronate.
4. It is anti-inflammatory
In the summer the skin is prone to rashes, inflammation, itching and flaking skin due to high temperatures and humidity. But more recently, anti-inflammatory compounds have been isolated from aleo vera gel extracts, confirming its anti-inflammatory potential for the skin. Aloe vera has also been found helpful in treating symptoms of inflammatory disorders like psoriasis and eczema. Bradykinase, one of the enzymes present in aloe vera, helps to reduce excessive inflammation when applied to the skin topically.
5. Helpful against sun damage and exposure to UV/ gamma radiation
After a long winter and an annoyingly long lockdown, it is difficult to stay indoors anymore. We may be willing to sport a tan and risk exposure to the summer sun, even. Maybe aloe can help us manage some of that. Aloe is the natural soother for mild sunburns. Research has shown, aloe has a protective effect against damage from sun radiation. Animal studies have shown, aloe has helped redress radiation-related skin reactions in mice. Studies have also shown, applying aloe vera releases a powerful antioxidant called metallotheionein that scavenges free radicals and supports enzymatic action in breaking down harmful oxygen molecules, thus preventing skin aging problems and the appearance of fine lines that occur as a result of exposure to UV radiation.
6. Suitable for facial masks
Compatible with all skin types, aloe is one ingredient that can go into preparing a face mask for any type of skin, for the summer. It doesn’t matter whether it is an oily skin; itchy, flaky skin; dry skin or combination skin. Specifically in the summer, when you return from a beach trip or an outdoor adventure, your skin needs something cooling, hydrating, UV-protective, something to help you de-tan. There is nothing better than aloe vera to do the job, but it works even better in combination with specific herbs and actives, for better and faster healing.
Shankara’s Calming mask or the algae-aloe gel mask soothes and calms sensitive skin for instance, cooling relief. Ideal for all skin types, the blue chamomile and cucumber help ease temporary redness and irritation, while coconut oil nourishes and hydrates the skin. It also boasts of other exotic herbs and active ingredients like structured energized water; glycerin (veg.); fractionated coconut oil; oat flour; cucumber powder; carbohydrate complex; amino acids; spirulina; xanthan gum; green tea extract; Lavender essential oil (EO); Golden Flax extract; CO2 extract of Seabuckthorn berry; rosemary EO; neem extract; chamomile extract; sodium hyaluronate; lemon balm extract; oregano leaf extract, thyme extract, olive leaf extract, lavender flower extract, golden seal root extract; CO2 extract of calendula; Gotu Kola extract; Fulvic minerals; Amla extract; Ashwagandha extract; Calendula extract; Chamae Rose extract; Rose extract; and Life Everlasting extract.
7. Increases the skin tone
One of the most commonly known benefits of Aloe Vera is that it helps improve your skin tone. Apart from topical applications, consuming 1 teaspoon of Aloe Vera pulp every day substantially helps lighten your skin tone. Also if you have a hectic work life and poor sleep as a result of it, you could be more prone to developing dark circles under the eyes. Applying the Aloe Vera-based eye creams over the affected area also clears up dark circles and patches.
With all these benefits and more, aloe vera is your friend for summer skin, though it is advisable to do a patch test before applying it in the gel form, or as an ingredient in your moisturizer, serum or cleanser.