By Kristin Canning
Aloe vera gel is a champion multitasker: The gooey stuff can do so much more than soothe a sunburn. Whether you pick up a bottle of 100% pure aloe vera ($6)—or buy a potted plant (for around $10) and use the juice from cut leaves as needed—it’s worth every penny. You can use aloe vera on everything from acne to minor wounds to irritation caused by eczema or rosacea. It can even help zap a cold sore. Read on for seven dermatologist-approved tips.
Aloe vera can help clear up breakouts
Aloe vera contains salicylic acid and other antiseptic compounds that kill off the bacteria that cause acne, says Francesca Fusco, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. That makes it a great natural remedy for breakouts, and an excellent cleanser for the skin. One caveat: Before you apply aloe vera to inflamed skin, do a patch test elsewhere in your body. In rare cases, it can cause a reaction in highly sensitive people, says Dr. Fusco.
It moisturizes dry skin
Aloe vera is packed with minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, and E, which all work together to reinforce the skin’s barrier. “It’s incredibly moisturizing,” says Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and author of Skin Rules. Aloe also contains polyphenols, which appear to protect against skin cancer and free radicals that age the skin, says Dr. Jaliman.
It can soothe irritated skin
Apply it to minor burns and wounds
In addition to antibacterial properties, aloe vera contains compounds that can reduce inflammation, says Dr. Fusco. The juice is also super hydrating, so it may help boost the skin’s elasticity as it heals. One review of scientific…