I’ve decided that I’m going to talk about aloe vera in one post both for acne and rosacea. Why? Because aloe vera is one of those very rare remedies that work for both conditions.
I find that most of the time acne products will be harsh on rosacea skin and certain products for rosacea might further aggravate acne as they are too rich and run the risk of encouraging sebum production. Hopefully by this time most people with both conditions would have researched and understood the differences between these two conditions. It is very easy to confuse and sometimes misdiagnose rosacea as sometimes it can look like acne.
So let’s look at aloe vera then. I first started using aloe vera on sunburns or as an alternative to body lotion in the summer as it’s very light and leaves the skin silky smooth. This spring I had a flare up of my acne as I have decided to stop taking saw palmetto. I took it for a good few months (2 full bottles of 60 tablets each to be more precise) and then stopped to see if acne would come back (it did!). I am one of those people that find it very hard NOT to touch their acne. I always pop / squeeze them out and that will leave my skin with an open wound. Of course I would not encourage anyone to do this themselves but at the same time I understand those who feel the need to do it. As a result scarring can easily occur, although I have always been lucky in that my skin doesn’t scar easily. I have a load of scars on my back (according to my beautician) but not on my face as I use creams and oils and that helps in healing the skin and sort of preventing scars. On the rare* occasion (*cough..) that I manage to squeeze a spot to the point of no return, I need some serious wound healing magic to calm and soothe the area as well as help in the healing process. This is where aloe vera comes in.
I have started using it on my face when I noticed that a scar was not willing to disappear off of my face. It is not a miracle cure so don’t expect this to work instantly in erasing the marks, however the calming effects are pretty instant. It soothes the redness, which is where the rosacea benefits come in. It works by strengthening the skin from the inside. It has anti inflammatory properties and contains vitamins that are even good for aging (like vitamin C and E).
You don’t have to necessarily buy aloe gel in the shop (although it’s more convenient), it’s enough if you get the plant and that should work out cheaper in the long run. I have first bought the plant but as I got quite busy in life, I found that it’s more convenient and quicker to use the gel in the tube.
Here is my plant, that by now sits in two pots as it grows really quick if you know how to take good care of it. It should not sit in blaring sunlight but sunny enough for photosynthesis. It doesn’t like a lot of water as this plant is used to quite arid conditions. The way I used to use it is, I cut off a leaf and sliced it sideways (the leaf is quite thick so it allows you to do that). Once I sliced it, it can be applied directly on the skin. Just make sure you cut off the little spikes that grow on the edge of the leaf as you can scratch yourself with them.
The gel that I decided to buy is from Holland & Barrett from a company called Dr Organic. This is a maximum strength gel that they claim it’s like squeezing it straight from the plant. Well, as I have had the plant I can confirm that this is true. It works just as well as the gel applied straight from the plant. The only difference is that the shop bought gel sinks in faster and dries quicker compared to applying the leaf straight. The plant application is also a bit more slimy but I think that is because it hasn’t been processed yet.
There is one benefit that I personally noticed that I can’t see mentioned in the research that I have done on aloe vera. It makes my pores smaller. I have naturally larger pores and since starting aloe vera daily on my face I noticed that they are the smallest they have ever been. Usually my pores would only contract this small after a good old facial (with extraction of blackheads). As a result I noticed far less acne since that flare up, without taking the saw palmetto.
In terms of rosacea it is beneficial as I have mentioned the anti inflammatory properties of it. Since one of my triggers are stress, I noticed that while using it, even if I get upset my face would not go as red and the pinkiness that follows will then calm down a lot quicker. I really feel the strengthening effects of the gel, from all points of view. It’s nothing fancy I guess, I don’t really see this plant praised enough on beauty blogs.
Aloe Vera is also moisturizing so you might want to skip the face cream after using it. Although depending on the state and look of my skin, I might add a few skin care items on top. I will probably do a skincare “routine” post, albeit it’s not really a routine as I change it up depending on what my skin needs on the day.