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The aloe vera cactus has been esteemed by healers since the days of ancient Egypt, and its value to modern-day medicine is only being further confirmed as research into its 75 active ingredients uncovers more benefits across the well-being spectrum. Here are six excellent ways to use it for healthier, better-looking skin.

Antibacterial Moisturizer

Aloe vera makes an excellent moisturizer for your face and hands. It will gently hydrate your skin without leaving behind an oily film that can clog pores, while its antimicrobial agents including salicylic acid cleanse and rejuvenate. What’s more, using aloe vera as a daily moisturizer means that the many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds it contains can constantly work to keep your skin in perfect condition.

There are many commercial moisturizers on the market containing aloe vera, but a cost-effective solution is to mix a few drops of pure aloe vera oil or gel into a normal, non-medicated moisturizing cream and use as normal.

Anti-Aging Therapy

Although nothing can completely halt the march of time, aloe vera has been shown again and again to help reduce the more obvious signs of aging skin. Its moisturising properties help to lessen the visibility of surface wrinkles and lines, while its ability to repair damaged tissue at the cellular level helps to develop a healthy, supple foundation. Lastly, the two compounds aloin and aloesin both reduce inflammation, helping to prevent deterioration caused by exposure to sun, pollution, and harsh weather.  All this is of great benefit in keeping your skin looking healthier and more youthful.

Stretch Marks (Striae) Lightening

Rapid changes in the size of your body, whether through pregnancy or weight loss, can leave their legacy in the form of stretch marks, or striae as they’re medically known. As the skin expands and contracts, it suffers minor damage at a microscopic level, and this becomes visible as long, thin lines which are a different color to the surrounding skin. Applying aloe vera gel or cream to the affected area can reduce the swelling and start to heal the underlying tears, making the striae much less visible over time.

Natural Sunburn Remedy

Aloe vera’s natural anti-inflammatory effects also work as a treatment for mildly sunburned skin, reducing tenderness and also stimulating the regeneration of damaged cells in the upper dermal layers. While it’s always preferable to avoid over-exposure to the sun in the first place, and severe cases of sunburn should be treated medically, if you feel that characteristic tingling feeling after spending time in the sun then aloe vera cream makes a soothing balm to take the heat out of the situation.

Emergency Wound Treatment

As well as having a long history as a traditional remedy for skin problems, aloe vera has also been the subject of military research into the treatment of severe burns. However, it is also useful for much less acute injuries; creams and sprays containing aloe vera extracts are highly valuable as an emergency treatment for minor wounds such as shallow cuts or grazes. The antibacterial and anti-fungal ingredients will reduce the risk of infection, while the two hormones auxin and gibberellin work to reduce swelling and promote healing.

Acne and Pimple Reduction

Lastly, aloe vera is a strong ally in the fight against acne and other pimples. Its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties cleanse the skin and remove the germs and impurities that can spark an outbreak. Alongside this, its anti-inflammatory agents reduce skin swelling and help to shorten and reduce the severity of a flare-up. Concentrated aloe vera gel can be applied directly to a pimple or across an affected area, or it can be mixed with a moisturizer for daily preventative use.

The web is awash with claims that one plant extract or another can work miracles for skin care. However, aloe vera has the history and research to back up its promises. It’s widely available and has no significant side effects, and its value has been confirmed time and again. Shouldn’t you be making space for it in your own skin care regimen?

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Healthy Skin: 4 Sun Safe Tips To Stay Safe In Heavy Sunlight

Sun Safe Tips for Staying Healthy & Gorgeous in the Sun

by Christina Schneider, MPH

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one American dies every hour from preventable melanomas. Long-term sun exposure damages your skin and leaves it discolored and wrinkled, so staying healthy and beautiful go hand in hand, especially when you’re outside around the garden or homestead. You don’t have to give up beach vacations or stay inside forever to prevent cancer and keep your skin looking great. Follow these four sun safe tips to protect yourself before heading outdoors.

Protect Your Eyes

You can’t get a sunburn on your eyes, but you can damage them permanently with too much sunlight. Plus, your eye region can get skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 5-10% of all skin cancers affect the eyelid. You don’t want to smear sunscreen on your eyelids because it can drip into your eyes and irritate them, but you can implement other sun safe tips to keep your peepers healthy. First, wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside. Choose shades that block UVA and UVB light. Second, wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers your entire forehead and eye area.

Choose a Hat

Hats do more than protect your eyes. They also shade your face and neck, the two most important areas to keep healthy for long-term beauty. Protecting your delicate facial skin from sunburns helps fight wrinkles, spotting, and other unsightly damage. If you prefer small-brimmed hats or ball caps, be sure to use sunscreen on the back of your neck, ears, and other exposed areas.

Wear Protective Clothing

Imagine a stereotypical desert dweller. Most people will conjure up a nomad with fully covered arms and legs underneath a long robe. Now think about what you normally wear to the beach or outside on a hot day; you probably show a lot more skin than your imaginary friend from the desert. Although it’s common to strip down when the weather heats up, you are doing long-term damage to your skin by not covering up. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you should protect yourself from UV rays by wearing long pants or skirts and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors. Synthetic materials like nylon, rayon, and acrylic provide the greatest levels of protection.

Use Sunscreen

Even if you wear sunglasses, protective clothing, and a hat, you still need to use sunscreen to cover your exposed skin. Choose products with a sun protective factor (SPF) of at least 15 and reapply every 2 hours. If you’re going to push long sleeves up your arms, cover your forearms and the back of your hands with sunscreen, and be sure to cover your neck, chest, and back.

Whether you’re headed for a safari or just want to know how to make it through summer without a sunburn, these four sun safe tips will help keep you safe. If your friends or family make fun of your efforts to protect yourself, just remember that you’ll have the last laugh when they’re suffering through a sunburn and you’re not. By making smart decisions, you can keep your skin healthy and beautiful for years to come.


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