Aloe Vera has been used in skin care products for thousands of years, being mentioned not only in the New Testament of the Bible, but also in ancient Egyptian and Chinese medicine. Most ancient applications appear to be connected with skin care and the treatment of burns, although it is also recorded as having found applications in the easing of constipation and the treatment of conditions connected with the immune system and the cardiovascular system.
However, it is for its use in skin care products that we are concerned with aloe vera here, and among its many properties it is a powerful antioxidant that destroys the free radicals that cause a great deal of damage to skin cells, effectively destroying them. It also aids in the healing of skin damage by supporting the growth of new skin tissue, and finds application on the treatment of such conditions as eczema and psoriasis.
Extensive research and analysis has been carried out on aloe vera in an attempt to establish the nature of the active ingredients, and it is evident that there is no single substance responsible for its wide range of skin care properties. In fact, over 150 different active substances have been found in the extract, including the antioxidant anthraquinones, also possessing antibacterial and antiviral properties, plant sterols that reduce the inflammation of acne and other inflammatory skin conditions, most of the B vitamins, salicylic acid, saponins and a number of other phytochemicals that not only help to maintain the health of your skin, but also of your entire body.
In common with several other components of aloe vera, Vitamins A, E and C are strong antioxidants that help to keep your skin looking young in spite of the pollution to which modern living exposes it. It's not only the UV light in sunlight that generates the free radicals that destroys your skin cells, but also pollution from tobacco smoke, traffic and industrial emissions and modern pesticides used to keep your fruit and vegetables blemish free – but not your skin!
Antioxidants destroy these free radicals as soon as they are generated and so prevent the damage that can make your skin look tough and leathery well before its time. In order to protect your skin effectively in this way you have to use a lot of aloe vera, so skin care preparations containing small amounts will have little effect. The extract also contains the antioxidant minerals zinc and selenium, and others such as polysaccharides and flavanoids, all working together in different ways to maintain a healthy, smooth and youthful looking skin.
This natural chemical broth protects you even under the hottest sun, although you should still use sun blocker to prevent other damaging effects of the UV radiation that hot sun contains. Of all the natural skin care products available today, aloe vera is likely the best known and is certainly one of the most powerful. If you want to stay looking younger for longer then use nature's own antioxidants, although if you are pregnant check with your doctor first because it has been known to initiate uterine contractions.