Does aloe vera help acne? How do you use this natural remedy to get rid of acne pimples, scars and blemishes? Continue reading to learn this and more about aloe vera acne treatment, including how to use aloe vera gel or juice to heal pimples and scars.
What Is Aloe Vera?
The healing properties of aloe vera have been recognized for over 2000 years with the plant being used in herbal medicine to treat cuts, scrapes, burns etc.
Scientists think that the healing abilities of Aloe vera is due to synergy between the 75 bioactive compounds in it.
Science behind Aloe Vera Acne Scars and Pimples TreatmentAloe vera is increasingly recognized for treatment of acne pimples and scars with many aloe vera based products making it to the shelves in recent past. To better understand aloe vera acne treatment, it is perhaps a good idea to first reflect on what acne pimples and scars really are.
Acne occurs when skin pores become clogged with dead skin cells, excess sebum – skin oil – and skin bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes). Acne “pimples” appear more commonly on the face but they can also appear on the chest, back, and shoulders. Cystic acne is more severe and stubborn.
Teenage acne is what we are mostly aware of, but adult acne is as much a significant concern, for example, women tend to get hormonal acne due to hormonal fluctuations associated with menstrual cycles, pregnancy, etc. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, almost 85 percent of the population will get acne at some point in their lives.
How Aloe Vera Helps To Treat AcneAloe vera acne treatment is supported by numerous scientific studies. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, one study involving sixty participants with mild to moderate acne found that using a retinoid cream (tretinoin) in combination with aloe vera was more effective for treatment of acne pimples and lesions than using the retinoid cream alone.
The 30 patients who were treated with aloe vera alongside a retinoid cream had their acne heal faster than their counterparts who were treated with retinoid cream only. The healing potency of aloe vera for acne and other skin conditions e.g. psoriasis has been linked to its abundance of bioactive compounds and their healing properties including:
- Among the many phytochemicals in aloe vera are gibberellins and polysaccharides – with glucomannan being the most significant amongst the polysaccharides – which give it potent antibacterial properties. The ability to kill the bacteria in acne pimples and cysts as well as the redness due to their inflammation forms the most significant basis for aloe vera acne treatment.
- As a natural astringent, aloe vera is claimed to help tighten the pores and push dead skin cells, dirt, and excess oil out. That way it lay the ground for acne healing.
- According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, aloe vera contains phytochemicals known as glycoproteins which reduce acne inflammation, redness, and soreness (e.g. due to cystic acne 50) and thus promote faster healing of pimples.
- The glycoproteins in aloe vera helps to speed up the healing process for acne pimples, cysts, scars, etc. by reducing inflammation. They also help to get rid of the red marks (blemishes) due to the skin inflammation.
- Aloe vera is loaded with vitamins C and E and antioxidants which help to heal and fade acne scars faster.
Now an important fact about aloe vera acne treatment need to be pointed out at this point: Aloe vera may help to treat existing breakouts of pimples and cysts but will not cure the condition and prevent the formation of new pimples. You need to treat acne holistically by watching your diet and lifestyle even as you topically treat the symptoms.
For best results, use an aloe vera leaf cut that has been cut from close to the ground i.e. near the roots.
Aloe Vera for Acne ScarsNow does aloe vera help acne scars? Yes it does. Aloe vera is a fantastic safe and gentle alternative to expensive and painful scar removal procedures such as glycolic peels and laser resurfacing.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, aloe vera is rich in polysaccharides which help to “stimulate skin growth and repair”. That is good for acne scars; it makes them heal faster. The glycoproteins in aloe vera also helps to reduce acne inflammation and marks which in turn helps to make acne scars less noticeable. In addition to getting rid of existing acne scars, aloe vera can also help to prevent the formation of new ones.
As for how to use aloe vera for acne scars, simply squeeze fresh juice from a fresh aloe vera leaf and apply it directly on the scar tissues two times each day.
It may take a few days to a couple week 2 weeks (e.g. for new acne scars) or as long as a year or two (e.g. for deep, old acne scars) for the scar to fully heal and fade away.
Now, will aloe vera help all acne scars? No, it is not a miracle cure. There are some experts also who argue that aloe vera acne treatment is only effective for indented acne scars and will do little to help raised (hypertrophic) acne scars. All in all, aloe vera is still worthwhile a natural remedy to try judging from online reviews.
Don't use aloe vera for acne scars or pimple breakouts treatment if you are allergic to onions, garlic, turnips or any other plant in the liliaceae family
How to Use Aloe Vera for AcneAloe vera can be used in one of two forms: aloe vera gel and aloe vera juice. The juice form juice gives the most potent aloe vera acne treatment. Aloe vera juice is the yellowish liquid that flows out of an aloe vera leaf when its surface is cut open. It can be consumed orally. Aloe vera gel, on the other hand, is the fleshy, clear jelly-like gel that is obtained from the interior part of aloe leaves. It is only safe when used topically.
Fresh aloe vera juice or gel makes for the most potent aloe vera acne treatment – compared to commercial aloe vera gels and creams – because the pasteurization process reduces (but not deplete) the active bio compounds in commercial aloe vera gels a bit.
With that clarification made, let us now have an outline of how to use aloe vera for acne treatment:
1. Aloe Vera Gel Acne TreatmentThis is the easiest way to treat acne scars and pimples with aloe vera.
- Cut off the leaf of an aloe vera plant with the help of a knife and then slit it open along the length to expose the gel inside.
- Cleanse your face thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and then apply the aloe vera gel by rubbing the leaf onto the affected areas.
- Allow the gel to stay on for 5 minutes, then wash it off with cool water. For more effective treatment of severe and deep/old acne scars, you may want to leave the gel on overnight.
- Apply a good, oil-free moisturizing cream.
- Repeat this home remedy 2 times daily until the pimples and scars fully heal.
2. Aloe Vera and Lemon Cleanser for Spot Treatment
- Slit an aloe vera leaf open and then squeeze out the gel from it.
- Blend the gel to make a fine paste.
- Pour in 2-3 drops of freshly prepared lemon or lime juice, mix thoroughly, and then refrigerate for some time.
- Apply the refrigerated aloe vera gel-lemon juice mixture to the spots-affected areas of your face at bedtime.
- Rinse it off the next morning with water.
- Repeat the process regularly, if not every day, and those pimples and scars will soon be forgotten.
3. Aloe Vera Gel Face Mask for Acne TreatmentApplying this natural remedy as a face mask makes for an even more effective aloe vera acne treatment especially for scars.
- To fresh aloe vera gel, add some honey followed by enough rose water to make a fine paste that is easy to work through the skin. You may also add in a little turmeric to brighten your complexion.
- Apply the paste all over the face.
- Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
- Apply the mask once daily until you get rid of acne scars and breakouts.
4. Aloe Vera Soap for Acne TreatmentThere is a whole array of aloe vera-based product nowadays ranging from facial cleansers to soaps that you can as well use to tap into the acne treatment benefits of this natural remedy. You will especially want to look for a soap that features glycerin as the main active ingredients. This is less likely to leave your facial skin dry, which may in turn worsen acne by increasing oil production in the skin.
As for how to use these aloe vera based products for the best results, simply wash your face with warm water and the cleanser or soap of your choice twice daily, in the morning and evening.
5. Aloe Vera Plant Face Mask for AcneIn addition to the aloe vera gel mask outlined earlier on, you can as well prepare a face mask using a mixture of actual aloe vera leaf and honey as explained below.
- Boil a fresh aloe vera leaf in water for 5 minutes or so to make it soft.
- Crush the leaf into a fine paste.
- Add some honey and mix thoroughly until you get a finely blended mixture.
- Apply the mixture to your face as a mask, spreading it gently in circular motions.
- Leave it on for 20-25 minutes and then rinse your face with cool water.
- Repeat this process regularly for the best aloe vera acne treatment results.
6. Aloe Vera Juice for Acne Scars and Pimples TreatmentAs already mentioned, both aloe vera gel and juice are effective in getting rid of acne. The easiest way to use aloe vera juice for the purpose is outlined below:
- Cut an aloe vera leaf into many pieces and soak them in a small amount of water for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Apply the resulting water - aloe vera solution onto the face using a small cotton ball.
- Allow the solution to work into the skin for one hour, then splash cool water onto the skin.
- Repeat this process once daily to not only heal pimples and scars but also nourish and moisturize the skin.
7. Take Aloe Vera Juice Internally (Drink) for AcneSo far we have explored how to use aloe vera topically for acne treatment, but there is as well the option of taking the herb orally. According to the UMMC, the glycoproteins and polysaccharides in aloe vera can help to stimulate the immune system.
Oral intake of aloe vera is one very controversial topic, with some people claiming that you should not take aloe vera internally at all and others claiming that aloe vera juice is safe to take orally but aloe vera gel is not. See the last section for some of the side-effects associated with aloe vera acne treatment.
Here is one aloe vera recipe that you may want to consider for pimples and scars alleviation:
- Cut a large leaf from an aloe vera plant with a knife.
- Wash the leaf thoroughly to rid it of all dirt.
- Squeeze the leaf to collect the juice dripping from it. Tip: Once the leaf stops dripping, make a new cut further along.
- Blend the aloe vera juice with freshly prepared carrot juice and savor the drink.
- Repeat this process regularly to tap into the oral treatment power of aloe vera.
Best Aloe Vera for Acne Scars and Pimples TreatmentAs already mentioned, pure aloe vera juice or gel obtained fresh from an aloe vera leaf (preferably one obtained from near the roots) is the best for healing of acne pimples, blemishes, inflammation and scars.
What about if you don’t have access to an aloe vera plant? In that case, you can always use one of the many over the counter aloe vera gel products out there. Although pasteurization and storage reduces the potency of such products by reducing the concentration of the useful bioactive, most high quality products still have enough of this compounds to maintain the integrity of aloe vera acne treatment, so to speak.
In my opinion, Amara Organics Pure Aloe Vera Gel is the best aloe vera for acne scars and lesions. This natural gel has outstanding reviews on Amazon and is definitely worth trying. I have personally used and like the fact that is doesn’t make my skin look cakey.
Aloe Vera Acne Scars Results Before and After PicturesBefore and after pictures is my favorite way to end discussions on treatment and natural remedies for acne as they give us an idea of typical results. The photo below shows a subject with acne before and after treatment with aloe vera.
Precautions and Side-Effects to Keep In Mind When Using Aloe Vera
- Although rare, aloe vera gel may cause irritation when applied topically. As for oral intake, stay away from it if you are allergic to onions, garlic, turnips or any other plant in the liliaceae family.
- According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, aloe vera has been found to increase the risk of colorectal cancer in rats.
- If you use insulin to control diabetes, you should be cautious about oral aloe vera acne treatment since this herbal remedy has been found to lower blood glucose levels.
- Oral intake of aloe vera can cause intestinal cramps or diarrhea. If it does, stop using it.
- You should never take aloe vera while pregnant or breastfeeding.
- High dosage of and prolonged use of aloe vera can cause kidney damage.