If your bathroom cabinet is overflowing with retinol, cleansers, toners and different moisturises, you’ll know how challenging it can be to find the right product for a particular skin problem. 

It can take a lifetime of hunting and testing before you find a product that suits your skin. The truth is, we’re so used to buying products off the shelves that promise to fix our skin without giving much thought to how the plants around us can help.

Aloe vera is a succulent that typically grows in warm climates and has a long history of healing properties, beginning 6,000 years ago. Nowadays, it’s commonly found as an ingredient in moisturisers and toners, but it can also be used straight from the plant to help fight various skin conditions. 

Aloe vera plants are easy to grow as they don’t need much water. To ‘harvest’ the gel, all you need to do is get a sharp knife and cut off a stem from the bottom of the plant and squeeze the gel out. You can then store this in a container in the fridge and use it to treat a range of skin conditions. 

Here are just a few it can help with. 

Dry skin 

In the long winter months, our skin naturally takes a battering from the cold air. Even with the best moisturisers, our skin can still feel rough. But instead of forking out for an expensive moisturiser, you may want to try getting an aloe vera plant.

Aloe vera gel absorbs easily, meaning it’s perfect for oily and dry skin. In addition, it has been known to be good at treating eczema and psoriasis because it’s naturally rich in antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin A – which are the building blocks of skin. 

Even if you are not suffering from a specific dry skin problem, using aloe vera as a home remedy can give your skin the extra hydration boost it needs.

Acne

Another notable benefit of aloe vera is that it’s naturally anti-inflammatory. If you have had, or currently have problems with acne, you’ll be familiar with salicylic acid. 

Aloe vera contains salicylic acid which dissolves the top layer of the skin, acting as an exfoliant to cellular build up. You can apply aloe vera to the affected areas up to three times a day to soothe the skin, repair, and fight off future acne breakouts. 

Ageing 

Despite how hard we try, we can never reverse the signs of ageing, but, we can still take steps to keep our skin healthy and glowy. 

Instead of being lured in by an expensive anti-wrinkle cream, it might pay to look closer to home and try harvesting gel from an aloe vera plant.

Aloe vera has natural anti-ageing properties due to the high volume of antioxidants it contains. This helps boost collagen production, which is an essential component for helping your skin retain elasticity. As a result, using aloe vera can help your body renew your skin and give it structure. 

Hyperpigmentation and redness

Whether it’s from acne scars, sun damage or hormone fluctuations, we all have some hyperpigmentation. It’s a perfectly normal sign of somebody who has lived – but it can be treated in a simple way. 

Aloe vera contains two chemicals – aloin and aloesin – known for being able to lighten skin and reduce the appearance of dark spots. Hyperpigmentation occurs from excessive melanin production, but aloe vera has been shown to destroy existing melanin cells and even prevent more from forming. 

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it can also soothe the skin and combat redness or sunburn. The best thing about it is that it’s so gentle and can be used both day and night. 

Buying and harvesting an aloe vera plant may seem intimidating, but it’s a surprisingly easy way to treat tired, damaged or inflamed skin. 

Conveniently, if you buy a plant, you constantly have a supply of fresh gel without having to repurchase it. Aloe vera plants are affordable and can provide you with a perfect home remedy to combat an array of skin problems.