New Year’s Day is the perfect opportunity to clean up your act and get a fresh start.
Diet culture be damned, there’s more to this concept than just what goes into our bodies. Fresh aloe is my secret weapon for happier, healthier skin and a glow that outshines the gloomiest winter days.
While lasting change starts from within, I strongly believe that aloe should be a topical ingredient only. There are proven benefits to drinking small amounts of pure aloe juice, but quite frankly, it tastes like straight poison to me. There is no amount of compelling research out there that would convince me I should drink the culinary equivalent of drain cleaner. Thus, when I found myself with a large leaf of fresh aloe on hand, I knew right away it was better suited for the bathroom than the kitchen.
What is aloe?
First things first, in case you’ve only seen the little bottles of goop in the cosmetics section, aloe is a succulent that is prized worldwide for its medicinal properties. There are well over 400 species of aloe with aloe vera being the most common. Dubbed the “Plant of Immortality” by ancient Egyptians, the first record of the plant comes from 6,000-year old carvings within the tombs of deceased pharaohs. Its modern name comes from the Arabic word “Alloeh”, which translates to “shining bitter substance”, and the Latin word “Vera”, which translates to “true”.
What are the benefits of aloe?
Aloe is the Swiss army knife of skin care. Whatever ails you, there’s a good chance that a gentle application of aloe vera gel will help.
- Moisturizer – Particularly when you need an extra line of defense again dry winter winds, aloe gel helps lock in moisture without clogging pores.
- Toner – Far more gentle than most natural astringents, aloe is a great option for those with sensitive skin that want to balance their skin’s PH level and prevent breakouts.
- Burn salve – Proven effective in treating first- and second-degree burns, aloe gel has an immediate cooling and soothing affect.
- Wound healing – Small cuts, rashes, and abrasions will disappear in record time with aloe on the case. It can help expedite the healing process by reducing inflammation, promoting circulation, and inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
How can you use fresh aloe?
Bottled aloe gel has added preservatives to extend shelf life. Cut the crap and go straight to the source! Fresh aloe leaves are available in most grocery stores these days, particularly Whole Foods Markets and similar health food shops. It’s more cost-effective and easy to use.
To prepare your own aloe gel…
- Lay the paddle out flat on your cutting board and slice down the sides, removing the pointed spikes along the edges.
- Fillet the leaf, separating the top and bottom skin from the clear gel inside.
- Cut the gel into pieces and place them in your blender or food processor.
- Puree on high speed until completely smooth and very frothy.
- Transfer to to airtight containers and use as desired. The gel will last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or you can freeze it pretty much indefinitely, until needed.
To use, apply on clean skin as desired. It’s safe for use on the body, hands, and face alike.
Clean up your act along with your medicine cabinet.
Fresh aloe is a game-changer for healthier, happier skin.