Do you suffer from oily skin? You’re not alone - a lot of us do. Whether it’s an oily t-zone or oily skin all over the face, it can be difficult to manage. You need to choose skincare with the right active ingredients for your skin. Did you know that aloe vera is amazing for oily skin? Read on to find out how to get the best results for your happy, healthy skin using this incredible natural skincare ingredient.
What is aloe vera?
You may have seen aloe vera gel or even aloe vera juice but what is this amazing natural ingredient? And what does it do when you apply it to your skin?
Aloe vera is an evergreen plant often grown in tropical climates. It has really thick leaves because inside is a gel which holds a lot of the goodness of this ingredient. This gel is gathered by splitting open the aloe leaves and scooping out the translucent gel inside.
The goodness of the aloe plant has been proven to have many health benefits. It is a good aid for digestion, often drunk as aloe vera juice. This is because it is rich in enzymes that help to break down sugar and fat, aiding digestion. It also is full of antioxidants, which are good for the body
Aloe vera is also a powerful ingredient for skincare. Aloe vera can:
Hydrate - it is over 90% water so is great for rehydration
Soothe - it is a natural anti-inflammatory so is great for soothing irritated skin
Treat oily skin - it can help dissolve excess oil through its naturally astringent properties
Tone - it is a natural astringent so works to tone and tighten pores
Cleanse - it has antibacterial properties so can help to cleanse skin
Lightly moisturise - it is a non-comedogenic so it won’t block pores or irritate acne-prone skin
Should I apply aloe vera to oily skin?
When it comes to aloe vera and oily skin, is it a good idea to use this ingredient or skincare products containing it?
Absolutely! To understand why it’s worth revisiting oily skin and a quick overview of what we are trying to do when we treat this skin problem.
What is oily skin?
The outer layer of your skin is protected by a lipid barrier - this is made up of lipids from sebum, made by the sebaceous glands, which hold together dead skin cells. This lipid barrier stops populations and irritants getting in, and also water and good stuff getting out. Skin oil is a part of the natural order then - it’s all about the amount of oil. So when you have oily skin concerns it is because your sebaceous glands are producing too much sebum (oil) which then sits on the surface of the skin and also clogs up pores, capturing dead skin cells, dirt and pollutants with it. This can lead to bacteria getting stuck too, leading to acne and breakouts. Oily skin is a common skin type, treated by regulating oil production and getting rid of excess oil.
While you can use blotting papers, this won’t actually tackle the underlying problem. Oily skin needs ingredients that:
Regulate oil production
Cleanse the skin of excess oil, deep into the pores
Deal with breakouts
Address sensitivity from breakouts and inflammation
Moisturise the skin and replace water lost
What are the benefits of aloe vera for your oily skin?
Packed inside its leaves it has twelve vitamins, twenty minerals, eighteen amino acids and over two hundred phytonutrients and active plant compounds. These include:
Its natural astringent properties - which help to absorb that excess oil and other impurities from in the pores and on the skin
Auxins and Gibbererllins are two hormones in aloe vera that give it its anti-inflammatory properties which can help scars and marks left from breakouts and acne
Hydration - its high water content helps to hydrate oily skin - yes, that’s right - oily skin can still be dehydrated!
Vitamin A, C and E which are all antioxidants and help to nourish oily skin - when your pores are blocked, this can stop goodness getting into the skin - aloe vera can replace some much needed nutrients.
Its gel moisture - it is a non-comedogenic so won’t block pores but will lightly moisturise
How to apply natural aloe vera to oily skin
When it comes to applying aloe vera to your skin there are a couple of different options. You can either choose to apply it to your skin directly - using the gel from actual aloe leaves, or you can choose to use skincare products with aloe vera as an active ingredient. Let’s explore both options.
Using natural aloe vera from the leaves
To access aloe vera gel from the leaves of the plant you need to:
Choose one or two leaves from the plant and cut off just before use.
Wash the leaves well with cold water.
Use a sharp knife to cut the leaf vertically.
Carefully extract the translucent gel from the middle of the leaf.
Put this gel in sealed container to avoid oxidation.
Take the amount of gel needed for immediate use and seal the jar for protection
Either apply directly or mix with other natural ingredients, such as tea tree oil, lemon juice or oats for a natural skincare product.
Three ways you can use aloe vera to benefit your skin:
Mix it with lemon juice - as a natural astringent, lemon juice and aloe vera work together well to absorb excess oil and help to regulate oil production. You can mix the juice of a lemon with a tablespoon of aloe vera as a cleanser, followed by a second tablespoon of just aloe vera.
Mix it with tea tree oil - adding a few drops of tea tree oil to aloe vera gel can help to deeply cleanse the pores and hydrate the skin.
Add oats - saponins in oatmeal can help to absorb excess oil and draw impurities from the skin. Soak a cup of oats in water overnight then add a tablespoon of aloe vera gel for a gentle exfoliating face mask.
Is using aloe vera straight from the leaves the best idea?
The answer is - it depends. As soon as aloe vera is exposed to the air it starts to oxidise, which means the oxygen starts to break down its potency. That’s why skin care formulators spend a long time researching the best way to lock in the goodness of active ingredients like aloe vera and Vitamin C. It is also difficult to regulate how strong the aloe vera gel is and the impact it will have on your skin. Sensitive skin types can find it produces a reaction because it is too strong for their skin. Finally it can be really messy to get aloe vera gel from the plant and can take some practice. When life is busy sometimes the prep can feel arduous!
Using skincare products containing aloe vera
An alternative to using aloe vera directly from the plant is to use skincare products that have aloe vera listed as an active ingredient. The amount of the ingredient is carefully chosen and a formulation with other active ingredients to ensure the maximum benefits for your skin.
Evolve Organic Beauty Daily Detox Facial Washis a great choice for oily skin. It has aloe vera as part of a combination of active ingredients to create a detoxifying, gentle foaming face wash that is soap free. Using soap based cleansers on oily skin can actually strip too much oil, encouraging even more oil production.
It has papaya which is a natural exfoliator, helping to remove dead skin cells on the skin’s surface. It also has goji which works to detoxify the skin and is an antioxidant. The aloe vera helps to remove surface oil and regulate oil production.
Sometimes it can be tempting to skip a toner. You may have had bad experiences in the past with highly astringent toners, with high levels of beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid which can irritate and dry out oily skin. But a toner designed for your skin concerns can be really great for oily skin. TryDermalogica Multi Active Tonerwhich is a toning spray. It is a great way to get moisturise without any weight or extra oil on the skin. It has aloe vera to soothe and cool oily skin that can become irritated, when dirt and pollutants get clogged into the pores. It also has cucumber extract for a light hydration.
Multi Active Tonerhydrating, refreshing spritzSkincare250ml: £32.50
Lotion Hydra FraicheurToner for All Skin TypesSkincare200ml: £17.00
When it comes to oily skin, exfoliation is key. It helps to encourage cell turnover as well as deeply cleaning out pores and getting rid of excess oil. Dermalogica Hydro Masque Exfoliant contains touch-activated Bamboo spheres that gently exfoliate to slough away dead skin cells, preparing the skin for optimal hydration and aloe and cucumber extracts soothe the skin. While this happens, the hydro cream base delivers a hydration boost.
Hydro Masque ExfoliantA hydrating and exfoliating five-minute masque that smoothes and renews for luminous, healthy-looking skin.Skincare50ml: £53.00
Aloe vera is a great ingredient when it comes to treating oily skin concerns. You can apply it directly from the leaves of the plant, using a slightly tricky process of extraction, and making sure you store it in a sealed container to try and retain its potency for longer.
Equally, skincare products containing aloe vera can be just as effective and can be easier to manage!
Whichever way you choose to use aloe vera, it can be a powerful ally in regulating oil production and removing excess sebum from the skin and deep in the pores. It is also a treat for your skin with natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties.
Learn more about your oily skin with our free Ultimate Guide to Skincare. You can download this free guide and learn about how to treat oily skin and also about how your skin can change as you age.