Can You Use Aloe Vera To Lessen Acne Scarring?

Aloe vera — a medicinal cactus-like plant that thrives in hot, dry conditions — has been utilized in a variety of health treatments since time immemorial. Clinical evidence and experimental information have revealed a close correlation between the use of aloe vera and wound healing. According to a 2010 study in the International Journal of Pharma Sciences and Research, aloe vera — dubbed the "plant of immortality" by ancient Egyptians — was a fixture in the daily skincare regimens of queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra, who slathered aloe vera gel on their skin to keep it smooth and supple.

Powered with antioxidants as well as antiseptic agents including lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols, and sulfur, aloe vera can hinder the attack of fungi, bacteria, and viruses on the skin, reduce inflammation, and repair skin damage, a 2008 study in the Indian Journal of Dermatology states. In particular, aloe vera can be used topically to dress wounds and treat acne, sunburns, swelling, itchy rashes, radiation-induced reactions, herpes sores, and burning mouth syndrome. Due to aloe vera's skin-friendly compounds and proven benefits, many people have tried applying aloe vera directly to the skin to diminish the appearance of acne scars. So, can aloe vera be used in place of clinical skincare products when it comes to alleviating scarring? Here are some science-backed insights.

Aloe vera can aid in reducing scarring

Per a 2018 study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, aloesin, a chromone derivative of aloe vera, works effectively in treating hyperpigmentation and lightening the skin. By suppressing the overproduction of melanin and preventing the future formation of melanin, aloesin helps lessen the visibility of scars and dark spots on the skin. When your body produces less melanin, your skin is less likely to get darker. Aloin, another compound in aloe vera, has also been found to effectively fight inflammation, cause excess melanin cells to disintegrate, and help lighten the skin. A 2002 experiment published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology found that those with hyperpigmentation in their inner arms showed the most improvements in the affected areas after administering both aloesin and arbutin — a skin-brightening ingredient found in bearberry — to their skin four times per day. When combined with arbutin, aloesin can enhance the anti-hyperpigmentation effects.

Due to its high water content, aloe vera can keep your skin moist and ramp up its defense against environmental damage, facilitating new skin cell production and turnover. According to a 2019 study published in the journal Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin, aloe vera can boost the production of collagen, which contributes to an enhanced healing of recent scars, increased skin elasticity, delayed wrinkle formation, and a more youthful complexion. Applying aloe vera gel to postoperative treated areas can also lessen pain and shorten recovery time.

How to use aloe vera on your skin

Even the most modern treatments for acne scars, like laser resurfacing or soft tissue fillers, require more than one treatment before you can see noticeable improvements. For a natural method like aloe vera, the results might take longer to manifest. After using pure aloe vera for two to three weeks, you might start seeing a slight fading of your scars. Nonetheless, your results depend largely on the extent of the damage your skin sustains; the newer your scars are, the more favorable the outcomes will be. Since aloe vera has not been associated with any significant side effects, it doesn't hurt to try it at home.

One approach is to use aloe vera in conjunction with an antioxidant-rich nutrient like vitamin E, Aloe Labs points out. For instance, you can mix one teaspoon of aloe vera gel with half a teaspoon of freshly squeezed vitamin E gel, and gently massage the mixture into your face before washing it off with lukewarm water. Alternatively, you can use aloe vera in conjunction with lemon juice, honey, or arbutin gel. If you don't have time to grow aloe vera plants or make juice out of them every day, you can purchase pure aloe vera gel at any drug store. Natural aloe vera gel can be used as a moisturizer for your face and neck and a soothing aftershave or after wax balm, senior in-house Ayurveda expert at Forest Essentials Dr. Utpala Singh tells Vogue India