Maybe you’ve heard that aloe vera can replace your moisturizer or cure eczema. If you’re like us, you might not be ready to believe this hype. After all, it seems like anyone and their mom can put just about anything on the internet. Maybe you’ve had a health scare with skincare products and want to know if aloe is a safe, natural alternative. Here’s what you need to know about the benefits and risks of aloe vera and moisturizer!
What is the Hype over Aloe Vera?
You probably remember your mom wrestling you like an alligator to rub aloe on your sunburned shoulders after a summer pool day when you were a kid. While it does soothe sunburns, Aloe Vera is also a great moisturizer replacement, especially if you have oily skin.
It can also provide temporary relief for eczema. If you’re someone with eczema, you know it’s more than a little itch and some patchy skin. It’s a deep, burning itch, and guess what happens when you scratch the itch? That’s right, more itching, redness, and scratches, thus beginning a vicious cycle. Aloe vera can provide a nice cooling effect when flare-ups strike.
Problems with Aloe Vera
You should note that conditions like eczema and psoriasis are chronic diseases without cures. With the right course of treatment, you can get both conditions under control. Although we love Aloe Vera, we want to emphasize that it should never replace medical advice or treatment from your physician. Always ask a doctor before starting a new regimen.
Another critical thing to remember is your aloe vera gel may not be 100% aloe vera. Many gels in the store contain added fragrances (which can aggravate eczema) or other additives. It’s also not FDA-regulated, so make sure to do your research before you buy. Look for 100% aloe vera gel, or get an aloe plant and make your own!
The Case for Moisturizer
As much as we love au natural products, sometimes you need a good moisturizer. Moisturizer might be the way to go if you suffer from more dry skin on your face or if you have skin sensitivities to aloe vera. Moisturizers are clinically designed by dermatologists to provide your skin with exactly what it needs in the right quantities.
Many moisturizers have ceramides, which can restore the natural skin barrier. Eczema conditions often worsen if your skin is dry because your skin barrier isn’t as strong as it should be. Properly moisturizing your face can help protect it from damage.
Most day moisturizers also contain SPF, which protects your skin from premature aging and lowers your risk of skin cancer. If you forget to put on sunscreen regularly, this may be a good option for you. Aloe products are excellent for treating sunburns, but ideally, you want to prevent them in the first place!
The Caveats for Moisturizer
Some moisturizers contain a lot of junk. Some contain parabens, which may contain links to cancer. Although it’s not necessarily carcinogenic, added fragrance aggravates and damages the skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. As with aloe vera, always do your research before you buy.
Which is Better: Aloe Vera or Moisturizer?
Like a lot of things in life, it depends. Everyone’s skin needs are different, so what works for us may not work for you. Think about your specific needs, do your research, and talk to your doctor before beginning a new skincare regimen. Always patch-test a new product on your wrist before putting it on your face or larger areas of your body. Remember, your skin is the largest organ in your body and the first line of defense, take care of it!