I’m familiar with the multivarious uses of aloe vera, chief among them the treatment of sunburns. But I’ve never actually used aloe vera on a sunburn because a.) I haven’t baked under the sun since college, and b.) who actually has an aloe vera plant lying around the house?
Though with the resurgence of terrariums and indoor gardening in general, I’m sure aloe vera, one of the easiest plants to maintain, is more commonly found in households now. But if you’re not the type to nurse a living thing, there are more convenient ways to get your hands on aloe vera gel.
Nature Republic 92% Aloe Vera Gel (P245)
The product: Coming in at under P300 for such a large tub, Nature Republic 92% Aloe Vera Gel is a steal. The consistency is thick, goopy, and sticky—a lot like hair gel, actually.
Directions: Depending on your comfort level, you can use this as a moisturizer, but I like to use it as a face mask, especially to alleviate the drying effects of a bentonite clay mask. Of course, you can also lay it on thick to alleviate sunburns. Some people also swear by this stuff as hair gel, but I prefer to use it as an eyebrow gel to keep stray hairs in place.
The experience: The only problem with this product is the packaging. Since it’s in a tub, avoid dipping your fingers into it each time you use it. Instead, use a spatula (or a clean spoon) to scoop the amount you need for each use. Also, as a face mask, you have to be careful not to apply too much, or else the stuff will just come sliding down your face.
The effect: Slathering this on post-clay mask feels like a dream, so I can only imagine how amazing it must feel on burnt skin. The smell, like the product, is also soothing and calming.
Aloe Derma Instant Skin Hydrator (P800)
The product: Formulated with 99.8-percent organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf juice, the Aloe Derma Insant Skin Hydrator repairs damaged skin cells and encourages cell growth while diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Also, since aloe vera promotes natural wound-healing and has anti-inflammatory properties, it’s safe to use on acne-prone skin.
Directions: The texture is pretty watery, so the best way to apply it is to pour a little on your fingers (or directly on your face), then massage into your skin. Don’t bother pouring on a cotton ball, then wiping on your skin—the cotton ball will just absorb the product.
The experience: Its fast-absorbing formula makes it ideal for oily skin types, and it works best as a serum, so apply after toning. If you have dry skin, though, you may want to follow this up with a moisturizer. Interestingly, you can also splash on a little of this product midday if your skin feels particularly parched and needs a little refreshment.
The effect: Of all the aloe vera products I’ve tried, this is the least sticky, but the fluidity of the product also makes it difficult to apply. That aside, the product absorbs quickly, as promised, with no adverse reactions to my skin.
Aloe Derma Pure Aloe Vera Gel (P210)
The product: Enriched with 99.7-percent organic aloe vera extract, the folks over at Aloe Derma recommend smearing the product to heal and repair wounds, radiation burns, and ulcers, soothe symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, scalds, cuts, and rashes, and also as a hair conditioner for oily scalps.
Directions: Weirdly enough, some people also use this stuff to treat minor vaginal irritations, so you’ll be glad to know that since you can squeeze this stuff out from a tube, you can minimize the instance of contamination.
The experience: In comparison to the Nature Republic product, Aloe Derma Pure Aloe Vera Gel’s texture is thicker, denser, and stickier, making it a little uncomfortable to apply on your skin as a moisturizer. I recommend spritzing your face with a facial mist to make it easier to spread around your face.
The effect: Once the product dries, you won’t feel it at all, even after you layer another product, like sunblock, on top. But if you have really dry skin, you might want to use a product that’s more moisturizing and emollient. This product is more ideal for oily skin types.
The product: Another common usage for aloe vera is to treat constipation and hyperacidity. Just snip off a leaf, squeeze out the juice, and mix with water. Another option is to buy a bottle of AloeCure from the drugstore. Containing a mix of polysaccharides, malic calcium, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, a daily dosage promotes a healthy digestive system and balances stomach acids.
Directions: The recommended dosage is 60ml twice a day, with or without food. While you can go over that amount, take into account that that aloe vera is often used as a laxative, so watch out!
The experience: Unless you’re used to the taste of aloe vera, I would recommend buying the Grape flavor, which is sweetened naturally with Stevia.
The effect: I tried this when I was feeling hyperacidic, and while the results weren’t instantaneous (there was still some pain after), by the next day, my stomach felt completely normal, and I could eat as I usually did. That’s more than I can say for Tums.
Nature Republic. For a complete list of locations, visit their website.