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If aloe vera makes you think of sunburn and the beach, you’re on the right track. But using aloe vera for skin goes far beyond treating your sun-kissed complexion. Aloe vera benefits are among the best in the natural world for helping to soothe, hydrate, and heal tired and dry skin.

Granted, the aloe plant itself isn’t much to look at — those spines may be downright intimidating at first — but, as you tell your little ones, it’s not what’s on the outside that counts...it’s what’s on the inside!

The aloe plant’s fleshy leaves contain a gel that is packed with nutrients, active enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It’s no wonder that aloe vera has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide variety of skin ailments and conditions!

In this article, we discuss the many aloe vera benefits and how you can use this gentle product to keep yourself — and your baby — comfortable in your own skin. To start, let’s go over the basics: what is aloe vera?

What Is Aloe Vera?

aloe vera plant with many benefits

Because of the way it looks, its spines, and the way it grows, many people mistake the aloe vera plant for a cactus. Although they grow in similar climates, aloe vera is not a cactus. It’s a succulent!

Succulents are plants with parts that are thick, fleshy, and engorged, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. Other common succulents include:

  • Hens and chicks
  • Snake plant
  • Jade plant
  • Burro’s tail

When it comes right down to it, aloe vera is actually a member of the lily family and is more closely related to tulips and asparagus than to cacti.

The stems of the aloe plant are efficient at storing water. They are so good at retaining moisture that the leaves of the plant contain a clear gel that is almost 99 percent water with 75 active ingredients, including:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Antioxidants
  • Minerals
  • Amino acids

This clear gel that hides inside the leaves of the aloe vera plant is the gel that you can apply straight to your skin. The combination of these natural ingredients into one gentle and easy-to-use gel means that the list of aloe vera benefits goes on and on!

Let’s take a closer look at those benefits in the next section.

Aloe Vera Benefits For Skin

happy mom snuggling baby knowing aloe vera benefits

1) Exfoliates Gently

Aloe vera contains naturally occurring salicylic acid. Why is this important? Because if you look on pretty much any acne treatment, you’ll see salicylic acid on the label.

Salicylic acid is a gentle exfoliant that removes dead skin cells, helps unclog pores, and prevents acne from developing. But what if you or your baby aren’t dealing with acne right now? Aloe vera is still good for your skin!

When you use aloe vera as an exfoliant, it removes the layer of dead cells on your skin and promotes the growth and strength of the new skin underneath.

2) Moisturizes And Softens Dry Skin

Older siblings using aloe vera benefits by rubbing on baby

Because aloe vera gel is almost 99 percent water and absorbs quickly and easily into your skin, it moisturizes dry patches without leaving a greasy layer behind.

Once applied, aloe vera creates a hydrating barrier that prevents moisture from escaping into the air around you.

Apply a bit of aloe vera to your skin after a shower — or your baby’s skin after a bath — and then lock in the hydration with a layer of your favorite moisturizer, like Mustela’s Organic Hydrating Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe!

This fragrance-free lotion is a lightweight, restorative cream for both the face and body, leaving skin soft, supple, and hydrated. Plus, it’s safe and gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin — babies included. That makes this cream perfect for the whole family.

You can feel good about what you’re slathering on your skin, too. In addition to organic aloe vera, our Organic Hydrating Cream contains organic sunflower oil and organic olive oil, both of which are powerful emollients that work to keep skin moisturized.

This lotion isn’t only good for your skin. It’s also good for the planet since the whole product is designed to be environmentally conscious inside and out. The packaging is made from sustainably sourced sugar cane and we’ve gotten rid of secondary cartons.

It meets EWG Verified™ criteria, too, which means that it avoids EWG's ingredients of concern and is committed to full transparency.

The end result of applying moisturizing aloe vera in addition to Mustela’s Organic Hydrating Cream with Olive Oil and Aloe is softer, smoother, and stronger skin!

3) Prevents Wrinkles From Deepening

While aloe vera doesn’t heal existing wrinkles, it does prevent deeper wrinkles from forming.

Aloe vera benefits your skin through a unique process that stimulates the production of collagen in the deep layers of the epidermis. This collagen binds your skin together, makes it stronger, and prevents deeper wrinkles from spreading.

To experience these benefits, massage a small amount of aloe vera into and around wrinkled skin once or twice a week.

4) Soothes Inflammation

Mild burns — such as sunburn — and even small scratches and cuts can cause your skin to erupt in inflammation. While inflammation means your body is working to repair the damage, it can be an uncomfortable experience.

Aloe vera gel contains a natural pain reliever that soothes inflammation without interfering with your body’s healing and repair process. (It’s important to avoid interfering with your body’s natural response to damage whenever possible!)

Aloe vera provides the soothing, mild pain relief your skin needs without keeping your body from doing what it does best — healing itself.

Expert tip: to prevent one of the worst causes of inflammation, sunburn, protect your skin with Mustela’s mineral sunscreens. Try our SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion or SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Spray for safe, effective sun protection.

The great thing about both of these sunscreens is that they not only protect your skin from the rays of the sun, but they also moisturize it at the same time. That’s a win-win!

 Sunscreen with aloe vera for skin

SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Spray contains the ingredient of the day, aloe vera, as well as calendula, chamomile flower extract, and sunflower oil to hydrate your skin. It comes in an easy-to-apply spray, too.

Simply shake the bottle well before you use it, then hold it four to six inches away from the skin to apply it. Remember not to spray it directly onto the face. To protect your face, we recommend Mustela’s SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Stick and, of course, a cute hat.

If you prefer a lotion to a spray, turn to SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion which is loaded with 93% naturally derived ingredients, including moisturizing coconut oil, macadamia oil, and vitamin E.

You know the drill here: Rub the sunscreen liberally into your skin 15 minutes before you head outside and reapply at least every two hours (more often if you’re swimming or sweating).

All three of these mineral sunscreens are formulated with non-nano zinc oxide, safe for sensitive skin types, and free of chemical UV filters, parabens, phthalates, and phenoxyethanol.

5) Relieves Irritation

parent using aloe vera benefits on baby

Sensitive skin, healthy skin, and especially psoriasis- and eczema-prone skin all get irritated sometimes.

Skin irritation occurs for several different reasons. You and your baby may suffer from red spots on various parts of the body because of scratchy clothing, airborne allergens, or even an underlying condition like eczema.

(For products that are created specifically for eczema-prone skin, check out our Stelatopia line, which includes Cleansing Oil, Emollient Balm, Skin Soothing Pajamas, and more.)

What does aloe have to do with soothing irritation? Aloe vera helps relieve this discomfort by protecting your skin and preventing it from becoming red, raw, and irritated in the first place. This allows your skin to stay in its natural, comfortable state.

For best results, gently rub aloe vera — or a product like Mustela’s Organic Micellar Water with Olive Oil and Aloe, which contains aloe vera — on irritated skin to relieve the itching and discomfort.

Not familiar with micellar water? The simple explanation is that it is a cleanser that removes dirt and oil from your or your little one’s skin without the need to rinse. That’s right; there’s no need to lather up or rinse it off.

(You can read more about micellar water in general here.)

Mustela’s Organic Micellar Water is carefully crafted with only eight ingredients, 99.7% of which are naturally derived, and was given the Good Housekeeping Sustainable Innovation Award.

In addition to organic aloe vera, it contains organic olive oil sourced from family-owned olive groves in the South of France, where the olives undergo a cold-pressed extraction process to maximize potency and skin-nourishing properties.

This fragrance-free micellar water is safe enough for your baby’s sensitive skin but effective enough to remove makeup on adults.

It’s ideal for cleaning the face, hands, body, and diaper area and, since there’s no need to rinse it off, cleanup is quick and easy. Perfect for busy, on-the-go people!

How do you use our Organic Micellar Water? There’s nothing to it. Simply use a soft cloth or cotton ball to dab and gently wipe the skin.

6) Speeds The Healing Process

Skin damage is inevitable and there are few successful ways to prevent it. You might experience dry, cracked hands from washing dishes or small, almost-imperceptible scratches from working in the garden.

While you can’t prevent the damage, you can use aloe vera to speed the healing process!

Aloe contains chemical compounds that work with your body’s natural defenses by creating antibodies that your immune system can use to fight off irritation, inflammation, and infection.

Aloe also encourages new skin cells to grow at the site of the wound and jump-start the repair process.

Those two aloe vera benefits together — along with a bandaid and a kiss from mom or dad! — make aloe one of the best items to keep on hand in your medicine cabinet.

But that’s not all! Did you know aloe aids in healing diaper rash, too? If your little one is suffering from this painful condition, try Mustela’s Diaper Cream With Olive Oil And Aloe to moisturize and calm their bottom.

Aloe vera isn’t the only wonderful, natural ingredient in this talc-free diaper rash cream. With sunflower oil, olive oil, and zinc oxide, it’s safe for sensitive skin and designed to leave a moisturizing layer on your baby’s skin to soothe and diminish redness at every diaper change.

For more tips on changing diapers the natural way, click here.

7) Acts As An Antiseptic

Aloe vera plant

When your skin gets irritated, inflamed, or damaged in some way, it can become infected if you don’t take steps to keep it clean.

The good news is that you can use aloe vera as a natural antiseptic! The gel contains chemical compounds that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.

While you may need stronger, over-the-counter antibiotics for more serious skin conditions, aloe vera is a simple solution for everyday bumps and bruises — which are common with little ones running around!

You can use aloe vera for skin by applying it as-is, straight from the plant. Or, when it comes to staying clean and sudsing up, use a cleanser that contains aloe vera like Mustela’s Organic Cleansing Gel with Olive Oil and Aloe.

Sulfate-free and oh-so-gentle, this cleansing gel keeps your little one clean without stripping their skin of its natural oils. This leaves their skin refreshed, hydrated, and healthy.

But this cleanser isn’t limited to little ones only. We think it’s the perfect fit for the whole family. Made with 97.5% naturally derived ingredients, you can count on this cleanser to keep you clean without doing a number on your skin.

We also recommend our EWG Verified Certified Organic Water Wipes with Cotton and Aloe, which are made with aloe vera leaf juice, for a gentle, quick clean-up of your little one’s hands, face, or diaper area.

Young boy taking a bath with aloe vera for skin products

8) Contains Powerful Antioxidants

Aloe vera contains powerful antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E.

The main benefit of these antioxidants is that they remove free radicals — unstable molecules that can damage the cells in your body — so your skin stays strong and healthy at any age.

9) Slows Signs Of Aging

Unfortunately, there’s no way to turn back the clock, but you can use aloe vera to slow the signs of aging.

Aloe vera increases fibroblast activity in the deep layers of your skin. This fibroblast activity stimulates the production of collagen and elastin — both essential for the health of your skin.

Working as a team, collagen and elastin bind your skin together, make it more elastic, and prevent skin damage from running rampant as you age.

Woman using aloe vera for skin to clean her face

Similarly, other aloe vera benefits on this list — such as the exfoliating and antioxidant properties — work to tighten pores and strengthen the deeper layers of your dermis so that your skin takes on a youthful glow.

10) Minimizes Dark Spots

We all know about the importance of protecting our skin — and our little one’s skin, too — with a strong sunscreen like Mustela’s SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen Lotion.

But, as you age, natural enzymes build up in your skin and cause dark spots often associated with UV damage (a.k.a. UV-induced hyperpigmentation). Applying a product that contains aloe vera after a day in the sun helps minimize these enzymes and keep dark spots at bay.

How To Use Aloe Vera For Skin

We’ve just gone over some amazing benefits that you can experience when you use aloe vera for skin. You probably want to start right away! So, how exactly should you use aloe vera to reap all of its benefits?

First of all, you can apply the gel straight from the plant to your skin. If you have a plant in your home, it involves little more than cutting off a leaf and making use of the gel inside.

If you don’t have an aloe plant at home, you can buy pure, bottled aloe vera gel. This can also be applied directly to your skin.

Another great option is to use a skincare product that contains aloe vera. This could, of course, be an aloe vera gel that’s typically used post-sun. But all sorts of other skincare products boast aloe vera on the ingredient list, too! We mentioned several of those types of products above.

 Mustela product with aloe vera for skin

However, if you opt for products that contain aloe vera, for the most natural skin care, you’ll need to check out the other ingredients in the product as well.

This means ensuring that a product contains other skin-healthy natural ingredients and does not use questionable chemical ingredients that can irritate your skin or harm your body.

In addition to aloe vera, in Mustela’s products, you’ll find other healthful and beneficial ingredients of natural origin, including:

At Mustela, we’re committed to safe skin care — for you and your baby! In addition to all of the healthy, natural ingredients we put in, we also leave out harmful chemicals, like parabens, phthalates, and phenoxyethanol.

What’s the big deal with these ingredients? Parabens are used as a preservative, but the effects don’t stop at keeping skincare products shelf-stable. This ingredient can disrupt hormones, making it a no-go for us. Read more here.

Meanwhile, phenoxyethanol is another preservative, but it also has a dark side. It is an irritant and can be toxic to the body. You can read the full story about phenoxyethanol here.

Phthalates are another ingredient that we think is too questionable to risk. They are plasticizers and are used in all sorts of products (like toys, packaging, and vinyl flooring) to increase flexibility and durability and in cosmetics to help enhance the fragrance.

Like other chemical ingredients, the concern is that phthalates could be an irritant and negatively affect hormones, among a host of other concerns. As you can see, staying away from these sorts of ingredients is the safest bet.

That’s why we always recommend reading the label of any skin care product you buy.

The best ones — like those from Mustela — will include aloe vera and the other natural ingredients listed above, and leave out chemical fillers that do more harm than good.

Natural Skin Care For You And Your Baby

Mustela bath products with aloe vera for skin

As you can see from the aloe vera benefits we listed in this article, aloe is one of the best all-natural skin care ingredients for you and your baby. Using aloe vera for skin is a no-brainer!

That’s why Mustela includes it in products, like:

Try one today to start treating your skin to the goodness of aloe. Whether you use aloe vera on your own skin to moisturize, protect, and restore elasticity or you use it on your baby’s skin to relieve irritation and repair inflammation, Mustela’s got you covered!