Before going ahead talking about how aloe helps in case of wrinkles, let us first understand what they are and why they are caused.
Here it is. As we age, the dermis or inner skin layer begins to thin out causing the skin cells to divide slowly.
There is also less structure, moisture, and oil, all of which lead to the wrinkling process.
There are various factors which can cause wrinkles.
1) Our skin loses its elasticity as we age and hence older people have more wrinkles. Fat layers that plump out the skin decrease causing the skin to become loose and saggy.
Natural oils which lubricate the skin’s surface dry out as we grow older, causing the skin to appear wrinkled.
2) UV rays can cause wrinkling since it breaks down elastin and collagen fibres on the skin.
3) Smoking quickens the skin’s aging process.
4) Repetitive facial expressions like smiling, squinting or frowning can also cause wrinkles or fine lines to form.
5) Women tend to develop more wrinkles – especially around the mouth – when compared to men.
6) Nutritional deficiencies can also cause wrinkles to form.
Types of Wrinkles and Causes
1. Dynamic Wrinkles: These types of wrinkles occur when the muscle just below the skin contracts.
Due to this, the skin tends to bunch up and crease, leading to the formation of wrinkles. This is usually seen in the forehead area and near the eye.
2. Static wrinkles: Static wrinkles develop either due to genetic or lifestyle patterns or sometimes due to a mixture of both.
Continuous exposure to UV and smoking accelerates the formation of static wrinkles.
3. Wrinkle folds These form due to sagging of the facial muscles. Wrinkle folds lead to the formation of a groove-like structure between the nose and the mouth, which is called the nasolabial groove.
Even though wrinkling is primarily an age-dependent process; there are several factors which have been identified to contribute and speed up the process.
- Habitual Smoking: Smoking has been found to be one of the major catalysts to the formation of wrinkles. It reduces the blood supply to the skin, and this causes skin damage and ultimately wrinkling at even an early age of 30.
- Genetics: Development of wrinkles is also largely genetically determined. Hence it is advised that people who have a family history of early wrinkling, must take precautions early on and regularly use moisturizers and sunscreens.
- Skin Tone: A person’s skin colour also determines the rate at which wrinkles form. The people who have a lighter skin tone are usually more affected by damage due to sun exposure.
- Exposure to UV: Exposure to UV is also a major contributor to skin damage. Hence, people who work under continuous exposure to the sun, tend to have a greater chance of early wrinkling.
- Facial Expression: Habitual facial expressions like smiling, frowning, etc causes the formations of ridges under the skin which accelerates aging.
- Strong Chemicals: Continual usage of makeup and other harsh agents on the skin can cause premature ageing.
Treating Wrinkles – Usual Ideas
One of the most popular treatments for the appearance of skin wrinkles is the injection of Botox. Botox is a toxin obtained from Clostridium botulinum, which is a type of bacteria.
Unlike what is popular belief, Botox does not eliminate wrinkles, rather, it blocks the signals sent by the nervous system to the muscles below the skin.
This prevents the muscles from contracting and hence stops the formation of the wrinkles. Essentially, it causes muscle paralysis.
There are many other ways that you can treat or prevent wrinkles. For example, if you are out in the sun too much – especially between 10 am to 2 pm – always ensure you use the right sunscreen.
Wearing long-sleeved clothing or a large brimmed hat can also protect the skin from harmful UV rays. There are many OTC creams, lotions and moisturizers and prescription treatments like retinoid creams available that target wrinkles.
Surgical options include dermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing, non-ablative laser treatment and botox that are used widely to reduce wrinkles.
Recently, the need for more readily available and cheaper remedies for wrinkles have started coming into the limelight. This is where the health benefits of Aloe Vera come in.
Introduction to Aloe Vera
Scientifically Aloe barbadensis, Aloe vera is known to have originated in Sudan and was extensively used by ancient civilizations including the Egyptians and the Mediterranean Civilization.
The plant is short with long, pointy leaves. Aloe vera gel, which is the most commonly used form of Aloe vera extract comes from the leaf of the plant. It houses a plethora of bioactive compounds.
This includes vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential enzymes, lignin. Apart from this, the leaves also contain a variety of polyphenols like barbaloin which have important antioxidant properties.
How Aloe Vera Benefits in Wrinkles
Aloe Vera can help in Wrinkles in many ways. Aloe is a natural anti-aging agent, it has several skin-friendly vitamins and makes skin elastic.
Aloe vera also protects the harmful effects of sunburn and keeps the skin naturally hydrated. It is a great anti-oxidant and thus helps keep the skin young naturally.
These benefits are discussed in details below –
1. Aloe vera as an anti-aging agent
Wrinkling of the skin has been attributed to the process of aging. The major contributors to early skin aging include UV exposure, which leads to dry skin and deep wrinkling.
Collagen in the skin provides flexibility to the skin and UV exposure damages collagen, thus rendering the skin brittle and dry.
Another factor which is involved in skin aging is a family of enzymes known as matrix metalloproteins, which degrade the collagen in the skin.
A study was conducted in 2009, which evaluated the effects of consumption of Aloe vera gel supplements on facial wrinkles in the duration of 90 days.
The study involved 30 women who received two separate doses of Aloe vera gel, a high dose of 3600 mg/d and a low dose of 1200 mg/d.
A reduction in the occurrence of wrinkles was observed, and it was attributed to the ability of the Aloe vera to reduce the production of matrix metalloproteins.
This reduced the damage inflicted on collagen and restored the elasticity of the skin damaged by UV exposure.
Another trial was conducted recently in 2015, where an attempt was made to study the effect of Aloe vera gel on the fibroblast of the human skin and its effects on skin wrinkling.
The study was conducted over a duration of 8 weeks, and Aloe vera gel which contained 40 µg of Aloe sterols was administered to women.
Simultaneously, a control group was also maintained.
There was a very drastic increase in the production of collagen in the skin of the women who were given Aloe vera gel.
Also, the Aloe sterols in the gel reduced the facial wrinkles seen in the women.
What does this mean? Aloe vera gel acts as an anti-ageing agent which increases collagen production and maintains the integrity of the skin.
2. Aloe vera contains skin friendly vitamins
Vitamin C and E have a vital role in protecting the cell. Individually, Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid is involved in the synthesis of collagen, which is an essential component of the skin.
It is also a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant and hence protects the skin against harmful free radical.
In 2003, a human trial was conducted to establish the effect of Aloe vera consumption on the bioavailability of Vitamin C and E.
Vitamin C was given in the form of a tablet (500 mg) and Vitamin E as a capsule (60 mL). Control was also maintained.
The results of the study revealed that consumption of Aloe vera gel or the whole leaf reduced the rate at which Vitamin C was absorbed, hence maintaining its blood plasma concentration at a higher level.
Similar results were observed for Vitamin E too. This was because of the ability of the phytochemicals in Aloe vera to protect Vitamin C and E from getting degraded.
What does this mean? Consumption of Aloe vera replenishes the body’s store of Vitamin C and E, thus protecting the skin from aging and wrinkling.
3. It improves the elasticity of the skin
Aloe vera has been found to have a moisturizing effect on the skin.
Fibroblast is a tissue which helps in the formation of collagen and elastin, both of which play an important role in the maintenance of the elasticity of the skin.
Aloe promotes the production of collagen. It also acts on the flaky skin and binds them together, thus softening the skin. Aloe vera is also rich in the metal Zinc.
It plays a very important role as an astringent that it causes skin contraction and thus allows pore tightening and maintaining the structural identity of the skin.
What does this mean? Aloe vera acts as a moisturizer and smoothens the skin and prevents premature wrinkling.
4. It protects from sunburns
One of the most dangerous components of UV radiation is UV A. Upon interaction with tissues, It causes the formation of superoxide radicals and other reactive oxygen species.
Ultimately, it causes cell death, and this reflects on the skin in the form of wrinkles and dryness. Aloe vera extract prevents the damage inflicted on the skin by UV A.
The extract prevents the oxidation of the lipid membrane, which is induced by UV A. Lipid membrane oxidation plays a key role in cell death due to oxidative stress.
Thus, Aloe Vera protects the skin from cell death due to UV-A radiation.
Studies have also been conducted to find out the effectiveness of Aloe vera extract on skin exposed to UV B. In an animal study conducted in, 2017, aloe vera gel extract (12 or 120 ppm) was administered after exposure to UV-B radiation.
UV-B exposure is known to cause severe skin wrinkling and loss of moisture. The study lasted for 7 weeks.
The effect of Aloe vera caused a reduction in skin dryness and showed reduced skin wrinkling.
This was attributed to the capacity of Aloe vera extract to prevent the damage caused by the collagen fibers and to reduce the expression of the collagen-degrading matrix metalloproteins. Aloe extract was also found to be capable of reducing the UV-B induced apoptosis of skin cells.
What does this mean? Aloe vera extract plays a crucial role in reducing the skin damage caused by exposure to UV radiation and thus prevents skin wrinkling.
5. Aloe vera improves antioxidant defences
Antioxidants are compounds which have the ability to scavenge the free radicals produced in our body in response to a variety of stresses.
Free radicals cause damage to the cell structure, nucleic acids and proteins.
A study conducted in 2015, tried to find out the antioxidant capacity of Aloe extracts.
The subjects of the study were supplemented with 250 mL of Aloe vera extract every day for 14 days. After 14 days, various tests were conducted to determine if Aloe extracts were capable of alleviating stress caused by free radicals.
The tests revealed that consumption of Aloe vera, successfully increased the total antioxidant capacity of the plasma membrane.
Also, an increase in total protein was also observed which showed that Aloe vera extract was able to counter the protein damage caused by oxidative stresses.
The antioxidant properties of Aloe vera extracts are due to the large reserve of active compounds that are present in the extracts. These include flavonoids, polyphenols, aldehyde, ketones, Phyto sterols, and alcohols.
What does this mean? Aloe extract is a potent antioxidant which can prevent damage inflicted on the skin and wrinkling caused by the production of free radicals and oxidative stress.
6. Aloe vera moisturizes skin
Lack of hydration causes skin dryness, which promotes wrinkling. A short-term study, conducted on the skin of female subjects tried to analyse the skin hydrating capacity of Aloe vera gels.
Aloe gel was applied on the forearm of the female subjects, and the effects of the gel were evaluated after single and multiple applications.
After 6 days of gel application, the results showed that within a single application Aloe vera gel showed an increase in skin hydration.
Another study aimed at evaluating the effect of varying concentrations of Aloe vera extract on skin hydration.
The study lasted for 2 weeks, wherein, 20 female subjects were asked to apply 0.15, 0.25 or 0.5% of Aloe vera extract on their forearm.
After the two-week period, tests concluded that the 0.25 and 0.5% concentration successfully restored skin moisture to normal within one week, whereas the 0.15% concentration of Aloe extract showed the same effect within two weeks of application.
The major reason for dry skin is the dehydration of the stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of the skin.
In 2010, a human trial was conducted to compare the skin moisturizing ability of various herbal moisturizers.
The study included 36 volunteers, who were split into six groups and were asked to apply six different types of moisturizers twice a day for three weeks.
Evaluation of results based on skin conductance after three weeks revealed that the formulations containing Aloe vera extract showed maximum levels of skin hydration.
The application of Aloe vera can restore the moisture content of the skin, preventing it from dryness and irritation, thus preventing the formation of wrinkles.
What does this mean? Aloe vera extract can be used as a daily moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.
Aloe Vera Home Remedies for Wrinkles
There are several simple aloe vera home remedies which can be used to treat the skin. If you have a plant at home, select some succulent older leaves from the base, slit open and scoop out the gel.
Make sure the leaves are washed well to avoid dirt and debris.
You can also get fresh aloe vera gel at health stores along with other ingredients needed to make a refreshing lotion which will soothe, smooth and moisturize skin, therefore, keeping it wrinkle-free and healthy.
To treat eye wrinkles
Get pure aloe vera gel. Cleanse your face and gently apply the gel under the eyes. Do not rub hard on the skin is very thin and do not let it come in contact with the eyes.
Aloe vera gel contains vitamins E, C and A which heal and nourish the skin and reduce wrinkles under the eyes when used regularly. Wash off after a few minutes.
Aloe vera offers anti-inflammatory benefits that can reduce puffy bags under the eyes.
Crow’s feet around the corners of each eye and dryness can also be prevented by using aloe vera gel for it contains Vitamins B, C, choline, niacinamide and 18 amino acids that give us firm, hydrated skin.
Make Aloe Vera Lotion at Home
The following are recipes to make aloe vera lotion at home.
- Mix well 1 cup fresh aloe gel, one vitamin E capsule or 1tsp vitamin E-liquid and 1 tbsp soy lecithin. Heat a pan and melt 1/3 cup each of beeswax and olive oil. Add this mix when cooled to the aloe gel mixture. Now add ¼ cup sweet almond or jojoba essential oil, 3-5 drops of any favorite essential oil (sandalwood, ylang-ylang or lavender). Mix well and store in the refrigerator in a dark glass or tight plastic container. This can be kept for 3 months at least.
- Boil together ½ tsp borax and ½ cup filtered water. Remove and cool. Heat separately 1 cup organic coconut oil and cool. Mix both together and now add 5-10 drops essential oil and ¾ cup aloe vera gel. Mix thoroughly and store as above.
- Blend together juice of 1 cucumber, ½ cup coconut oil (melted), ½ cup each of fresh aloe vera gel and olive oil in a bowl and store as usual.
The dosage of aloe vera
Aloe vera extracts may be consumed orally as juice or applied to the skin as a cream or a gel.
For consumption as a liquid, 250 mL of Aloe vera extract per day was shown to be healthy and contributed to an increase in the antioxidant capacity of the cell and thus is helpful in preventing wrinkling.
However in real life, one can limit intake to 30ml of aloe vera juice 1-2 times a day.
In the case of aloe vera gel capsules, a dose of 1-3g is found to be beneficial in reducing wrinkles.
Whereas, in the case of external application, up to 0.5% Aloe vera gel can be applied to the skin as a moisturizing agent without any evidence of toxicity.
Possible side effects of aloe vera
The debate regarding the side effects of Aloe vera is rooted in the presence of Aloin. This is a laxative compound found in the plant right next to the gel.
Consumption of aloin can cause diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, and dehydration.
Due to the presence of aloin, pregnant women are strictly advised to avoid consumption of Aloe vera to prevent the incidence of uterine contractions and miscarriages.
Hence it is safer to purchase commercially available Aloe juice, which is free from Aloin, rather than prepare the juice at home.
We are currently in an age where we are moving towards natural remedies and avoiding chemical-based drugs.
Aloe Vera proves to be a very effective remedy for the prevention of early skin wrinkling. It widely available in markets in the form of juices, gels, and tablets, which makes consumption easy.
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