Is Aloe Vera Good for Your Face? Here’s What Experts Have to Say

Everything you need to know about the soothing succulent.

<p>Olga Pankova/Getty Images</p>

Olga Pankova/Getty Images

Aloe vera is one of the prettiest plants out there with its striking bright green foliage that springs up from the earth in a starburst-like shape. Cool looks aside, peel open one of its thick stalks and you’ll find a juicy, viscous goo that’s been used in soothing herbal remedies for centuries. You may have already used aloe vera to calm sunburns on your body or to nurture a fresh burn in the kitchen, but is it OK to use aloe vera on your face? Let’s explore.

RELATED: The Best Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients for Irritated Skin

Can You Use Aloe Vera on Your Face?

Heralded for its soothing and hydrating abilities, aloe vera is an excellent skincare ingredient for facial skin. In fact, lots of skincare products made for the face have aloe vera infused into the formula.

“Aloe vera has numerous benefits for the skin, including moisturizing, soothing inflammation, reducing acne, and promoting healing,” says Mona Foad, MD, MHS, FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and founder of MONA Dermatology.

As is the case with any product, she recommends doing a patch test  to ensure you don’t have any allergic reactions or sensitivities to the plant. This is especially important if you have sensitive or reactive skin.

“Apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to a small area of your skin, such as the inside of your wrist or elbow, and wait 24 hours to see if there's any adverse reaction before applying it to your face,” she says. “If you are sensitive, applying aloe vera may cause redness, burning, or a rash.”

Aloe Vera Benefits for Skin

Aloe vera packs a ton of benefits for skin. Here are some of the top reasons why it just makes sense to incorporate this natural ingredient into your beauty regimen.

  • Calms rashes, irritations, and inflammation

  • It’s antioxidant rich with vitamins A, C, and E, which can help defend against free radical damage

  • Anti-inflammatory qualities help soothe burns and redness almost immediately

  • Hydrates and plumps without feeling greasy

  • Tackles breakouts thanks to its anti-bacterial and soothing properties

  • Promotes wound healing and can can help speed up the recovery process for cuts, burns, and other minor injuries

  • Can tighten the look of pores and create smoother-feeling skin thanks to its astringent effect

How to Use Aloe Vera On Your Face

You can use aloe vera on your skin in three different ways: applied directly from the plant, mixed into a DIY recipe, or as part of a preformulated beauty product.

Applied Directly

“Aloe straight from the plant is the most effective,” says Erica Marie Gatt, esthetician and founder of EM Skin. You can trim a small piece off the tip of a stalk, then squeeze the goo out directly from the plant and apply as needed.

You can also squeeze out as much as you can, then store it in a mason jar in the fridge or freezer for an extra soothing treat. These methods ensure you're using pure, natural aloe vera without any added ingredients or preservatives.

Mixed Into a DIY Recipe

The world’s your oyster when it comes to DIY skincare recipes with aloe vera. You can squeeze some into a DIY body scrub to soothe while you exfoliate, add a touch of vitamin C to make your own antioxidant serum, or combine a tablespoon of aloe vera gel with a tablespoon of honey for a soothing, acne-busting face mask.

Formulated Beauty Products

Many skincare products contain aloe vera as a key ingredient due to the ingredient’s calming and hydrating properties. It may not even be a “featured” ingredient, but still be included in the mix. One of Gatt’s favorites is the Face Reality Calming Facial Toner ($29, Face Reality Skincare) which combines rose water with aloe leaf juice to sooth, calm, and nourish.

Another great option is Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel Cleanser (35, Sephora), and a pH balancing cleanser infused with amino acids, seawater, and aloe. The Epicuren Aloe Vera Calming Gel ($18.70, Epicuren), which is made with pre, whole leaf aloe, cucumber tea extract, and green tea extract.

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