In Australia, summer is coming up and feels like it is already here even in "spring", which means spending more time in a swimming pool, at the beach etc. than other times of the year. Unfortunately this also carries the threat of increased skin aging, but fortunately there are solutions, one of them being aloe vera gel......not used on the skin, but taken internally.
In a study in the Annals of Dermatology, volume 21, thirty women over the age of 45 took either 1.2 or 3.6 grams of aloe vera gel for 90 days, using their appearance on day 1 as the control. After the 90 days, wrinkles and skin elasticity was significantly improved, and collagen production increased. Collagen is a key protein in the skin's connective tissue, hence collagen injections to erase wrinkles. There was also a decrease in an enzyme known as matrix metalloproteinase-1 (MMP-1), which increases in aging skin and is activated by UV light, damaging collagen and causing yet additional wrinkles.
Aloe vera has also been studied for its wound healing and immune boosting properties, which give some idea of why it has antiaging benefits. In fact, it may also speed healing of surgical wounds, and could possibly improve wound healing in diabetics. Superoxide dismutase, a powerful antioxidant, could be present in aloe vera gel too. This is important in the fight against skin aging because ultraviolet light's aging effects work by generating oxygen-based pro-oxidative chemicals. These create a nasty chain reaction resulting in degraded collagen, inflammation, increased MMP, cell damage and cell death.
The researchers found that there was no real difference between the effects of aloe vera at 1.2 or 3.6 grams, so you don't need too much to get a therapeutic benefit, but anything containing aloe vera gel is so refreshing during summer anyway! Just remember, if you are taking aloe gel straight from a plant, only use the clear inner gel, as the yellow sap is a laxative.