The aloe vera plant is widely used as a treatment for skin conditions such as burns, minor abrasions and cuts. The leaves of the aloe plant, a member of the cactus family of plants, are cut and the gel inside is applied to areas to facilitate healing. Additionally, aloe contains substances that can reduce inflammation and pain. Acne, a skin condition characterized by inflammation, irritation, pain and itching, is caused when the follicles of your skin become clogged. If completely blocked or infiltrated by bacteria, acne can become an unsightly and painful problem. Fortunately, aloe can help you get rid of acne, when combined with a regimen of good skin hygiene.
Wash the affected areas of your skin thoroughly at least twice a day, using an antibacterial soap. Gently scrub the soap into your skin in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. Never reuse a towel because it can spread bacteria that can cause additional acne. Be sure to avoid touching your skin, which can also transmit bacteria and dirt.
With pruning shears, scissors or a sharp knife, cut an outer leaf off the aloe plant. Cut the leaf at the thickest part, near the bottom. Don't pull the leaf when cutting, as this can cause damage to the plant. Instead, hold the end of the leaf firmly taut when cutting. According to the University of Maryland, aloe contains substances known as glycoproteins which can help facilitate healing and reduce inflammation.
Gently squeeze the gel from the aloe, so that it comes out of the freshly cut stem. Dab a thin layer of aloe on the affected areas of your body. Allow the aloe to dry thoroughly before putting clothing over it. For additional protection from bacteria, apply a thin layer of antibacterial cream over the aloe and allow to dry. The UMMC explains that aloe contains polysaccharides which are substances that stimulate the growth of new skin cells. This can help speed the healing of acne and decrease the potential for acne scarring.
Apply aloe gel to the affected areas of your body after washing and just before going to bed. Use aloe gel, available at your local pharmacy, if you don't have an aloe vera plant handy. Pure aloe gel has similar healing properties as the aloe plant and can be a convenient way to keep aloe in your home. Applying the gel at night gives the aloe time to work on healing the inflammation caused by acne. Allow the aloe gel to dry before putting on clothing or going to bed, as it can stain some fabrics.
Apply aloe on a regular basis, even if your acne has healed completely. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, aloe is an effective moisturizer and has properties that may help decrease signs of aging. Applying aloe on a regular basis may help protect your skin from the effects of the environment and from bacterial buildup that can lead to acne. Aloe also has antiseptic effects that can keep your skin from harboring dirt and bacteria that can clog pores and cause inflammation.
Speak with your doctor before using aloe.
Drinking aloe vera juice is generally a technique used to treat constipation and not skin conditions. If you are considering using aloe juice, speak with your doctor first.
Maura Banar has been a professional writer since 2001 and is a psychotherapist. Her work has appeared in "Imagination, Cognition and Personality" and "Dreaming: The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Dreams." Banar received her Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Buffalo State College and her Master of Arts in mental health counseling from Medaille College.