Growing up, I would get acne regularly and after the pimples went down, I'd be left with dark marks that seemed to never go away. I tried to get over it and ignore it. I tried to tell myself that time would make it better. But despite everything, I was obsessing over the hyperpigmentation.
Then I remembered that when I used to have milder acne, I would put on aloe gel every night before sleeping and that always helped with the hyperpigmentation so I decided to dig into some research on aloe vera.
What Is Aloe Vera?
It’s no secret that aloe vera is one of the most versatile plants! Aloe is called ‘miracle plant’, ‘wand of heaven’ or ‘plant of life’ and they live up to these names!
Commonly mistaken for a cactus, it’s actually a succulent and there are actually 400 species of Aloe and 'Aloe Vera' is the most common!
This herbal medical plant has been used for over 2000 years. Going farther back than this, 6000-year-old stone carvings of aloe plants were found in Egypt, pretty mind-blowing, huh?
WHAT IS POST INFLAMMATORY HYPERPIGMENTATION (PIH)?
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH is the medical term for discoloration of the skin that is caused by an inflammatory wound such as when you can a scrape, rash, pimple or acne. It can differ in color from brown, red, pink, purple, depending on your skin type and color.
We have to take note though that PIH is flat with discoloration and it’s neither pitted nor raised.
As our skin heals, it produces too much melanin (a substance in our body that gives skin our color) thus leaving a darker area.
Aloe Vera Skin Benefits
Aloe Vera comprises of over 75 vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and active compounds that are all working together to repair the skinfrom the inside by renewing the development of new, healthy skin cells revealing your healthy skin underneath!
1. Lightens Hyperpigmentation
Aloe Vera contains Aloin which is a natural compound found in Aloe. It has depigmentation properties so it will help lighten hyperpigmentation or PIH. Aloe allows its natural nutrients to penetrate in the deepest layers of the skin for serious healing.
Aloe also contains Phenolwhich is shown to lighten acne scars with fairly little amounts of irritation compared to other hyperpigmentation lighteners.
2. Reduces inflammation
Aloe reduces inflammation, it can help post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from developing in the first place or reduce the chances of it developing. This makes aloe a great ingredient for acne, especially if you have inflammatory acne.
3. Fights Acne
Aloe vera naturally contains popular acne fighting compounds such as salicylic acid, sulphur, and phenol which are all great and common acne fighting ingredients as they are anti inflammatory, and anti fungal and anti microbial and cleans out pores.
Other Skin Healing Properties Of Aloe
Contains Magnesium Lactate while soothes itching
Aloe contains 8 enzymes that can reduce inflammation
Aloe contains amino acids that can increase the absorption of other products applied onto skin so it's excellent to increase product efficacy when combined with other beneficial skincare ingredients.
Protects skin against UV radiation, but of course use sunscreen too.
Has Moisturizing properties to repair skin which also helps reduce acne
Aloe Vera For Acne Scars Review
I Used Aloe Vera On My Acne Scars For A Week
Keep in mind, I used aloe vera on hyperpigmentation or dark spot type of acne scars. I put aloe vera on every night before sleeping and washed it off in the morning. My bathroom’s mirror was just terrible to look into so I was avoiding it for a few days. A week after starting the aloe vera gel for acne scars, I happened to look into that mirror, under the harsh light. What I saw astonished me.
Did Aloe Vera Gel Work On Dark Spots?
My skin was much smoother than before (something I wasn’t able to notice in other mirrors)! You might think I am exaggerating, or that I am mistaken, but I kid you not, my acne scars were visible but not as dark. Since then, and till now, I have almost never slept without aloe vera gel on my face. That drastic improvement I saw had such a powerful effect on my subconscious, that since then, acne masks don’t freak me out as much as they used to. So I urge all of you with hyperpigmentation to try aloe vera gel!
How Long Does Results Take?
Each of our skin is different so we may see various results! You may experience some mild lightening of hyperpigmentation after 2 weeks of trying pure aloe vera. Results may vary too depending on the damage to the skin, and type of your hyperpigmentation.
More stubborn hyperpigmentation may need a mixture of ingredients or formulated products to get results.
How To Use Aloe Vera
You can apply aloe vera topically onto skin. It's a fantastic moisturizer and skin soother. If you have sunburn it’ll soothe the skin and help the healing process go by a lot faster.
It also will help skin conditions like eczema and rashes. It’s also great just to apply daily to keep the skin hydrated and soft.
How To Use Aloe Vera On Hyperpigmentation
Cleanse face thoroughly and dry the area you will work on
Apply the Aloe Vera gel thinly on the skin, and you can massage the gel in a circular motion to assist with the absorption
You can leave the aloe on your skin overnight and rinse the next morning. Alternatively, you can let the aloe vera dry and wipe with a warm face towel after.
You can repeat the application every night.
You can also get Aloe Vera leaf at some groceries if you want to get the gel directly from the plant.
To use the Aloe Vera leaf, simply cut a small portion of the leaf, cut it in half and take the clear center gel out and apply directly to the area to be treated.
You can save the unused leaf for the next 2-3 days!
Harvesting the Aloe Vera gel does not kill the plant, as the center can regrow the lost leaves.
You may also buy aloe vera gel, however be careful of the ingredients since some gels might not contain aloe as a main ingredient.
PRODUCTS WITH ORGANIC ALOE VERA AS A BASE:
Because of aloe vera's soothing and anti inflammatory properties, Banish uses as the base of all their products except for the Banish serum which uses glycerin. If you want a skincare formula that contains plenty of aloe along with several antioxidants like Vitamin C that can further help with hyperpigmentation treatment, we recommend the Vitamin C Creme!
Whats The Difference Between Acne Scars and Hyperpigmentation?
Good news, hyperpigmentation is actually not true scarring and is often called “pseudo-scarring” since it does not damage the skin’s follicle or collagen though it may leave discoloration for a period of time.
Acne scarswhich are the scars that look pitted occur when there is a loss of tissue causing the skin to appear pitted or depressed. Skin traumas can also cause an excess of tissue causing a raised scar.
Hyperpigmentation, on the other hand, will just appear darker than the rest of the skin, it’s not pitted nor raised in texture.
Will Aloe Vera Work For Acne Scars?
Aloe generally does not help with acne scars (pitted or raised scars) since this is mainly caused by lack or excess formation of collagen tissue on the skin and may need other forms of acne scarring treatment such asmicro-needlingthat promotes the buildup of collagen deep in the skin to plump pitted scars and even out the skin texture.