People are born with different complexions, some darker and others fairer. While all complexions are beautiful and to be proud of, there’s no reason you shouldn’t strive to maintain your natural skin color. Environmental pollution can leave you looking dull and sporting an uneven skin tone, while health conditions are another culprit. Oftentimes, not enough sun protection can cause uneven skin tones.
To avoid these issues, it’s important to take proper care of your skin in order to retain its radiance. And there’s nothing better than using a soothing aloe vera solution to achieve that goal.
In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at the causes of skin darkening and how aloe vera can help you prevent a tan as well as lighten your skin tone. We’ll also give you easy-to-follow tips to boost your skin health.
Causes of Skin Darkening
Before diving into the how-tos, let’s look at the chief causes of skin darkening.
- Sun exposure: While it’s important to get your regular dose of vitamin D, too much sun can damage your skin. How? Sunlight can penetrate into the deeper layers of skin and damage cells. It also makes the skin produce more melanin, which can result in skin darkening, redness, and uneven coloring. Worse it puts you at risk of developing skin cancer, which can be life-threatening depending on the type of cancer and how fast it spreads.
- Pregnancy: Some pregnant women develop melasma, which is marked by irregular patches on the face, especially the forehead, cheeks, lips, and nose. It’s believed to occur when sex hormones stimulate cells that produce more melanin pigments. Melasma usually fades post-pregnancy but it can remain for years in some women.
- Addison’s disease: Addison’s disease is caused by the inability of the adrenal glands to produce enough cortisol and aldosterone. One symptom of the disease is skin darkening around scars, skin folds, and joints.
- Hyperpigmentation: Hyperpigmentation by itself is a harmless condition although the uneven skin tone can be very visible. It’s a common symptom of all of the issues we’ve mentioned above. It can also be a result of acne, birth control pills, and aging.
How to Use Aloe Vera to Lighten Skin
If you’re experiencing unwanted skin darkening, you can use fresh aloe vera to lighten your skin.
- You’ll need several aloe vera plants on hand if you intend to harvest the aloe more than once. Choose a plant that’s mature as it will have more active ingredients.
- Cut it close to the stem, slit it open and scoop out the gel.
- Cut it into small pieces and place them in a blender to make a solution.
- Apply it to your skin and leave it on for about 10 minutes before washing it off. Follow up with your normal moisturizer.
How to Use Aloe Vera on Face
You can use aloe vera on your face by applying it generously all over, or by spot-treating dark patches. Use it 1-3 times a day, depending on the severity. If you also want to treat acne, apply it to the affected areas, leave overnight, and wash it off the next morning.
Benefits of Using Aloe Vera on Face
Aloe vera has numerous benefits for the face and regular application can boost skin health. It can help alleviate:
Dry skin: Aloe vera easily seals in moisture, making it ideal for dry skin. Alternatively, it also works well on oily skin as it’s easily absorbed.
Abrasions: Aloe vera increases the amount of collagen, collagen cross-linking, and the composition of collagen itself to promote wound healing. Since 99% of aloe vera gel is water, it can also reduce the fragility and increase the flexibility of skin.
Cuts: Thanks to its ability to fight bacteria and boost the production of collagen, aloe vera is a great way to speed up the healing of tiny cuts.
Cold sores: Prone to developing cold sores? Apply aloe vera to reduce the pain and accelerate healing. Cold sores are typically caused by herpes simplex, whose growth can be contained by aloe vera.
Acne: Aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory properties that make it a top choice for inflammatory acne. You can use it alone or alongside conventional acne treatment.
Psoriasis: Psoriasis can be itchy and painful. While there is no cure, you can use aloe vera as a lubricating agent and to reduce discomfort.
Eczema: Eczema is another skin condition that can benefit from aloe vera owing to its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and wound-healing properties. Apply it on clean skin before it dries out, and reapply twice or thrice a day. Do perform a patch test to rule out allergies.
Side Effects of Aloe Vera on Face
Aloe vera is a gentle product and won’t cause serious health risks. But while it’s safe to use for most people, some do have allergic reactions and may develop contact dermatitis that’s marked by redness and a rash.
Tips to Prevent Skin Darkening
Being the main cause of skin darkening, it’s important to protect yourself against excessive sunlight – and follow a proper skincare routine that incorporates aloe vera.
Here are a few tips to follow:
- Start your morning with a refreshing toner made of aloe vera gel and rose water. Blend it, apply it, leave for a few minutes, and wash off with clean water. Follow this up with your usual moisturizer.
- Always use sunscreen, even when indoors. Aim to make it a habit so that you never leave home without it. Use a product with an SPF of at least 30 on your face as well as your body. Note: Use it even when it’s cloudy!
- Try to avoid going out during the peak time of day i.e., 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM as the sun is at its strongest. If you must go out, load up on sunscreen, use an umbrella, and wear long-sleeved tops and full-length trousers. Don’t forget to wear sunglasses that block UV light!
- Before sleeping, cleanse your face and apply a layer of soothing aloe vera to reduce the effects of sun damage. You can use the morning’s aloe-rosewater mix too!
Which plants are aloe vera?
There are around 500 species of aloe vera, giving you plenty of options to choose from! Some of these include snake aloe, short leaf aloe, soap aloe, sunset aloe, tiger aloe, spiral aloe, and lace aloe.
While we’ve focused on the topical use of aloe vera in this blog, some species of this wonder plant can even be consumed! The top choice is said to be simply aloe vera, which also goes by the name aloe barbadensis, aloe vera barbadensis Miller, and aloe vera var. barbadensis. Given its low toxicity, it can be made into a juice to provide quick relief from heartburn – perfect for that post-spicy-food discomfort – and lower your blood pressure. Aloe vera is also a natural laxative.
It’s important to remember that there’s still a lot we have to learn about the benefits of aloe vera, especially for consumption, so it’s always advisable to consult your doctor before eating or drinking it – especially if you have existing health conditions. As for topical use, just conduct a simple patch test to know if you’re allergic to it.