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5 Things To Do with Aloe Vera

Calm burns, soothe itchy skin and treat acne with five handy uses for aloe vera.

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Scientists are not exactly sure how aloe vera works, but they have identified many of its active components. It is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds as well as a chemical  that acts as a topical pain-killer. The magnesium lactate in aloe vera soothes itching and the gel contains substances that promote healing by dilating blood vessels. Here are five handy household uses for aloe vera:

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1. Soothe Burns

A quick application of aloe vera gel reduces pain, moistens the skin and keeps germs and air out. It soothes the pain of sunburn as well. To relieve the pain of widespread sunburn, add a cup or two of aloe vera juice to a bath of lukewarm water and have a cooling soak.

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2. Cover Cuts

Aloe vera gel dries to form a natural bandage over skin and speed up healing. However, it’s not a good choice for serious wounds. Researchers at a Los Angeles hospital found that the gel actually increased the time it took such wounds to heal.

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3. Calm Psoriasis

The gel soothes inflammation and softens the itchy skin scales that characterise this chronic skin condition. One four-week study found an 83 per cent rate of skin clearing in those who used aloe vera, compared to only 6 per cent in those using an inactive cream.

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4. Attack Acne

Apply aloe vera when you have a painful outbreak. One study found that 90 per cent of skin sores completely healed within five days of using aloe vera – nearly twice the success rate of those applying conventional acne medications.

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5. Treat Shingles

Painful lesions caused by the herpes virus heal more quickly when aloe vera is applied to the skin. The gel appears to have some antiviral effects. In addition, aloe vera dilates tiny blood vessels known as capillaries, allowing more blood to reach the area and so speeding up healing.

(Photo by Thinkstock)

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