The Aloe Vera is a plant species that belongs to the genus Aloe. It is a succulent plant that stores water in its thick and fleshy leaves.The benefits of Aloe Vera are well known to us since many centuries due to its use in agricultural and medicinal areas.
The plant is known to cure conditions like burns, wounds and skin irritations. The thick clear gel found in the inner part of the leaf is most commonly used in minor cuts and burns.
Aloe Vera gel is commercially available in cosmetic and skin care products in the form of lotions, moisturizers, ointment and creams.
Although 99% of the plant is composed of water, the Aloe Vera gel contains beneficial components like glycoproteins and polysaccharides. The glycoproteins speed up the healing process by curbing pain and inflammation. Whereas the polysaccharides are known to stimulate skin growth and repair.
Many studies have been conducted to report the healing effects of Aloe Vera on topical application. However there are very few studies that reveal its effects on oral administration of the Aloe Vera gel.
As we all know that facial wrinkles are a part of the natural aging process. Wrinkles occur when collagen and elastin present in the connective tissue of the skin become weak and break down due to changes in the fibroblasts that produce them.
Sometimes premature and excess wrinkles may also be caused due excessive exposure to sunlight (UV radiations), smoking, excessive stress or excess weight loss.
This article describes a recent study conducted on Japanese women with dry skin to determine the effect of plant sterols derived from the Aloe Vera gel on skin conditions and on the skin fibroblasts. Aloe sterols are plant sterols that regulate the metabolism of glucose and lipids in the body.
What happened in the study?
The first aim of the study was to determine the ability of Aloe Vera sterols to stimulate the skin fibroblasts of humans in vitro (in a lab vessel or under controlled experimental conditions).
Various methods were used to evaluate the effect on the skin fibroblasts. The methods included obtaining cell cultures, Cell proliferation assay to test viability of cells and Reverse Transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) analysis to identify differences between control samples and samples containing Aloe-sterols.
The next step was to conduct clinical trials on Japanese women with dry skin. This was done by preparing Aloe Vera gel tablets. The subjects of the study were divided in two groups.
One that consumed the tablets containing Aloe Vera gel and one that did not consume Aloe Vera gel tablets (control group). The subjects of the study ingested five tablets per day for 8 weeks.
In every four weeks skin parameters and physical examinations were performed on the subjects and the observations were recorded.
Measurement of skin parameters involved checking the hydration properties of the skin and crow’s feet wrinkles (wrinkles that form in the corners of the eyes). Thereafter, statistical analysis was conducted to compare skin changes over time with baseline parameters.
What were the results of the study?
The results revealed that in the presence of Aloe sterols the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid from the fibroblasts increased by two to 1.5 fold.
The gene expression levels of enzymes involved in their synthesis also increased.
The group of subjects who ingested the Aloe Vera gel tablets showed increased hydration in skin conditions after a span of eight weeks. However, the control group that showed decreased arm skin hydration.
But at the end of the study no significant difference in skin moisture was observed between the two groups.
Interestingly, aloe vera consumption reduced deepening of wrinkles in the test group; while deepening of wrinkles did occur in the group that did not receive aloe vera.
In addition to this, the percent body fat was also found to be lower in aloe vera consuming group after 8 weeks as compared to the control group. The results did not indicate any harmful effects due to intake of the Aloe Vera gel tablets confirming its safety.
How does this occur?
Fibroblasts are principle active cells of the connective tissue. Fibroblasts produce two major skin components, hyaluronic acid and collagen.
A characteristic property of aged skin is reduced synthesis of collagen.
A study was conducted to demonstrate this by obtained samples of collagen from skin fibroblasts of young (18-29years) and old (80+ years) individuals. The study compared the levels of collagen produced and found greater number of cells attached to collagen fibers in young individuals.
A research study conducted in the 2009 reported that dietary intake of Aloe Vera gel improves wrinkles and elasticity in skin protected from long term sun exposure by increasing collagen production and decreasing the expression of genes that are involved in breakdown of collagen.
Skin collagen declines with age in people aged more than forty and after menopause and leads to formation of wrinkles.
When Aloe Vera gel is administered orally Aloe sterols (plant sterols) present in the gel stimulate levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid production by the fibroblasts.
Aloe sterols increase levels of gene expression of key enzymes responsible in the production components of fibroblasts. Since levels of collagen and hyaluronic acids increase, this reduces occurrence of facial wrinkles.
What does this mean?
The study confirms that Aloe Vera gel containing Aloe sterols can reduce facial wrinkles when consumed orally by increasing levels of production of collagen and hyaluronic acid.
Aloe Vera gel is an excellent solution to prevent facial wrinkles. It hydrates, moisturizes, and rejuvenates the skin. It also increases skin elasticity. People spend their money on buying creams and other cosmetic products that claim to reduce wrinkles but have temporary benefits.
A natural alternative to these cosmetic products that are loaded with chemicals is the Aloe Vera gel which has proven to be effective by various research studies.
Read study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25759593