Aloe has been a common burn remedy since the Greek physician Dioscorides discovered its medicinal properties circa six B.C. The plant began originally grew in Eastern and Southern Africa, making its to temperate zones via trade routes. During the 18th and 19th centuries, aloe was one of the most prescribed medicines in the world, and it remains a valuable medicinal commodity used commonly in the treatment of burned skin. Aloe for burns is not just an old wives tale!
What Kind of Burns?
Burns, a type of injury to the skin, can be caused by a variety of things: the sun, heat, electricity, friction (oh those good old rug burns!), and even radiation. Although treatment varies depending on the size of the burn and how severe it is, applying antibiotic aloe vera to some types of burns will help reduce the symptoms and speed healing:
- minor, first degree burns
Got burned but don’t know if it’s a first, second or third degree burn? Know you have a first degree burns when your skin is red and swells, giving you mild to moderate pain. If this looks like the burn you got from touching that dish while cooking or scalding your hand with hot water, bring out the aloe! But if you experience severe pain from a burn and the skin becomes blistered, may be charred black or white, or swells greatly, seek immediate medical attention, as this is an indication that you have a second or third degree burn–an injury outside the help of aloe. Usually first degree bones only damage the outer layer of skin is affected, so aloe is the perfect natural treatment. Beyond that, the wound becomes much deeper and more serious, demanding the care of doctors. Aloe for burns can be an effective, natural way to treat injured skin, but make sure you access what type of burn you have before pulling that aloe out of the medicine cabinet!
Sunburns, characterized by redness, itchiness and peeling, can be relieved with just a swipe of aloe gel on the affected area.
Aloe Vera for Burns: How it Works
Aloe Vera is a very effective way to alleviate the pain caused by a burn. Aloe contains enzymes that reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to damaged tissues. Because it contains antibacterial compounds, aloe can also assist in avoiding infection. Aloe helps new skin cells form, accelerating the healing process. It was also found to speed wound healing by increasing circulation in the blood vessels of the skin, allowing oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the affected skin sooner and more quickly. In addition to healing skin, preventing blistering and scarring, Aloe provides instant relief, taking the throbbing and sting out of kitchen burns, sunburns, and any other type of minor burn. It is a very gentle substance, and can be used on all areas of your body. Allergies to aloe are very rare. However, you may want to try it on a small portion of your skin first. Aloe is generally very soothing. Irritation is not normal and is a sign that you may have an allergy.
How to Apply Aloe for Burns
Aloe for burns can be used in many different forms. It is often available in a spray, liquid, gel, lotion, cream, or capsule. Although all types are effective, Aloe is most potent when taken directly from the plant. You can cut off a portion of the plant, and then wash it. Then you can squeeze out the gel and put it on the burn. When buying Aloe products, be aware of the fact that some Aloe gels only contain trace quantities of Aloe in them. Look for products containing a high percentage of stabilized aloe vera gel. Aloe should be spread on a burn after the area has had some time to cool off (cool running water helps). The gel dries to form a protective layer over the burn, reducing the chance of infection. After applying aloe, leave the affected area uncovered and clean. Reapply two to three times per day as needed.
Aloe for burns: try this natural treatment the next time you get yourself a minor burn. Don’t reach for cold water, butter, or any other common tricks; go right for the aloe instead!