Harvesting Aloe Vera Gel for Sunburn and Other Skin Woes

applying sunscreenAfter our church outing, we had a mild case of sunburn on our hands. Marguerite spent practically the entire day swimming and even if we had obsessively slathered her with sunblock, the skin on her nose still hurt. Since the sunburn was minor, we resorted to our usual remedy for most skin woes: aloe vera. This took a short trip to the garden where I broke off a leaf from our aloe plant. I then took it inside to harvest its gel.

Aloe vera is a really handy plant to have around. It’s very hardy, easy to propagate, and can be kept indoors. We’re certainly getting a lot of mileage out of our plant. Marguerite accidentally touched the hot lid of the rice cooker one time, and after soaking her hand in cold water, we dried it and applied some aloe gel. Some years back, she contracted ringworm on her leg and since she was only about 3 yo at that time, I didn’t want to put any strong medication on her. Aloe did the trick for that as well. Of course, that involved religious application several times a day, but in a short time, the ringworm was gone.

Harvesting aloe gel is a simple process. I usually just let the juice (aloin) drip first, after which I rinse the leaf, wipe it dry, cut it open lengthwise, and then run the knife along the skin to separate the gel. Once you’ve got the strip of gel out, you can cut it up into chunks to rub against your skin ailment. I haven’t tried eating aloe gel that I myself have harvested, but I’m eager to try it one of these days, probably in a smoothie as I hear it’s not the best-tasting. Disclaimer: This is obviously not a professional recommendation for treating skin troubles.

Of course, we’ve consulted with doctors over some of our more serious skin problems (thankfully, those are few and far between), but for minor stuff, we mostly just resort to aloe and baking soda (not together). What about you? What is your home remedy of choice for skin woes?

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