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Le gel d'aloe vera pour soulager l'eczéma.

Aloe Vera for Eczema: A Natural Remedy.

Aloe vera is a fatty plant used for thousands of years for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. The ancient Greeks already used it to relieve irritations and burns. Today, this natural ingredient is used in various skin care products under its INCI name "Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice". Ideal for sensitive skin, does aloe vera help eczema as well?

Summary
Published March 12, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 6 min read

Key Points About Eczema.

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin disease. It primarily affects children and infants, but can also occur in adolescence and adulthood. Eczema results from a particular interaction between genetics and the environment, and appears when exposed to allergens (dust mites, animal hair, pollen, etc.).

According to several studies, 50 to 70% of children affected by eczema have a first-degree relative (father, mother, brother or sister) who was also affected. Sufferers secrete large amounts of immunoglobulin E, or antibodies, in response to environmental antigens (also called allergens).

This skin condition causes itching and can also lead to lesions and dryness. Indeed, the natural hydrolipidic and protective film  is missing on atopic skin. Allergens then penetrate the epidermis more easily and react with immune cells (lymphocytes), causing an inappropriate inflammatory reaction.

Eczema can appear on different parts of the body. Red patches can appear on the face, back, neck, hands, feet and flexors.

What Exactly Does Aloe Vera for Eczema?

Aloe vera is a plant of the Asphodelaceae family. It is easily recognizable by its thick and fleshy leaves, evoking the structure of a lotus flower. The aesthetics of aloe vera makes it a popular houseplant for decoration lovers. However, this plant is not only beautiful, it is also beneficial for skin suffering from eczema thanks to its many properties.

  • Aloe vera gel is moisturizing. This characteristic comes from its composition. Rich in amino acids and hygroscopic polysaccharides, it moisturizes the epidermis and does not leave any greasy film on the skin surface. The skins with atopic tendency particularly require a good hydration because of the fragility of their hydrolipidic film.

  • The aloe vera gel is also healing. The acemannan molecule, present in aloe vera gel, stimulates the production of collagen and glycosaminoglycans. These extracellular matrix compounds help maintain the structure of the skin. In addition, the glucomannan also present in this gel acts on the fibroblast growth factor, TGF-β1, which increases their activity. The secretion of elastin and collagen by the fibroblasts is thus amplified. Topical application of aloe vera gel on skin suffering from eczema can thus help reduce the presence of lesions and red patches.

  • The anti-inflammatory action of this botanical extract also allows it to reduce the redness and itching caused by eczema. Aloe vera gel soothes the skin by limiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and interleukin 6. TNF-α is targeted by certain flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol) contained in aloe vera gel and its activity is inhibited.

Topical application of aloe vera gel on red patches is thus a way to relieve an eczema attack. Moreover, the gel obtained from this plant brings a sensation of freshness, soothing the itch and irritations.

Please note: While aloe vera gel does help 

soothe the symptoms of eczema, 

it is not a miracle solution and will not cure it.

This ingredient is suitable for sensitive skin and there are no contraindications to its application. Nevertheless, it may be prudent to perform a tolerance test before using it regularly on atopic skin. To do this, apply a few drops to the hollow of the elbow or behind the ear, and wait 24 hours. If no adverse reaction is observed, you can use aloe for eczema.

However, it is important to know that the studies cited were not conducted on people with eczema, but on skin with various wounds and injuries. The properties of aloe vera for eczema presented here have therefore not been directly demonstrated.

Sources

  • PATUMRAJ S. & al. Therapeutic effects of Aloe vera on cutaneous microcirculation and wound healing in second degree burn model in rats. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand (2000).

  • MAIA CAMPOS P. M. & al. Moisturizing effect of cosmetic formulations containing Aloe vera extract in different concentrations assessed by skin bioengineering techniques. Skin Research and Technology (2006).

  • SAPLE D. G. & al. Aloe vera : a short review. Indian Journal of Dermatology (2008).

  • GOLDENBERG G. & al. Eczema. The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine (2011). 

  • LI J. & al. Aloe vera: a medicinal plant used in skin wound healing. Tissue Engineering (2021).

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