For years, holistic beauty specialists have known that Aloe has the unique ability to stimulate cell renewal. Yet, until recently, no one knew why this was true. Now research is underway to discover the key to Aloe's cell proliferating properties.
In studies conducted by Dr. Ivan E. Danhof, M.D., Ph.D., president of North Texas Research Laboratories and a retired Professor of Physiology from the University of Texas, the interior gel from Aloe Vera was found to increase production of human fibroblast cells six to eight times faster than normal cell reproduction.
Fibroblast cells are found in the dermis of the skin and are responsible for fabricating collagen, the skin's support protein. During sun exposure and through normal aging processes, fibroblasts slow their collagen production. As aging continues, the quality of collagen is lessened and wrinkling becomes deeper. Dr. Danhof found that not only did aloe improve fibroblast cell integrity, the gel also quickened the making of collagen.
What is in Aloe that gives it the ability to affect fibroblast cells and collagen production? At this point no one knows for certain, but polysaccharides, the sugar-like substances found in Aloe which give the gel its tremendous moisture binding properties, are known to have some effect on aging. According to Danhof polysaccharides may reorganize epidermal cells located in the upper layer of the stratum comeum - the skin's thin protective surface barrier. As we age, cells in this top region become looser. Water escapes more easily, skin cells don't mature properly, bacteria and other bad guys - usually held out - can gain entry. Dry, scaly, aging skin takes over. By making epidermal cells more tight-fitting, complexions grow younger-looking and the barrier to the outside world is restored.
Of obvious benefit to dry and aging skin, this moisture binding action also works against the severe dryness accompanying burned tissue. In fact, Aloe is so effective on burns, it is now being used in burn trauma centers from Texas to California and in some Canadian hospitals.
Aloe's penetrating ability was proven in another study conducted by Dr. Danhof, where the gel was found to penetrate the skin almost four times faster than water. This is an interesting fact, since Aloe gel is 99.5 percent water. Yet one or more of those .5 percent of ingredients must be a super penetrator, taking the moisture of Aloe far into the underlying layers of the skin which plain water can not touch.
Two of Aloe's more well-known benefits are the calming and healing effects it has on damaged skin. Cuts, scrapes, burns, bug-bites - all are soothed immediately when gently rubbed with the thick gel of Aloe. Some medical diseases such as acne - which inflames skin pores, producing swelling, irritation, pimples, and pustules - respond quite well to Aloe's soothing and healing benefits.
With such a powerhouse of benefits locked inside, one wonders how Aloe Vera can be so much to so many.
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