How to Treat Burns with Aloe Vera
You will be hard pressed to go into a drug store or supermarket and not see pictures of aloe vera leaves plastered on various toiletries. This is because aloe vera has been used as a home remedy for various aliments for centuries (at least). It has found its way into cosmetic and general hygiene products. Often these are products designed for your skin, as it is widely believe aloe vera is beneficial in repairing skin. This is why many people have traditionally used aloe vera as a cheap and natural alternative to heal burns. At oneHOWTO, we're going to take a look at how to treat burns with aloe vera. In doing so, we'll see which type of burns it might be suitable for or even if it is suitable at all.
Using aloe vera on your skin
Aloe vera is a succulent plant, which means that it is able to hold a lot of water. This is because they are often found in arid areas like desserts, so they need to conserve as much as possible until they get an appropriate water source. For a plant like aloe vera, it means they have a durable outer skin which can stand the hot sun, but there is a fleshy interior which is full of nutrients designed to keep it safe during the dry periods.
While these qualities might be good for the plant, it doesn't necessarily mean they are good for humans. Some sources claim that aloe vera is like a wonder drug which can cure all ailments. But there is insufficient evidence to suggest that it is highly effective at anything when it comes to skin conditions. This is particularly worrying as there are some unsubstantiated reports that it can help with cancer related problems.
It is even thought to be potentially toxic when applied to open skin, so we know it shouldn't be used on severe burns.
However, given all of this, there is sufficient evidence that aloe vera might be helpful in treating minor burns. This isn't just anecdotal evidence either. A study in 1995 from the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand did a study to see recovery times for people who had burned themselves. Those who were treated healed almost 6 days quicker than those who were treated with Vaseline.
A similar study in 2007 from Burns: The Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries claimed "aloe vera might be an effective intervention used in burn wound healing for first to second degree burns". Both studies (in fact all which we came across) said that further research needed to be conducted. Although the conclusions should be treated with caution, the suggestion that a topical aloe vera treatment can be effective in healing burns seems to be valid. The effectiveness is not yet confirmed.
Anecdotally, there is a lot of evidence to support using aloe vera on burns. Many, if not most, people who put it on their skin feel feel an almost immediate cooling effect. There is also no evidence to support that putting aloe vera on a first or second degree burn is dangerous.
We will detail how to put aloe vera on minor burns below, but if you are unsure of how severe your burn might be (especially if there is risk of infection), you should seek professional medical advice immediately.
Types of burn
It is true that treating burns is one of the most common and practical uses of aloe, I have known people who have cracked off an aloe leaf and rubbed it directly on their skin just to feel its coolness. As we have said, aloe vera is only suitable for use on minor burns, so let's take a look at the stages of burns:
- First degree burn: these only affect the top layer of skin and are quick to heal. Sunburn is a very common type of first degree burn.
- Second degree burn: this is when the burn goes through to the second layer of skin, usually causing a blister, but not immediately breaking the top layer of skin.
- Third degree burn: This is when the burn goes all the way through the skin to the muscle. It can be very worrying and cause a great risk of infection.
- Fourth degree burn: this is the worst type of burn as it does all the way through to the bone. It is so bad your skin will not be able to recover.
Aloe vera is only suitable for first and second degree burns. If the burn breaks the skin, it will need proper medical attention. Second degree burns are actually split into two categories - superficial and deep. If it is deep, then aloe vera may not be recommended either.
Aloe vera for minor burns
For minor burns we can use aloe or aloe to relieve the pain and moisturise the affected area. There are several ways to do this using this plant, but the most common is to directly take an aloe leaf, cut it with a knife, extract the pulp and apply it to the burn. This is why it is always a good idea to have an aloe vera plant at home for use in cases like these. To help you grow and maintain your own, here is an article on how to grow aloe vera.
Likewise, it is also possible to squeeze the leaf to access the sap of the plant directly and spread it over the burned area. It is also very important to know how to cut aloe vera leaves so as not to damage the plant.
Another good way of using aloe on burns is by using aloe vera gel. You can use either a home or a commercial preparation found in natural stores and supermarkets. In this case, all you have to do is apply the aloe vera gel to the burned area and spread it well so that the skin can absorb it.
If you want to know how to prepare this yourself at home, you just need to follow our steps found in the article: how to make aloe vera lotion. To keep it properly, you must put it in a sealed pot and keep it in the fridge.
If you want to find a way to store aloe vera after extracting it, you can use aloe vera ice cubes. Do not, however, put the aloe vera ice cube directly on the burn as putting frozen substances on a burn can make it worse.
Thaw the aloe vera ice cubes before you use them.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Treat Burns with Aloe Vera, we recommend you visit our Family health category.