You may have noticed that your skin care requirements have changed lately with having to wear a face covering. As a massage therapist, I am required to wear a fresh face mask with each client along with a face shield. I am also in a mask on the way to and from work. I started to experience subtle changes in my complexion. When I first returned to work it was during the intense July heat. I realized quickly that I needed to dial back the amount of moisturizer I was using. By the end of the day my skin felt oily, sweaty and flat out gross. I started doing some at home masks (boy do I miss going for a facial!) to make sure my skin was getting a deep cleansing treatment. I then noticed that my skin was starting to feel kind of dull and slightly dry – it needed hydration!
What’s the difference between hydration and moisture? Think lipids vs water.
One of the quickest, easiest, cleanest and most economical ways to get some deep hydration for your skin is aloe vera. Yes, I’m talking about that green cactus-like leaf that you may have seen at the grocery store in the produce department. You may be familiar with this plant as a great treatment for burns, but it also has many additional properties for the skin including:
- It’s rich in vitamin A, C, E and B12
- It’s about 98% water and is very easily absorbed by the skin
- It supports the production and of collagen and hyaluronic acid which keep the skin hydrated, firm and supple
- It has antioxidant and anti-aging properties
- It has a very soothing and cooling effect on itchy skin
- It contains mucopolysaccharides which help retain moisture in the skin
How do you use it? After washing the leaf, I slice it in to a few small pieces. In to a small bowl I scoop the gel out, smash it up a bit with a fork and apply a layer to my face, neck, and chest area. I leave it on for anywhere from 10-20 minutes and then rinse off with warm water. Sometimes, there’s really not much to rinse off since my skin absorbed most of it. You can then follow up with a light moisturizer to lock in the hydration. The aloe vera keeps in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I keep them in a Ziploc bag so they are nice and cool and soothing and ready to roll. You can purchase aloe vera gel in a bottle, just be sure to read the label carefully and check the ingredients. There’s often dye and other ingredients in there that you don’t really want to be putting on your skin.