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Does aloe help burns heal faster?

Aloe vera is a tropical plant grown in hot climates throughout the world.  The active gel, found in the pulpy flesh of an aloe vera plant leaf, has been used since the Roman times to speed up wound healing, including sunburn.  Want to speed it more?  Aloe can help.  Although the exact mechanism is uncertain, it is thought that one or more of aloe vera’s 75 active ingredients (such as enzymes and antibacterial peptides) improve wound healing and help calm inflammation.  This has been shown in a variety of animal studies using guinea pigs.  In terms of human studies, there have been only four performed to date (compared to dozens of studies for well known pharmaceuticals).  The current scientific literature concludes that aloe vera is safe to use on human skin.  The actual effectiveness, however, is far from clear-cut.  Existing data has shown that aloe vera might be effective in shortening the duration of wound healing in first and second degree burns.  It also tends to increase the rate of success to healing and promotes quicker skin rejuvenation.  Although another study, published in the scientific journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, showed that burns coated with vaseline healed just as quickly as those with aloe vera.  The theory behind this is that burn wounds heal faster when they are kept moist and not allowed to scab.  It turns out vaseline and aloe vera both accomplish this.  Still want to go the aloe route?  If so, your best bet is to buy an actual plant and cut a leaf off, break it open, and rub the gel twice per day into the burned area.  In terms of the bottled forms found at the drugstore, make sure to buy the brand with aloe vera listed as the first ingredient, as this will be the most potent version.  If you have a history of eczema, get the organic brand, as it has less preservatives and fragrances that can increase your chances of getting an allergic reaction inside the burn wound (not good).  In general, the bottled version of aloe is less effective than the actual aloe plant because the enzymes and peptides in the bottled gel tend to degrade while sitting at room temperature inside a grocery store.  

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