Aloe vera, in its natural state, consists of a clear gel that is derived from the leaves of a succulent plant. Since ancient times, aloe vera has been used for the treatment of eczema, wounds, skin infections, burns and other skin conditions.
The active component in aloe vera is a polysaccharide that forms a protective and soothing coating when applied to the skin. Research indicates support for additional beneficial properties of aloe vera, which include antibacterial effects, the ability to speed up wound healing, and the reduction of skin inflammation.
Aloe vera is commonly found in cosmetic preparations to provide soothing and moisturizing effects. The dried latex found in the inner lining of the leaves is also used as an oral laxative. Aloe vera may cause allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms such as skin rash, irritation and redness have been reported.