Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) is an evergreen succulent plant native to the South-Western Arabian Peninsula (1) that widely grows and is cultivated in tropical climates around the world. The plant is popular in the traditional medicine of several geographical areas - including Chinese, Ayurvedic and Arabian medicine - and its known for its natural medical, beauty and skin care properties since centuries: Aloe Vera has been depicted in 6000-year-old Egyptian stone carvings as the „plant of Immortality“. (2) In the 1930s, the topical application of aloe gel was hailed as beneficial in treating radiation dermatitis (3) and since then the use of its leaf juice in the field of cosmetology has strongly increased. (4)
Aloe Vera can penetrate deeply in the dermal layers, therefore being able to effectively deliver its active constituents such as minerals, vitamines, sugars and enzymes. (5) The action of aloe gel as a moisturizer also is a popular concept (6), since by penetrating in the skin it restores the fluids level and replaces the fatty layer. (7)
Because of these properties, Aloe is used as a key ingredient in several dermatologic and cosmetic preparations whose application is considered an effective treatment of inflammations and burns - typically characterized by symptomps such as swelling, pain, redness and heat. The earliest experimentation related to the treatment of skin burns with Aloe Vera date back to the 1930s (8), when Dr. J. E. Crewe presented on the Minnesota Journal of Medicine the application of Aloe as treatment for several dermatological conditions such as eczema, sunburn, thermal burns, scalding, chronic ulcers (9). Since then, studies became increasingly precise: from the 1980-90s, the approach towards analyzing the healing effects of the gel identified the presence of several active agents in it, each addressing with its own role the undergoing healing process (10).
Several tests on the healing of skin burns showed how Aloe Vera is able to penetrate the tissue, relieve pain, reduce or delay the inflammatory response, increase blood supply and speed the recovery time for first and second degree burns. (11) Aloe vera, therefore, improves wound healing and inhibits inflammation (12), and the application of a moisturizer containing aloe in case of sunburn is recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). (13)