Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Daily shots of collagen drinks have been recommended for some time as a way of improving skin as we age. But is Aloe Vera juice a viable (and cheaper) alternative? I though I would share my own personal experience of taking aloe vera juice- and the impact it had on my skin which I discovered quite by accident!
Collagen is a fibrous protein which provides the infrastructure for elastin in the skin. Collagen production decreases as we age, resulting in skin sagging and wrinkles forming. By the time we reach our 50s we tend to lose a third of the collagen in our skin. No wonder collagen supplements have become a popular way to put back what nature has taken away.
I have been offered the opportunity to try many different collagen supplements over the years. I have always declined – not because I am opposed to them , but because I am extremely careful when it comes to taking any supplements at all. About 30 years ago I was diagnosed with Crohns disease and Ulcerative Colitis. In the early days of my diagnosis the only way I was able to bring the symptoms under control was by taking strong anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids. Looking at a future where my quality of life was dependent on a daily cocktail of drugs (not without side effects) was not an attractive option for me. I conducted a lot of research and worked with nutritionists (with the support of my specialist) to find alternatives to taking the drugs – through a combination of diet and natural supplements. My regime was strict, and my specialist said that it would take enormous willpower to stick to, but with his support we gradually reduced my drug intake as I started my new diet and regime, until I was taking no drugs at all.
One of the alternatives I sourced was Aloe Vera juice – which has excellent anti-inflammatory properties when it comes to supporting the digestive system – and far fewer side effects than prednisolone! For the most part , apart from the occasional flare up when I have had to take steroids for short sharp bursts , I have kept the disease under control. I also got to the point where I was able to manage it through diet alone – with no aloe vera juice or other supplements.
Effect of Aloe Vera Juice on Skin
Recently, I started to experience symptoms so ordered some trusted aloe vera juice. In addition to calming my digestive issues, I noticed an improvement in my skin tone. My cheeks suddenly were looking plumper and smoother and my skin was feeling smoother before applying my body moisturiser when coming out of the shower.
The only difference in my routine was my daily dose of aloe vera juice. I googled to see if in fact there was any evidence to suggest that this could be more than a coincidence. It appears that aloe vera does in fact improve hydration and collagen production, and early clinical studies in Korea which have measured the impact of drinking daily doses of aloe vera on skin elasticity and wrinkle depth have shown promising results ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2883372/ )
I take a 25 ml daily dose of aloe vera juice – I buy an unflavoured variety. It is quite bitter tasting but not too unpleasant. My motivation is not skin improvement but to calm my digestive system – the improvement to my skin is just a lucky bonus!!
I am not saying that it is as effective as collagen supplements – I can’t say as I haven’t tried them, but I can say that it has made a difference to me – and is a lot cheaper. The cost of the collagen drinks seems to work out at approximately £2 a day. My aloe vera juice (bought on amazon) cost £7.57 for 1 litre which equates to 40 days supply which works out at less than 19p a day.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover this – and I do like to share my own ‘finds’ that work for me.
This is the aloe vera juice I purchase – it is also available from Holland and Barrett – but there are many similar options available.