Cooling gel for after sunbathing
Every year before the summer, I prepare my own first aid products for skin care. A part of these will definitely be (in addition to the natural repellent I presented in the previous blog (https://mayarula.si/en/natural-repellent/) also aloe vera gel, which pleasantly cools the skin after sunbathing, intensively moisturises and regenerates it. You probably all know aloe, which is attributed to many useful properties for skin care, especially for sunburn, but also for consumption (which will not be the topic this time). It is found in many cosmetics products, from tonic cleansers (including the tonic of the Mayarula skincare line (Floral toner with aloe vera ) to creams, lotions, shampoos… I also like to include it in all the products I make for myself and my family.
Aloe vera gel can be prepared at home from a plant you may be growing. In this case, it will only be good for immediate use (the procedure follows below) or from aloe extracts, which are available in some online cosmetics stores. Although the gel presented consists of several ingredients, in this blog I will focus primarily on aloe, which we associate most with skin care after sunbathing.
Aloe is a world-famous plant native to Africa. It is a genus containing about 500 different species. Aloa barbadensis (common aloe or aloe vera) is mostly used for food and cosmetic purposes.
Aloe can grow up to one metre and has thick fleshy green leaves. The famous aloe vera gel is a parenchymal tissue in the middle of an aloe leaf. The gel is actually the water reservoir of the plant. In this reservoir, located in the thickened leaves, the plant stores water during the rainy season and then uses it during the dry season. Water is bound to polysaccharide molecules that swell in the presence of water. It’s this gel we’re talking about.
The gel consists mainly of water, and 0.5% of aloe gel consists of active ingredients such as: polysaccharides, phytosterols and organic acids. Polysaccharides have a moisturising effect on the skin, and phytosterols help to regenerate and heal the skin.
Use in cosmetics
Aloe extracts have a moisturising effect, based on the effects of polysaccharides in it, so they are used to care for dry skin. They also have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and vulneratic effects (accelerate wound healing), so they can be used to care for impure, acne-prone skin as well as irritated and stressed skin (e.g. after sunbathing and shaving). It is therefore very useful for all types of burns. It gives the skin a feeling of cooling and effectively soothes and regenerates burnt skin. It also reduces itching after insect bites and helps heal minor wounds.
Aloe also shows a low photoprotective effect (minimal protection against UV rays), so it is also a welcome ingredient in sunscreen products.
Aloe gel is most commonly used for cosmetic purposes. Freshly squeezed gel is most effective. How to prepare it yourself:
-make sure you have the real aloe with wide and juicy leaves,
-pluck a large aloe leaf and wash it well,
-use a sharp knife to remove the leaf surface,
-scrape the fleshy and juicy inside of the leaf with a spoon,
-place on a colander and press with a spoon to squeeze out the slippery gel juice.
Directly below the outer aloe skin is the substance aloin, which can irritate the skin and cause hypersensitivity reactions, so you should also make sure to remove the yellowish layer located between the skin and the central part. If you buy an aloe product, aloin is removed during the harvesting process, so there is no concern in this case.
This same substance – aloin, which belongs to the anthranoid glycosides, which are an important group of compounds in aloe, gives aloe a strong bitter taste and has a strong laxative effect when ingested. When making aloe gel at home, we must therefore ensure the absence of compounds that irritate the skin.
But we have to be very careful for another reason. You need to use the gel immediately, as aloe vera gel is very unstable in the air and quickly loses its effectiveness. In addition, microorganisms grow rapidly in it. As we can see, making gel from a fresh plant at home poses several problems and is unsuitable for use in cosmetic products due to bacteriological instability. Therefore, it is often necessary to look to shop-bought gels, which in addition to the gel usually contain an aqueous phase thickener, preservative and more. All this can be far from natural and not on the list of permitted ingredients in natural cosmetics so it is very recommended you read the list of ingredients (INCI).
The gel is not the only aloe derivative, in addition to it, there is also juice on the market, which is also obtained from the central gelatinous part, and various aloe extracts, which can be concentrated in different ways.
Aloe vera concentrate 1:10 is 10 times more concentrated than aloe vera juice and is diluted 10 times.
The 1: 200 dry extract is a powdered extract obtained by a lyophilization process to remove water. It is a very strong juice concentrate. For use in cosmetics, the powder must first be dissolved in distilled water. We need 0.5 g of aloe vera powder per 100 ml of product.
Recipe for 100 g of summer cooling gel:
-0.7 g xanthan gum,
-2 g glycerol,
-2 g panthenol,
-2 g of green tea extract,
-6 g aloe vera concentrate 1:10,
-20 g peppermint hydrosol,
-56.2 g of immortelle hydrosol,
-10 g of marigold macerate in olive oil,
-0.6 g Cosgard (preservative allowed in natural cosmetics),
-10 drops of lavender essential oil (EO),
-5 drops of EO German chamomile,
-1-2 drops of EO peppermint.
Weigh the xanthan gum thickener into a beaker and rub it with glycerol. Add the hydrosol, panthenol and aloe vera extract and green tea and mix again. After a few minutes, the gel thickens, then add macerate, preservative and essential oils and mix it with a mixer or. homogenizer to form a smooth, lump-free gel. Finally, mix it with a glass rod and when the gel is completely homogeneous, pour it into the disinfected packaging. Let’s not forget the label. Keep the gel in the refrigerator for an even more cooling effect. We consume it in one season or. in four months.
Aloe vera concentrate is included in the gel due to its already known cooling properties. I also used glycerol and provitamin B5 or panthenol as a moisturiser. Panthenol also has an anti-inflammatory effect, regenerating and nourishing the skin after sunbathing. I included green tea extract due to its well-known antioxidant action, and marigold extract has an anti-inflammatory effect and has a nourishing effect on the skin. Both selected hydrosols also have anti-inflammatory action. Immortelle hydrosol soothes irritated and damaged skin, while peppermint hydrosol has a cooling effect. For young children up to three years old, I recommend replacing mint hydrosol and essential oil with lavender hydrosol.
The gel is great for skin care after sunbathing, as it cools down pleasantly and has an anti-inflammatory effect. It also relieves itching and pain from heat rashes or insect bites. As you see, this is a very versatile little gel.
Sources and literature: