Aloe vera gel derives its famous moisturising properties from being the extract of the desert succulent Aloe plant, whose prime function is to store moisture through drought. The pulpy juice is therefore excellent for hydrating and softening skin, and is also believed to aid healing.
It is especially common as a treatment for sunburn, thanks to its soothing, cooling, anti-irritant properties, and is recommended as a protector for sensitive skin. Aloe vera is believed to have been used in medicine since the first century AD: its name appears in Pliny’s Natural History and Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica, both written at this time, and aloes are quoted in the New Testament. Throughout history, it has been trialled for several medicinal uses.