This step by step guide with pictures shows how to make aloe vera gel the easy way. This method cuts down on the time needed to prep the leaves while still creating a gel which will soothe sun burnt skin.
The sap or gel from inside the leaves of aloe vera plants is known for its natural anti-inflammatory healing and soothing qualities for minor burns and abrasions. Extracting the gel is easy to do at home and will save money on buying expensive alternatives from the store.
Growing Aloe Vera Plants
Aloe vera’s are one of the hardiest plants you can grow and are a must for the home garden. They like hot positions with well-drained soil and require minimal care. Aloe vera’s are the perfect plant for that hot spot in the garden where you can’t get anything else to grow.
See this guide to Growing and Propagating Aloe Vera Plants.
Using Aloe Vera Gel for After Sun Care
Allergic Reactions to Aloe Vera Gel
Some people may have an allergic reaction to the gel so it is always wise to test a little on your skin to see if you react. If you begin to itch; wash the area immediately with soap and water then dry well with a clean towel.
The latex, which is a yellow substance found just underneath the skin of the leaves, can also cause reactions when ingested however it is safe when applied to the skin for minor sun burns and dry skin. The method used for extracting the aloe vera gel below should not be used for ingesting the juice as some latex may remain.
Immediate Relief from Sunburn
For immediate relief simply cut the aloe leaf close to the base of the plant then let any latex drain from the leaf. Wash the leaf then rub the cut end over the sunburn.
To have an ongoing supply of aloe vera gel; cut 5 or 6 leaves at a time from around the outside of the plant leaving the inside leaves to grow. It is best to take leaves from aloe plants which are in their second year of growth as the older the plant is the more beneficial nutrients it will have in its leaves.
Homemade Aloe Vera Gel
Tools and Materials Needed
- Aloe Vera Leaves
- Pruners or Scissors
- Sharp Knife – These top rated high quality set of 5 professional Chef knives come with two sharpeners and are great value. (Paid link)
- Small Food Processor
- Sieve – Don’t have a sieve? This set of three stainless steel fine mesh sieves are perfect for this project. (Paid link)
- Storage Container and Label
Time needed: 10 minutes.
How to make aloe vera gel at home.
- Cut the Leaves
Use the pruners or scissors to cut the biggest aloe vera leaves as close to the centre of the plant as possible without disturbing the roots. Take 4 to 5 leaves from each plant leaving the centre leaves to grow.
- Wash the Leaves
Wash the leaves in a sink filled with an inch of cold water. This will save on water use. Rub any dirt from the leaves then leave to dry.
- Remove the Spikes
Using a sharp knife cut down each side of the leaf to remove the spikes. These can be put in the compost when you are finished.
- Cut into Chunks
Next cut the leaves into chunks then place in a bowl. Leave for a minute to let any yellow latex drain from the leaves.
If you want pure aloe gel you can now remove the skin from either side of the flesh by slicing it off with a knife however this can take some time depending the plant. If you find the skin is difficult to remove then move on to the next step.
- Process the Leaves
Place the chunks into a small food processor or blender then blitz until a smooth consistency.
- Put Through a Sieve
Place a sieve over a bowl then tip the aloe gel into the sieve. Use the back of a spoon to push the gel through the sieve. There may be small bits of the skin in the gel. If you want a smoother gel then put it through a finer sieve.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Label with the contents and the date made. Keeping the gel in the fridge will extend the life of the gel and create cooling relief to the skin.
- Before Use
The gel will settle to the bottom of the storage container after a few hours. Simply scoop off the top with a spoon before use.
- Apply to Skin
Dip your fingers into the gel then apply to the skin. Use a dry cloth or paper towel to remove any of the plant bits remaining on the skin.
Do you need a new food processor? This Ninja food chopper is perfect for this project, its highly rated and great value. (Paid link)
Never use aloe vera gel on severe burns or cuts. Always seek medical advice.
For more information on making the most of your home, see this Homesteading guide.
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