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Aloe vera is a popular plant that’s been used as a home remedy for various issues for more than 6,000 years. Aloe leaves contain a thick, clear, watery gel that can be topically applied to the skin.

This topical application is understood to have soothing, hydrating, and healing properties. Aloe vera is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. This is why some health professionals recommend the use of aloe for some rashes on the skin.

Research backs up aloe vera as a practical home remedy for treatment of certain types of rashes. But aloe vera won’t work to treat or heal every kind of rash. It doesn’t replace treatments prescribed by your doctor.

There are also rare cases when using aloe vera on a rash should be avoided. Keep reading to find out what we know about using aloe vera as a treatment for rashes.

A rash is a general term that can be used to define red, inflamed skin or, simply, to describe any collection of changes in the skin.

The causes of a rash are endless. Just some examples include:

  • immune dysfunction
  • autoimmune conditions
  • reactions to irritants or allergens in your environment

Since there’s a great range of triggers for rashes and not a lot of research on how aloe vera helps treat them, it’s impossible to say that aloe vera works every time for every rash.

What we do know is this: Aloe vera is a relatively powerful, hydrating remedy that in some cases may soothe skin, calm swelling, and stimulate circulation when applied.

It also has antimicrobial properties: Aloe vera may kill some pathogens that try to take up residence on your skin.

Aloe vera may help speed up the healing of rashes caused by dry skin and irritation. It may heal psoriasis plaques and soothe eczema. Aloe vera might also help lesions from the herpes virus heal more quickly.

Aloe vera will vary in effectiveness depending on the underlying cause of your rash.

Irritation

If general irritation is causing your rash, like from an allergy, aloe vera might work to soothe itching and inflammation. It might improve the appearance of the rash, too.

However, proper studies are lacking to support its use over conventional treatments. Also keep in mind aloe vera can’t “cure” an allergic reaction.

Rashes from bacteria or viruses still need another topical treatment for symptoms to subside as well. Aloe vera alone won’t work.

Heat rash

Heat rash crops up on your skin when it’s warm and humid outside. Aloe vera is recommended as a home remedy for heat rash because of its cooling and anti-inflammatory properties. Evidence for using aloe vera for heat rash is mostly anecdotal.

Aloe vera is also a popular home remedy for sunburn.

Diaper rash

Topical aloe vera was used in a small 2012 study of infants with diaper rash. Researchers concluded that the use of aloe vera as a home remedy for diaper rash was “clearly supported” because of aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Aloe vera appears safe for use on most babies older than 3 months, but speak to your pediatrician if you have any reservations.

Aloe vera gel is considered generally safe and nontoxic when applied on the skin, as long as you don’t have an allergy to the aloe plant.

The main drawback to using aloe vera to treat a rash is that it does have limited effectiveness for a majority of rashes, especially when used alone.

Aloe vera may somewhat temporarily soothe redness and reduce inflammation. It can’t instantly get rid of all your symptoms. The relief you feel after applying it might not last more than a few minutes or so.

Using aloe vera for rashes typically involves several applications of the product you’re using.

Also note that oral aloe supplements, sometimes taken for constipation and other health conditions, are generally not recommended.

According to the Mayo Clinic, oral aloe supplements can counteract the effects of diabetes drugs and interfere with the absorption of other drugs. Orally ingested aloe can also slow blood clotting and cause kidney failure.

Using aloe vera for any type of rash is pretty simple.

Liberally apply aloe vera gel all over the area where you notice symptoms. Use products made of pure, 100 percent aloe vera to avoid introducing other allergens or ingredients that could further irritate your skin.

Aloe vera gel takes a few minutes to dry. Let your skin absorb it completely before you put clothes on over the area.

You can reapply the aloe vera gel every couple of hours to see whether it helps your symptoms. Twice per day should be enough to see results, if aloe vera is going to be effective for your particular rash.

You can find aloe vera gel at many drugstores, grocery stores, and online.

The American Academy of Dermatologists points out that most rashes aren’t life-threatening. But that doesn’t mean you should let them go without treatment from a doctor.

Seek medical attention if you have:

  • a rash that appears suddenly and spreads quickly
  • a rash that covers your entire body
  • a rash filled with yellow pus or appears otherwise infected
  • a rash that has blisters on it
  • fever alongside your rash

Anecdotally, aloe vera can treat some rashes. It makes sense that aloe vera would be a good home remedy since it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

But aloe vera won’t work as well as most over-the-counter rash treatments. It isn’t a substitute for medication prescribed to you to treat a skin condition.

Feel free to try aloe vera next time you have a rash that needs treatment. Remember your experience may vary, and symptoms may persist. If you have any questions or concerns about your rash, consult a healthcare provider.