Soothe sunburn and other ailments by growing your own aloe vera

8:07 AM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
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Triad -- With all the clouds and rain so far this summer, sunburn probably hasn't been your number one concern. This weekend, that could all change as the sun makes a comeback. Obviously, sunscreen is the first line of defense. Always wear it to prevent sunburn as well as premature aging.

If you miss a spot and end up with a burn, relief might be out in your yard. Aloe vera can soothe your burned skin. Here's all you need to know about aloe according to

If you don't have a plant already and want to buy one, go for a mature plant. The older plants are more potent and better for first aid. The younger ones can still be used but just aren't as effective.

You can keep your plant inside or out. Just remember, they don't like direct sunlight. The tend to turn brown with too much sun. Also bring them in during the winter since they can freeze. Keep water to a minimum. They are in the cactus family so let the plant get almost dry before re-watering. Make sure it has a drainage hole so excess water can escape.

When you are ready to use your aloe gel, select a leaf from the bottom. Those leaves are bigger, more mature and the most potent. Slice off the prickly edges with a knife and slice the leaf across it's width. Put the gel directly on your skin. After you've used that layer, scratch the surface again with a clean knife. It will rupture a new layer of cells and release more gel.

If you don't use the whole leaf, you don't have to waste it. Simply wrap it up in foil or plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. It will last a few days.

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