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This Instructable will show you how I (and I emphasize I) make homemade Aloe Vera Gel.

I personally use it as a moisturizer on my aging sun-kissed, exposed chest skin and neck, hoping that it will rejuvenate it over the long run and keep that part of my skin looking young.

One of the reasons I am posting this tutorial is because I know this mixture helps heal sunburns.  My husband burns easily and in a pinch, I have rubbed straight aloe vera goo from the plant on his bright red extremities.  It just works.
I have also read up on this mixture helping with eczema, but am only getting that from personal blogs around the net (mentioned in Step 4.)
There are so many uses for this gel that I know it could be used for many ailments.

I grow my own aloe vera plants.  It wasn't until this year that my mother-in-law suggested I start using the fruitful plant for an all natural sunburn healer and skin softener so I started researching the prospect of actually using the plants I grew.

The original source I used for this recipe is here: Cheryl's Delights Blog.

The recipe is spot on, I have personally used it, and I am going to share the process of making it with you.
Read on friends and enjoy.


Please remember that this post is for information only, and it is not intended to recommend treatment. ~ Thanks!

Step 1: Ingredients, Tools & Materials

Project time:Approximately 45-minutes to 1-hour.

To make the gel, I use:
  • 1/4-cup Aloe Vera pulp
  • 1-tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4-teaspoon Vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 1/8-teaspoon citric acid (optional)

Tools/Materials:
  • Food processor
  • clean container with lid

To Harvest Aloe from plant (Step 2):
  • work gloves (optional)
  • paper towels
  • spoon
  • knife
  • container to hold pulp (or measuring cup)
I use approximately six (6) (depending on size) aloe leaves ranging from four (4) to six (6) inches in length to make a generous 1/4-cup amount.

Step 2: Harvest the Aloe Vera

I have been growing the aloe vera plant for over fifteen years.  I have transported a potted aloe vera plant from one home to the next at least twice that I can think of.  I don't have a green thumb by any means and have had my share of house plants and flowers die from mostly neglect.  But my hearty and strong aloe vera plants have been thriving in my various gardens and pots for most of my lifetime.

The first photo in this step shows you the side of my house where the plant is growing.  You can see that it is very prolific.

I also posted a photo of my work gloves, as the cactus-family plant may cause sensitive skin to itch as the spines are there for the plants protection, just as a rose plant has thorns.

For the purpose of this instructable, I yanked out one of the plants from its dirt home.  Do not fret however, because the plant itself can re-grow from the root ball and it's center stalk.  It just has to be replanted.

To harvest the Aloe from the plant, you will need a work space, paper towels, a spoon, a knife, a container to put the pulp in, and (optionally) kitchen shears.  It takes me a good half-an-hour (30-minutes) to scoop out the pulp and five extra minutes of mixing the ingredients.

In order to make about 1/4-cup of pulp, you will need anywhere from four (4) to six (6) leaves about  4 to 6 inches long.

With my work gloves, I pulled off the leaves at the base of the live plant near the center of the stalk. 
This could have been done with kitchen shears to maximize the length of the plant, but you can tell the plant is healthy when the leaves snap off pretty easily.
The leaves you want to use should be at least 1-1/2-inches wide, and when you push a leaf in between your fingers, it should feel like you are pressing on your own finger.  There should be some give, but you can't squish it completely either.

The next step is to wash your hands.  It's important to do to minimize the amount of bacteria that could make mold grow quickly on the final product.
The step after that is to clean off the aloe leaves.  That can be done with a moist, clean paper towel.

If you are sensitive to the spines of the plant, you can use a paper towel to wrap the leaf, OR prior to cleaning your plant, you can leave the work gloves on and slice or snip off the thorns using a knife or the shears.  You could also "peel" the thorns using a potato peeler.  I don't do either one of these as I'm just used to getting the pulp out.

Slice through the top of the leaf skin using a clean knife, trying to get through just the top layer of skin.

Using your spoon, peel the skin back from the insides of the leaf, trying to capture as much of the pulp as possible.

After peeling the skin back, scoop out the pulp and place it in your clean container.

I do not recommend using a knife to scoop the insides out, as you can get more of the green-leaf portion rather than clear gel that you want to harvest.
If you do get a bit or two of green in the gel, you can slice it off with the knife and toss it.  It's not a bad bi-product, it just doesn't spread as easily when rubbing the final product onto your skin.

That's pretty much it.  It might take a few tries to get the slicing open so that you can maximize the amount of pulp that comes out of the leaf, but you will get the hang of it.

Step 3: Mix the Ingredients

The recipe again is:
1/4-cup of aloe vera pulp
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1/4-teaspoon Vitamin E Oil (optional, depending on frequency of use)
1/8-teaspoon citric acid or ascorbic acid (optional, depending on frequency of use)

I use my small food processor to grind up the aloe pulp (for at least one minute) and mix in the remaining ingredients before putting it into my recycled baby food jar.  A mason jar would have worked just as well.

If you would like to use the mix for a sunburn salve, the gel mix can be frozen in an ice cube container and then placed directly on the skin as needed, or left in a refrigerator for up to a month.
If you refrigerate the concoction, you will have to take a spoon and mix it up again, as the refrigeration solidifys the mixture and slightly separates the coconut oil.

My supply has never lasted more than one week on my bathroom counter because it will either get moldy or I will use it all and I need to make more, but again, I use is as a moisturizer for skin.

The Vitamin E Oil and citric acid both are supposedly preservatives. 
Citric acid can affect some people (with a rash) so please be cautious if you have never used it.

Also, my coconut oil has separated, and I have not put it through the re-melting process to make it creamy again.  Thus-there is what appears to be small white chunks in my gel that may not show up in yours because my coconut oil has been sitting around for a while.

Step 4: Uses for the Gel - Additional Resources

The previous three steps described how to make Aloe Vera gel.

Rather than re-iterate what others have written, I have included this step as a resource for your research on how to use this gel for your own purposes.

Two of the photos show my ice cube tray and frozen cubes of gel.  I date the bag and can only let you know how long they will last in the freezer.  I would estimate that in order to keep it "fresh" they would have to be used within a few months, but one tutorial stated that they could keep for up to six. 

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is an excellent resource for being made aware of side effects and cautions of the use of Aloe Vera.  It is also where I found the line: 'Use of topical aloe vera is not associated with significant side effects.'

Mind Body Green describes the benefits of Aloe Vera gel in a good summary form.

Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care has a couple great recipes using the aloe vera gel, including using it in an exfoliating face and body wash and a soothing mask.

And finally, Be Up and Doing Blog states that the Aloe Vera Gel Salve will help heal itchy eczema rashes.  A claim that I cannot personally vouch for, but the research appears to lead in that direction.

And to think, you probably thought Aloe Vera gel was just for sunburns like I did right?
Thanks for reading!
The instructable was updated on October 12, 2013 with additional photos.
<p>I have been using aloe vera for many years. I grow my own plants and have given away hundreds of plants to friends and contacts. I grow my plants in the ground and they develop nice thick juicy leaves about 45 cm long and 6-7 cm wide. Since each leaf yields abundant gel, I can afford to strip the outer skin off with with a sharp knife cutting into the gel so as to avoid the yellow juice underneath the skin. Anyone who has had allergic reaction to aloe vera, has probably failed to remove that yellow stuff, which , as has been already noted, is an irritant -or can be - and is mostly used as a powerful laxative.</p><p>I find that aloe vera gel , straight off the plant , works wonders with my sun burn, nettle rash, scalding or fire burn, and even irritation from chemicals. I helps heal light scratched and wounds and friends who have suffered from eczema for years, report that they experiences immediate and lasting relief when they used the aloe vera gel I gave them, They are now proud owners of several aloe vera plants themselves.</p><p>My daughter uses a simple lotion which I make out of aloe vera and a little olive oil. She used to skeptical about my herbal remedies but now insists that nothing helps her with any acne or skin blemishes like my aloe vera lotion. I personally have never ingested aloe vera but several of my friends and relatives do so regularly. They blend the gel with lemon or orange juice and some honey and they swear by it. </p><p>I have also used it to plaster my legs and ankles during summer time when I'm gardening in my shorts to ward off mosquito attacks. I scoop out the gel and lay it on thick. Once it dries - withing about 7-10 minutes- the mosquitoes don't bother me anymore. I'm not sure whether it's the thin coating that it forms that prevents their stings or whether it's the slight odour that confuses them. But I've observed them settling on my legs without getting any stings.</p><p>I have no scientific research papers to quote but the empirical feedback I have collected over the years, persuades me that I'm on to a good thing. And I intend to stick to it.</p>
<p>can I use extra virgen olive oil from my own olives instead of coconut oil?</p>
Aloe vera also makes a delicious and refreshing drink- it tastes like really fresh grapes. just blend with a bit of honey or sugar and water.
<p>If you plan on eating it, use the soft fat triangular leaves. The wide concave leaves are extremely bitter. But the bitter leaves are still good for any use other than eating.</p><p>And don't eat the yellow portion unless you need a powerful laxative.</p>
<p>Found a good recipe about eating the Aloe Vera: </p><p><a href="http://www.marecipes.com/how-to-eat-aloe-vera" rel="nofollow">http://www.marecipes.com/how-to-eat-aloe-vera </a></p><p> Soaking helps to eliminate the yellow portion and we cannot take too much of Aloe Vera per day. I like to blend Aloe Vera with fruits too.</p>
<p>I am lacking just one thing..........the aloe vera plant. Does anyone know where I can buy aloe vera gel that is this pure? I need as pure as I can get for something I make called proxy gel. I found out the one I've been buying has formaldehyde in it. Which really was the most upsetting thing. So I truly would appreciate any info you have if you are certain it's as pure as it can be. Thank you so much. Barb</p><p>bjleavitt@yahoo.com</p>
<p>likely too late info for you.. but for anyone else looking, I bought mine at Ikea! very inexpensive and grows like crazy</p>
Good and Bad Stuff. First the good stuff - This is an excellent instructable; the photos are all very good and the write-up is top notch. The Bad Stuff - I know aloe vera is a big thing to many people, I personally have a few plants growing in my house, but there is hardly any data to substantiate claims of its good properties. An year or so ago I got super excited with the aloe thing and joined the bandwagon myself. There was this aloe juice in the market and I am a pharmacist so I thought why waste all the money when I can make this stuff myself. Then I started searching for other uses of aloe vera and slowly realized that there are no peer-reviewed studies to back up the claims. I know it is super popular &amp; it can only be so if it had some good properties but nothing has been proven. Even it's sunburn healing properties. Many people I know swear by it but all it does it provide relief, it does not improve healing time. It also does not help prevent sunburns and is in no way a substitute for sunscreen lotions. Drinking it is a waste. Applying it on skin as a moisturizer - like you do, can be a good use but the problem is it does not store well. The green gel that comes out when you cut a leaf is a strong laxative and should be used or handled with caution. It can cause allergic reaction and is contraindicated for pregnant, lactating women and in many other conditions. All in all too much hassle for too little gain. <br> <br>Oh and if you are going to keep at it, which I suspect you will, then you can use a potato peeler to peel off one side of the skin and then simply scoop up the gel with a spoon. After cutting out the leaf do keep it inclined for some time so that it's yellow gel flows out.
<p><a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/" rel="nofollow">http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC276376...</a></p><p>The National Center of Biotechnology Information has good reading on the benefits of aloe Vera gel, for anyone doubting the claims. It gets pretty good on page 4 &amp; 5. The NCBI has a couple other really good sources on aloe Vera in addition to this paper for anyone who is inquisitive. I would encourage anyone to skim through this. I applaud anyone who does research to substantiate instead of just blindly accept every quickly popularized health craze, otherwise we would all still be eating margarine. Everyone should do their own research to understand the ingredients of both topically applied products as well as those they ingest. The process and source are also just as important as the ingredients themselves. Thank u for posting your process!</p>
<p>As long as big pharma controls medicines homeopathic drugs and cures will be considered witch doctor cures and not accepted in the big pharma community aloe vera is so prevalent in the US they cant control it so its of no interest johnson and johnson and such companies produce it purely for profit of sales .</p><p>Its even good for you to drink or eat but you wont hear big pharma saying that ! </p>
<p>yrs there is study's, they are not mediatic and pernas you can find it in a library or so. I found a book in a bookstore called aloe Vera the miracle plant. </p><p>And making a long story short , they just don't find the reason its miraculous</p>
Thank you for the kind words. =)
<p>I will try it!</p>
Awesome! Hope it works!
<p>Yay! How was it? I hope it helped whatever ailment you made it for. =)</p>
It worked really well as a simple hand moisturizer. Unfortunately, I made more than I could use it a few days. I will definitely keep using this.
<p>Thank you for this recipe. I will try adding citric acid and coconut oil. I tried using fresh aloe vera pulp for burns and for allergic rash and when i placed it on the burn it started to itch like crazy, and when I tried to use it for skin rash it made it itch so bad I had to stick my hand under the running cold water and it created more skin rash. I have many allergies so people with allergies have to be very careful when using any organic products on the broken skin. I guess it is ok to use it on healthy unbroken skin but without some sort of oil it will dry very fast forming sticky and pulling and flaking film. The key word is to use it with vitamin E oil , perhaps also vitamin C crystals or with citric acid and to keep the end product in the refrigerator in airtight dark jar. I assume home made and preservative free product is great, but it probably will not last long , probably it will have to be used and replaced within one week or less.</p><p> The best burn remedy - sour cream! (regular , not fat free). For minor burns a toothpaste works wonders as long as you place it on the burn area immediately after getting burned and let it dry and let it stay on your skin for as long as you can.</p>
<p>I love this instructable thank you so much</p>
<p>I intend to make without the optional ingredients. What can I use instead of coconut oil? I'm on a budget</p>
<p>I really think it would depend on what you use it for. I used it for my stretch marks and coconut oil is &quot;supposedly&quot; one of the best things to use for stretch marks. I would suggest that extra virgin olive oil could be used as the oil portion of the mix, but I'm not sure if that would be good for sunburns. More research would be needed for olive oil on sunburns, if that is what you are making it for.</p><p>Hopefully that helps!</p>
<p>Gracias por el tutorial es muy instructivo.</p><p>Aqui en Per&ugrave; se le llama Sabila,se remoja una penca u hoja en la noche ,al dia siguiente se rebanan las espinas y se da un corte en el centro y se obtiene un gel el cual se utiliza para eccemas,quemaduras,gastritis y para la preparaci&ograve;n de jarabes para la bronquitis.</p><p>Saludos.</p>
<p>Mucho gracias usted!</p>
Here in the Phoenix desert, I've been using (aloe inner gel as a drink and for skin) my crop of plants for years. Thanks for sharing this article on the benefits of aloe vera! <br><a href="https://plus.google.com/116300719176564382453?rel=author" rel="nofollow">David Honaker</a>
I will try this tomorrow
I think aloe vera has different species. The aloe vera I saw when visiting Costa Rica was different than all these pictures here. And the people use it there for burns, etc and call it aloe vera. I don't know what the differences within the gel are. They apparently all work the same.
That isnt Aloe Vera, is another variety. Here in Canary's Islands is common to use it to heal little burns, so i can say that the real Aloe Vera have longer leafs and the spikes are less sharp. <br> <br> <br> <br>(Sorry for my bad english, Im from Spain and English isn't my native lenguage, but i hope that you can understand.)
I was thinking the same; while it looks very similar, it is not what I know of as Aloe Vera. We have a couple, and the leaves are usually 8-20&quot; long, and only about 1&quot; to 2&quot; wide, with little to no spines. <br> <br>The pulp appears the same, though. It might just be a regional variation on the plant...
I love aloe vera gel. Use it straight from the plants in my garden as a face moisturizer and scar healer. I've used it in some homemade conditioners before too. Sometimes I was forced to drink it when I had a tummy ache. Blergh! <br> <br>You have my vote :)
Thank you!
Hi, I've experienced the relieve Aloe gives when burning yourself on a stove and/or a soldering iron,(even seen a blister disappear over night after my youngest burned her arm on a clothing iron), I use the juice strait from the leave. Even my kids ask for aloe leaves when they get a burn - no salves and such. I do have to admit we haven't had any burns breaking the skin.
do you know if there is a difference between keeping the gel warm or cold?
The colder mixture will last longer. If you warm up the mixture, it will &quot;go bad&quot; faster and grow mold quicker than if it is refrigerator. My problem is that I don't like putting cold -anything on my body and I use this gel as a moisturizer. It only lasts one-week on my counter at room temperature before it grows mold. Hope that helps &amp; thanks for reading!
Hi, thanks for the recipe . Here are a few more tips. <br>1. Allow the aloe vera leaves to stand in water with the cut part down for at least one hour or over-night. This will drain off the yellow substance which has a bad smell and also not good for health. <br>2. Use a cucumber peeler to cut off the thorns on both sides and peel one side with the peeler. Then use a knife to scrape off the gel from the leaf. <br>3.You can add water to the aloe vera gel and mix it well with a fork and drink it. Add syrup or juice also according to taste. <br>4. The remaing gel on your hand can be used on yor hair or face or all over your arms or legs. It dries quickly. I even put some into my eyes . It reduces eye inflammation.
Ooh I LOVE the cucumber peeler idea!!! That is fantastic and I will try that thank you! I also put all the gel on my body - stretch marked area in particular (from baby-carrying), but I thought that was kind of gross so I didn't put it in the original post. Thanks for the tips!

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