This article originally appeared on InStyle.
When you get home from the beach and notice that your tan is actually a red and raw sunburn, the first thing you do is reach for the bottle of aloe vera you have stashed in your bathroom for instant pain relief.
Since the plant works wonders for soothing pain and healing sunburns, it probably seems like a no-brainer that aloe vera would be an effective treatment for calming and minimizing the redness of stubborn breakouts, too. Before you go and slather aloe vera all over your complexion, we turned to a dermatologist to find out if what the rumors on the Internet about it being a good, natural, acne treatment are true.
“Pure aloe vera gel has been used for thousands of years due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. As an ingredient, it helps to calm and soothe the skin so it can be used with other more irritating products (anti-acne ingredients) to help off-set some of the inflammation,” explains Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, founder & director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and associate clinical professor, department of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center.
However, don’t expect aloe vera to be the equivalent of your favorite spot treatment. Dr. Tanzi says that while it can minimize redness associated with breakouts, it won’t shrink blemishes down in size.
Good news is that aloe vera is gentle enough to use for all skin types, unless you have an allergy. It’s always a safe bet to test a small patch of skin first before slathering it on allover to make sure you won’t experience any irritation. For best results, Dr. Tanzi recommends incorporating it into your skincare routine twice daily as you see fit.