Cruise the beauty aisles of any natural products store, and you'll wind up thinking that aloe vera is the most widely used ingredient in skin care products today.

It's certainly got the credentials for a star role: The plump, spiky leaf of the cactus-like plant contains more than 75 nutrients and 200 active compounds, including 20 minerals, 18 amino acids and 12 vitamins. In fact, one researcher at the University of Texas Health Science Center described aloe as "a pharmacy in a plant."

Aloe vera is one of my favorite all-purpose remedies for cuts, burns, insect bites and any type of skin irritation. It cools and soothes even the most tender skin and creates a natural protective bandage as it dries. Physicians in ancient Egypt prescribed aloe for wounds and other skin problems, and Cleopatra rubbed aloe gel into her skin as a beauty treatment.

I was recently sent out a sample of Pixy Aloe Vera Gel (€10.99) and it is one that I have started to use regularly. I suffer from dry skin and I burn easily. As I test every product on myself, this one for me is a keeper. It soothes and feeds the skin on my legs and has improved the condition of my skin. Works a treat on sunburn too.

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