Aloe vera is a popular ingredient in many skincare and personal care products due to its soothing and moisturizing properties.
However, the process of stabilizing aloe vera for commercial sale as a gel involves the use of various chemicals that can have serious, negative health effects.
One of the main chemicals used to stabilize aloe vera gel is formaldehyde, which is commonly used as a preservative in many personal care products. Formaldehyde is a known cancer-causing agent that can cause skin irritation, burning, and itching.
Long-term exposure to formaldehyde has been linked in clinical studies to a number of serious health problems, including cancer and respiratory issues.
Another common chemical used to stabilize aloe vera is propylene glycol, which is used as a humectant in many skin care products.
Propylene glycol has been linked to skin irritation, dermatitis, and other skin conditions. It is also a known irritant to the eyes and respiratory system and can cause headaches, dizziness, and other symptoms when inhaled.
Other chemicals used to stabilize aloe vera gel for commercial use include triethanolamine (TEA), which can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions, and Diazolidinyl urea, which can release formaldehyde and cause skin irritation and itching.
Not all products containing aloe vera contain these stabilizing chemicals though. Some commercial products, like the Hand Sanitizer Gel made by Pure Thai Naturals, use freeze-dried aloe vera, which is additive free (but also much more expensive for the producer).
Many people purchase Aloe Vera Gel from the pharmacy, in a tube or bottle, to soothe irritated skin or to help skin problems like dermatitis and sunburn without any knowledge of the ingredients.
Please read the label and make an informed decision!
Aloe vera gel is popular and effective for healing serious skin problems, but best when used fresh from the garden. Break off a leaf, slice it open and rub directly on to the affected area. An aloe vera leaf keeps well in the fridge for 4-5 days and aloe vera does well as a house plant.
As a commercial skin care and personal care product, it is important to be aware of the chemicals which may be used to stabilize aloe vera and their potential negative health effects. There ARE a few brands doing amazing things with natural stabilizers for aloe vera in gel form, but they tend to be pricy, harder to find, and with a much shorter shelf life
Unsure? Hit the email and ASK the company producing the product.
When choosing skincare and personal care products that contain aloe vera, it is important to look for products that are free from harmful chemicals and preservatives, and are made from pure, natural, and organic ingredients.
Marike van Breugel is a keen herbalist and the founder and owner of Pure Thai Natural, a Thai herbal business. She is the Clean Beauty Editor here at Whole People.