Allergies are not fun. You want to be able to get to the bottom of what’s causing them as soon as possible. But what if you think you've found out the culprit and actually it’s something else?
The following article will address the solutions to your Aloe vera concerns, including: what we mean by an ‘allergy', why Aloe is more of an anti-allergen, that not all Aloe vera is the same, what kind of Aloe vera is the best?, beware of artificial preservatives, and a simple 'take the test’ section to see if you really are allergic to Aloe vera.
Here at Odylique, we often come across people who think they’re allergic to Aloe vera gel in skin care, but it turns out that they’re not. – N.B. We can help you test this theory on yourself too – read on…
There are of course a few cases of people allergic to Aloe vera. It comes from the same plant family as garlic and onions, so if you are allergic to one, you may be sensitive to all. But it is a very rare allergy indeed. And even more unlikely you would only be allergic to one plant in the family.
If you believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction to Aloe vera in skin care you will perhaps be experiencing the following symptoms:
Itching or burning skin, Red patches, Localised swelling, Peeling, Hives, Nausea.
These allergy symptoms do differ from the side effects of consuming Aloe vera juice internally, which may result in cramping and diarrhoea. But do remember – your symptoms might not stem from the Aloe at all!
Aloe juice has been used in ancient times by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans as a moisturiser, cell regenerator and healer, both internally and externally. The Chinese even referred to aloe as the elixir of youth, with it’s anti-aging properties.
Aloe vera’s power to seal wounded skin, protecting it from infection and helping moisture retention while the skin repairs itself, is well documented. The topical application of Aloe is beneficial for skin conditions such as eczema and acne.
For this reason it is a very popular in ‘natural’ cosmetics from toothpaste to commercial after-sun lotions and as a simple Aloe vera gel. We widely use it in Odylique products too.
This is due in no small part to the make-up of the plant itself. You can get a full explanation in our ingredients section here, but aloe’s succulent stems contain all 8 amino acids (which are the building blocks of proteins) and enzymes. These actually give aloe the ability to reduce the symptoms of allergy. In fact, a study (that can be read here), observed a 72-year-old woman suffering from dermatitis who used Aloe on her body to relieve herself from the pain she was experiencing, with effective results. They also note that patch tests produced positive reactions and that negative Aloe reactions are rare when manufacturers process Aloe avoiding potential irritants, which we do here at Odylique. The benefits of Aloe can far outweigh the risks.
Like most things, there is Aloe vera and there is Aloe vera. There are over 300 species of the Aloe plant, all of which have different properties. But one particularly crucial aspect is how it is extracted, and another, is what else it is mixed with.
Firstly the extraction process. It’s worth bearing in mind that organic Aloe vera is purer and probably safer, as it is produced without pesticides or harmful solvents.
It also shouldn't be processed with heat as this can destroy useful enzymes.
Aloe vera is not widely grown in Northern Europe. So the gel often gets dried to a concentrated powder, shipped and then reconstituted into juice where needed. But it needs to be freeze-dried – not spray-dried - to ensure it properly maintains all the valuable parts of the gel intact.
You can tell when the aloe juice has been extracted well – it should have a milky, pale yellow, slightly golden colour – either in its natural state or reconstituted form. Good juice is rich in minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium as well as vitamins A and C, B1, B6 and B12. An analysis of our Aloe vera juice shows that once reconstituted with pure water, it shares the same beneficial profile as the original juice it was concentrated from.
Something else to watch out for is how it is preserved. The freeze-drying process I just mentioned has another important advantage for those with allergies and sensitive skin. It means that no preservation is required - synthetic preservatives often pose a problem for sensitive skin.
But of course, when it is incorporated into skincare and cosmetics, some kind of preservative has to be added to the cosmetic product itself. And that’s our hypothesis – that in the few cases where people are believed to have an allergy to Aloe vera, it’s not the Aloe vera they’re allergic to, but the other ingredients – like synthetic preservatives and fragrance. We've had a number of cases over the years that have illustrated this.
So if you've been told Aloe vera is not for you, give it another chance. It might have been something else in the product that caused the problem. But make sure it’s pure, well extracted organic Aloe vera and test very small patches to be sure.
You can click on the fly-in on the right-hand side of the page to try a sample of our Repair Lotion - made with pure organic Aloe vera – and no synthetic preservatives - for free!
Once you have your sample follow these simple steps to assess whether you have an allergy to aloe:
1.Spread a pea-sized amount of our repair lotion behind your ear (this particular area tends to reveal allergies quickly).
2.Keep the area uncovered and exposed to the air.
3.If you are allergic, you should begin to see side effects within an hour (to be completely sure, you can leave it on for 24 hours but keep in mind that allergies can show up within minutes!).
Let us know whether you have tried our patch test in the comments section below or any your experiences with Aloe. If you are still uncertain about trying Aloe Vera, we hold many products that could act as a great alternative, including Superfruit Concentrate and Rose Tonic. If you know anyone who believes they have an allergy to Aloe, feel free to share this post and let them know – they could unnecessarily missing out on all of the wonderful benefits of Aloe vera!