Is Aloe Vera Safe?

Ouch! Sunburnt skin is such a bummer but aloe vera has come to the rescue for many people when that angry, red foe occurs. However, aloe vera may have poor health effects in certain products. Read on to learn more about aloe vera's benefits and the products that it may not be safe in.

aloe vera plant

Promoting healthy skin and digestive tract was a 2-for-1 deal with aloe vera.

For centuries, this plant has been used to improve digestion and cool sunburned skin. However, the EU recently proposed banning aloe vera-based ingredients from foods and supplements. So, is aloe vera safe? Let's discuss aloe vera risks and natural alternatives to this popular supplement. 

All You Need to Know About Aloe 

Aloe vera is used in [1]:

  • Cosmetics: Sunscreens, after-sun lotion, mouthwash, moisturizing gels

  • Food: Flavoring, water, yogurt, jam, supplements

  • Medicine: Pharmaceuticals, laxatives

Cooling down your skin with aloe vera has been a summertime ritual for many fair-skinned individuals. It contains unique enzymes that heal inflammation. Other compounds in aloe prevent allergic reactions on the skin [2]. 

This tropical plant was once credited for creating a digestive oasis. It contains unique molecules that have laxative-like properties. Plus, its anti-inflammatory abilities also helped soothe chronic digestive problems. 

Also, aloe vera gel can coat the stomach and provide consistency to stool. That's why aloe vera supplements and water became so widely popular! However, you might need to switch up your digestive care because there are some potential health risks to aloe vera. 

Aloe Vera Health Risks 

Aloe vera contains many antioxidants that promote a healthy body. However, this plant produces a chemical called hydroxyanthracene [3]. Derivatives of hydroxyanthracene in aloe vera may promote some health risks. 

In particular, emodin is a rising concern across the EU. Aloe emodin has been shown to be toxic and promote carcinogenic effects in vitro studies. These are controlled environments in which experiments are performed in a test tube or Petri dish. Findings are especially concerning because the cancerous growths impact the intestinal tract.

It should be noted that this research is related to aloe vera used in foods and supplements. Aloe vera applied topically is still deemed safe, and Million Marker is keeping a close eye on this story as it develops. 

How to Avoid Hydroxyanthracene Aloe Vera

The outer leaf of aloe vera contains the highest levels of hydroxyanthracene. Not all aloe vera products contain the outer leaf. 

Protect your body from carcinogenic activity by staying clear of [4]:

  • Whole leaf gel: Made with whole leaf and rind, including emodin-heavy outer leaf.

  • Whole leaf aloe extracts: Potent concentration of whole leaf compounds.

  • Non-decolorized leaf: Uses the whole leaf to create unrefined aloe extracts.

Reclaim your digestive health with natural laxative alternatives:

Are Aloe Vera Products Safe?

Much like with petroleum jelly, refinement is key to a healthy experience. Refine your health and beauty routine by only using refined aloe vera products. 

Use aloe vera that is:

  • Decolorized: Filtered with carbon.

  • Inner leaf gel: Lowest levels of hydroxyanthracene.

  • Aloe vera gel extract: Extracted from inner leaf, not outer.

Tend to sunburnt skinned with natural aloe vera products. Its skin-soothing gels come from the inner leaf, which is low in hydroxyanthracene. These products can hydrate the skin without exposing your body to toxic chemicals. 

What has Million Marker Done About Aloe Vera in Approved Products?

Seeing as though the EU Food and Safety Authority only announced that hydroxyanthracene derivatives in aloe extracts are genotoxic in 2020, it is still fairly recent news. Million Marker is conducting the groundwork of contacting manufacturers, distillers, and distributors to understand the level of awareness in the personal care product industry. 

So far, respondents to our inquiries confirm that they use decolorized aloe. This should be pretty commonplace among brands who pay close attention to the purity and quality of their ingredients. 

However, our concern is focused on whether this decolorized aloe has been tested to confirm the absence of hydroxyanthracene and its derivatives. The International Aloe Science Council (IASC) certifies aloe for purity to ensure that the anthraquinone (sometimes known as aloin, which is a derivative of hydroxyanthracene) content is less than 10 ppm. Some manufacturers may not prepared to answer these questions, but we hope to at least bring their attention to consumers’ concerns over it. 

Reclaim Your Health

Aloe vera chemicals aren't the only ones that might be impacting your wellness. Boost your skin health and improve digestive issues by eliminating toxic chemicals from your life. 

Try a body toxicity test and get an in-depth health report with actionable lifestyle suggestions with Million Marker's Detect & Detox Test Kit + Lifestyle Audit