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ALOE VERA – THE UNHEALTHY TRUTH ABOUT IT IN SKINCARE…..
IF I had a penny for every time I get asked “why don’t you use Aloe Vera in your skincare products?” ……. i’d be rich!!
Here are my reasons:-
Reason 1 – While the fresh juice of the Aloe Vera plant is excellent for treating sunburn, acne, aging, stretchmarks etc, the truth of the matter is that unless you actually pull the leaf straight from the plant and squeeze the gel directly onto your skin, there are definitely preservatives added to it to keep it fresh. The gel starts to break down, and will go rancid fairly quickly. It therefore requires preservatives/parabens to maintain it’s integrity.
Reason 2 – According to EU Cosmetic Labelling Regulations, cosmetics ingredients lists do not have to declare “incidental ingredients.” Incidental ingredients refer to chemicals, such as preservatives, that are used to preserve individual ingredients as supplied (to the cosmetics maker) by the ingredient manufacturer. For example, if Company A sells aloe vera juice containing a paraben preservative to company B and company B uses the aloe vera juice in a face cream that is sold to consumers, Company B does not have to declare the paraben preservative that Company A added to the aloe vera juice on the label or anywhere else.
Cosmetics manufacturers are required only to list preservatives that they add to preserve the final, finished product! There may be ingredients in your product that are not on the label besides those lurking in well-known hiding places like “fragrance” or “parfum”. These are the so-called “incidental ingredients.”
Reason 3 – Aloe Vera is a juice, not a gel, that comes from a plant and juice goes off/rancid. Like water, aloe vera juice is a happy place for bacteria and needs to be formulated with a preservative to keep it from going off.
Aloe vera gel is created by mixing it with a thickening agent like xanthan gum and a preservative.
Aloe vera powder is soluble in water, which always needs a preservative!
Pure oil does not need a preservative, but aloe will not dissolve or mix in oil.
What this means is, no matter how you shake it, aloe needs a preservative. The only way you wouldn’t need to add a preservative is if you mix it with a super high concentration of alcohol, and then you definitely do NOT want to put that on your skin!!
Long Story Short – if you’re reading an ingredients list and you see aloe vera but no preservative, one (or a combination) of two things are true:
The preservative (and possibly other additives) is there but hasn’t been disclosed; or
This formula is not properly preserved. Please keep in mind that mold and other bacteria form before it’s visible to the human eye.
To be clear, this is NOT a slight on aloe. Aloe is a magical, medicinal plant with many healthy and helpful uses. I would suggest buying a good quality established plant or two and keep them at home for your own personal use! But that’s just my opinion.
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