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Various Store-Brand Aloe Vera Gels

Several store-brand aloe vera gels lack the acclaimed soothing ingredient.

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Various Store-Brand Aloe Vera Gels

The land of lost ingredients has a new inhabitant: aloe vera.

Several store-brand aloe vera gels lack the acclaimed soothing ingredient despite listing the plant as either the first or second ingredient on the tube, according to lab tests recently commissioned by Bloomberg News. Bloomberg reported:

Aloe’s three chemical markers — acemannan, malic acid and glucose — were absent in the tests for Wal-Mart, Target and CVS products conducted by a lab hired by Bloomberg News. The three samples contained a cheaper element called maltodextrin, a sugar sometimes used to imitate aloe.

A fourth aloe vera gel sold at Walgreens showed only one of the three chemical markers, malic acid, which means the presence of aloe can’t be confirmed or ruled out, according to Bloomberg.


Walmart, Target, CVS and Walgreens denied the allegations in the Bloomberg report.

Several class-action lawsuits have been filed against all four retailers for allegedly peddling aloe vera-less aloe vera.

The report comes as the U.S. market for aloe products, which in addition to skin care remedies include juices and vitamins, has grown to $146 million, according to Bloomberg. Yet the FDA doesn’t approve the products before they hit store shelves.

And while the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that some studies support aloe vera’s topical use for certain conditions such as psoriasis, it still concludes that there’s “not enough evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for most of the purposes for which people use it.”

Find more of our coverage on aloe vera products here.

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