Aloe barbadensis is a spiky succulent plant that is abundant in nature and has been used for medicinal purposes in several cultures over thousands of years, often for treating wounds, burns and other skin ailments. It’s a native of the driest regions of Asia, Europe, the Americas and Africa. Commonly called aloe vera, the ingredient acts as a natural moisturizer. The plant’s leaves contain antioxidants such as beta carotene (vitamin A), vitamin C and vitamin E. They also contain vitamin B12 and folic acid. Saponins in the leaves also have cleansing and antiseptic properties.[1,2]
Aloe barbadensis pairs well with almost all natural ingredients by helping to bind moisture to the skin. As a skin-conditioning agent, its amino acids also help soften hard skin and its zinc has astringent properties that tighten pores.
The aloe leaf has three layers: an inner clear gel that is almost entirely water, a middle layer of sap and an outer rind. There are various processing methods, but generally, making aloe vera juice begins with harvesting aloe vera leaves. The best leaves should be three to four years old so that they have a full concentration of active ingredients. The leaves should be processed or refrigerated within six hours of being cut to preserve those active ingredients. Within 36 hours of harvest, the rind is removed and what’s left is put through a grinder. The resulting liquid is then filtered and stabilized to keep it from separating. Typically the juice is stored in amber glass bottles to keep light from reacting with aloe’s bioactive agents. The juice is then mixed with other preparations or agents to produce pharmaceutical, cosmetic or food products.[4,5]
We use aloe barbadensis in several of our products as a moisturizer. It is well tolerated, and Puracy uses it in its organic form in its lotions. Whole Foods has deemed the ingredient acceptable in its body care quality standards.[6,7] The FDA allows aloe barbadensis as a natural flavoring in food. Aloe vera gel used in skin care products is generally believed to be safe, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. At least one study finds that aloe can hydrate the skin after a single application; another finds that it is a generally well-tolerated psoriasis treatment with no serious side effects.[10,11]