That store-brand aloe vera may not contain what it promises!


The next time your skin needs some soothing from this beloved green gel, think twice about which product your grab off the shelf.

It turns out many common store brands don’t contain what they say they do!

Read more: Recall expanded to include nearly 2 million pounds of chicken

Lab report: Aloe vera from Walmart, Target, CVS is suspect

Aloe barbadensis leaf juice is heavily advertised as being in your bottle of aloe vera gel, usually as the first or second ingredient following water.

There are three chemical markers — malic acid, acemannan and glucose — that indicate the presence of aloe.

However, when Bloomberg ran independent lab testing on aloe vera from four major retailers, the following products did not contain any of the expected genetic markers:

  • Equate Aloe After Sun Gel (Walmart)
  • Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel (Target)
  • Aftersun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel (CVS)

What those three samples did contain was maltodextrin, a more cost-effective substance often used to mimic aloe.

The one product that did contain malic acid — but not the other two genetic markers — was Walgreens’ Alcohol Free Aloe Vera Body Gel.

Bloomberg reports that the FDA doesn’t provide any oversight for the industry when it comes to cosmetics, which is what aloe vera is considered.

To complicate matters, both CVS and Walgreens were told by their suppliers that they were getting the real deal when they obviously weren’t. (Target did not comment on the matter.)


So you have to take suppliers and manufacturers at their word in this burgeoning $146 million industry that’s grown 11% this year, according to Chicago-based market researcher SPINS LLC.

What should you do?

If you want to be sure you’re getting real aloe, consider buying a live plant and trimming the leaves as needed to get access to pure unadulterated aloe to soothe your skin.

Read more: Food poisoning expert reveals 6 foods he never eats

Costco CEO shares tips with Clark Howard to help you save money

Clark Deals
  • Show Comments Hide Comments