Your Aloe Vera Gel Might Not Actually Have Any Aloe Vera

Aloe vera gel may be one of the most basic products when it comes to beauty, but a new report published today is saying you may not be getting what you’re bargaining for when you buy it.

According to Bloomberg, aloe gel purchased at Wal-Mart, Target and CVS showed NO presence of actual aloe when tested, and all products listed the ingredient as either number one or number two on the list, meaning that should be the top ingredient in the mix.

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So how did they find out? Bloomberg conducted the study via a hired lab, which tested for the presence of specific chemical markers—acemannan, malic acid and glucose—commonly found in aloe. What did show up was the ingredient of maltodextrin, a sugar used as a food additive or “filler” in aloe-based products. (Bloomberg also tested an aloe product from Walgreens; it contained one aloe marker, so the plant’s presence cannot be confirmed or ruled out.)

“You have to be very careful when you select and use aloe products,” Tod Cooperman, president of White Plains, NY–based ConsumerLab.com, which has done aloe testing, told Bloomberg.

Among the products analyzed: Wal-Mart’s Equate Aloe After Sun Gel, Target’s Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel, CVS's Aftersun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel and Walgreens' Alcohol Free Aloe Vera Body Gel.

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