Some products that claim to contain 100% aloe vera actually include a much smaller amount: 0%.

According to the International Aloe Science Council (IASC), aloe vera-containing products generate a staggering $11 billion a year globally.

Aloe vera is supposed to soothe burns, dry or irritated skin, and insect bites. Many aloe products claim to contain fresh aloe vera leaves or “100% aloe vera gel.” But in light of recent lab tests, these claims look dubious at best.

Independent lab tests have confirmed that some aloe vera gel products do not contain acemannan, “a naturally occurring polysaccharide that is present in aloe vera and is used as an identifier of the botanical by analytical means” (as per the IASC).

Several aloe vera products have recently come under fire for not containing as much aloe vera as promised. Incredibly, some products that claim to contain 100% aloe vera actually include a much smaller amount: 0%.

As a result, many consumers filed lawsuits against aloe companies to hold them accountable and get their money back.

“Is There Even Aloe Vera in Aloe Vera Gel?”

In a scathing indictment of the aloe vera industry published on July 4, 2016, The Ringer journalist Claire McNear asks, “Is there even aloe vera in aloe vera gel?”, and answers:

Very possibly not! One study of 18 commercial aloe vera products found only nine contained “quantifiable amounts of… Acemannan polysaccharide,” the active, theoretically restorative ingredient in the plant. A second study found “satisfactory amounts” of Acemannan in just a third of sampled products. Even if some aloe is included, beware of what else may be: Common fillers — maltodextrin, glucose, glycerin, malic acid — often degrade what little Acemannan there is.

This deception is apparently very common, as a Bloomberg News investigation confirms. They examined aloe vera products sold by Wal-Mart, Target, and CVS and found that acemannan was missing. What the aloe products did contain, however, was maltodextrin: a cheap, sugar powder that looks like aloe powder.

Fruit of the Earth 100% Aloe Vera Gel

acemannanoFruit of the Earth’s 100% Aloe Vera Gel description reads, “Made with the most concentrated amount [of] fresh Aloe Vera leaves on the market, this cooling gel forms a protective barrier that helps retain moisture and promote healing.” The label claims the gel is 99.8% aloe vera.

But three plaintiffs in California—La Tanya James, Alexandra Groffsky, and Emma Groffsky—say they tested FOTE’s aloe vera gel and found that it did not contain any aloe vera whatsoever. They filed a lawsuit seeking damages, restitution, and for Fruit of the Earth to surrender all profits earned from its false advertising, and for the company to cease deceiving consumers.

CVS Aftersun Aloe Vera

“Products that do not contain acemannan are not considered to be true aloe vera.”

In a similar case to the Fruit of the Earth lawsuit (see above), in June 2016 Patricia Bordenet of Illinois alleged that CVS’s Aftersun Aloe Vera contains neither aloe nor acemannan, despite presenting itself as 100% aloe vera gel. According to the International Aloe Science Council (IASC), “Products that do not contain acemannan are not considered to be true aloe vera based on this standard.” Ms. Bordenet seeks compensation for damages.

Other Products Under Investigation

Several more “aloe” products are under investigation and may be subject to potential lawsuits, including the following:

  • Target Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel
  • Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Aloe
  • Walgreens Advanced Hand Sanitizer with Aloe
  • Walgreens Aloe Gel 0.5% Lidocaine Pain Reliever
  • Walgreens Aloe Vera Body Gel

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