If you have purchased aloe vera gel from Target, Wal-Mart, or CVS, you've been scammed.
New evidence has shown that the store-brand aloe gel, used mainly to soothe damaged skin, doesn't actually contain any aloe vera whatsoever. The store-brand gels list aloe vera as either the first or second ingredient in their products, but lab testing has concluded that there was no indication of the plant in any of the gels.
The FDA doesn't approve cosmetics before they're sold, meaning companies operate solely off the honor system. Aloe markets have grown 11% in the last year to $146 million.
Aloe has three chemical markers, acemannan, malic acid, and glucose. All three of these markers were absent from tests performed on the store-brand products. Each product, however, contained the ingredients to make imitation aloe.
The products tested were Wal-Mart's Equate Aloe After Sun Gel with pure aloe vera, Target's Up & Up Aloe Vera Gel with pure aloe vera, CVS Aftersun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel, and Walgreens Alcohol Free Aloe Vera Body Gel. Walgreens' product contained some of the necessary ingredients, so it cannot be determined conclusively whether or not the aloe vera is real.
Target has declined to comment on the situation, while the other retailers are adamant that their suppliers confirmed the products were 100% authentic.
The suppliers, Fruit of the Earth, have said they stand by their products and claim that the testing process can be flawed and misinterpreted.
Have you bought and used any of these gels? Let us know!