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What Are the Signs of an Aloe Vera Allergy?

By Madeleine A.
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Signs of an aloe vera allergy include irritated, red, or inflamed skin, rash, or a burning sensation in the area of where the aloe vera was applied. In addition to allergic reactions, aloe vera can cause other symptoms that are not necessarily the result of an allergy to aloe vera, but a side effect of ingesting it. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur when aloe has been ingested, even in small amounts. When allergic reaction or gastrointestinal symptoms occur, a physician should be notified who can recommend treatment to reduce the effects.

An aloe vera allergy can be quite severe in certain people. This typically occurs when aloe vera is injected or taken orally, rather than used as a topical preparation on the skin. Signs of a severe allergy to aloe vera include low blood sugar and an electrolyte imbalance. Low blood sugar can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, shaking, and sweating. Replenishing glucose stores with juice, candy, or table sugar can often bring up blood sugar levels and eliminate symptoms.

People who have allergies to onions, garlic, or tulips may have a propensity towards an aloe vera allergy. Certain people who use aloe topical preparations for prolonged periods of time may develop an aloe vera allergy that includes symptoms such as eczema and hives. As with many allergic skin reactions, treatment can include over-the-counter antihistamine medications. These medications, although effective in relieving inflammation and itching, can cause significant drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion. They should never be taken when driving is anticipated or when operating dangerous machinery.

Aloe juice is sometimes taken to alleviate the effects of constipation. People should discuss this method of treating constipation with their primary physicians who can warn them of side effects that can occur when aloe juice is consumed. Drinking aloe for constipation can actually increase symptoms of abdominal cramping and bloating. In addition, it can cause severe diarrhea, which if prolonged, can even lead to dehydration.

Although aloe vera is considered safe when it is added to commercial products such as lotions and gels, consuming it in its raw form may not be prudent. It is not considered harmful, however, to use a small amount of aloe gel that has been extracted from the plant to put on a burn or other minor skin irritation. Aloe gel should not be rubbed into large areas of the skin and it should never be applied to cuts or broken skin.

Aloe Vera Allergy Treatment

An allergic reaction to aloe vera may be uncomfortable, but there are ways to soothe any issues. Generally, any negative response to aloe vera is most likely contact dermatitis. Start with cleansing the affected area with mild soap and lukewarm water to treat this condition. Stop using the aloe vera altogether if you have determined that you are allergic to it.

Try applying petroleum jelly or anti-itch products. These include calamine lotion and hydrocortisone cream to help soothe the area. If you feel it's necessary, you can also take an antihistamine to help with itching.

How To Know If You Are Allergic To Aloe Vera

If you are allergic to aloe vera, it will usually present as contact dermatitis. Generally, this is irritant contact dermatitis instead of allergic dermatitis. It is a skin condition that causes several skin issues. These can include:

  • dry skin
  • hives
  • redness
  • itching
  • swelling
  • nausea

The severity of the symptoms depends on how allergic you are to the substance. You should always do a patch test if you are not familiar with a product or ingredient. To do this, place a small amount of the substance on an inconspicuous area of your body. Usually, people use the inside of their elbow. Symptoms of putting on aloe vera are slightly different than the symptoms present when consuming it.

In some cases, you may have a more severe reaction. If you have any further issues, consult a healthcare professional. You may have an allergy you were not aware of, and a doctor can give you advice on how to take care of it.

Why Am I Allergic To Aloe Vera?

While it is rare to have a true aloe vera allergy, some people are allergic to the plant. Their symptoms may range from mild to severe and varies from person to person. In many cases, it is not an allergy to the aloe itself but to the ingredients included if not using pure aloe vera. Be aware of other components along with aloe vera, like fragrance or other irritating substances.

You may be allergic to aloe vera because of a skin condition or if you have sensitivities to other plants in the aloe family. These include garlic and onions. Also, the leaves of the aloe plant contain latex. If you have a latex allergy, touching aloe plants could cause an allergic reaction. A latex allergy can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

Keep in mind that there are over 300 species of the aloe plant. You may be allergic to one type but not another. They all have slightly different properties. The extraction process of aloe is also essential to note and can affect how you react to it.

If you are unsure if you have a true allergy to aloe vera, try using the pure, organic type. Since the plant is supposed to be soothing and help with irritation, pure aloe should help. If it does not, you may have an allergy to the substance, and you should avoid it.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1001861 — On Jul 10, 2019

Aloe has to be prepared properly in order for it to be ingested. There is a substance between the skin and the center clear gel that is yellow and bitter. That yellow substance is what causes the distress.

By anon1001457 — On Apr 18, 2019

Aloe is a nasty allergen; unfortunately it's a very popular ingredient for cheapo "natural" toiletries. I bet its ubiquity is part of the reason why so many people have become allergic to it.

By anon998333 — On May 16, 2017

I've never had (as far as I know) an allergy to aloe. For the last year, I've had a rash on my face and it keeps appearing. Just as I get rid of it, it appears again due to dehydration. I purchased some aloe juice I used it diluted I have had a severe reaction I got hot, couldn't breathe, was nauseated and had an upset stomach. I got a horrific rash all over my face. I looked like a burn victim and it was really itchy. I also came out in hives. I was unaware that aloe was the cause. The doc put me on steroids as I have a wedding and wouldn't be able to attend due to the the state I was in.

The rash is slowly clearing. Last night, I got an Asda aloe drink and the rash and hives started itching again. The only new thing I've used since getting the original rash is aloe juice and I see it's in many of my makeup products, so I think it was already mildly affecting me. I'm waiting for a patch test but I'm pretty sure it was drinking the aloe from Asda as all the itchiness had gone and the soreness had calmed down, and now it's back.

By anon991770 — On Jul 16, 2015

I had a laser burn on my face, so I tried a aloe vera juice from its leaf and found rashes around my face. The next day I used the same thing on my marks and now have rashes all over my upper body. I took two certazin twice a day for a week and feeling back to normal.

By anon990461 — On Apr 22, 2015

I used aloe on my face knowing the aloe would cure the dry skin. I got home from a band concert and my face was really red and looked like I had really bad acne so I used Noxema (Pimple Cream) and scrubbed it on my face.

A while after my face was swelled up and the acne looking stuff was all over my face. It's been three days now and my face is really dry and puffy and still has dots all over it. I've been home from school for two days and I just can't get rid of it. I have benadryl pills and cream and it's not helping.

By anon980028 — On Dec 01, 2014

I'm severely allergic to aloe, while my children are moderately allergic to it.

By anon974520 — On Oct 18, 2014

I just started using a toothpaste that contains aloe leaf juice. In the morning my teeth and gums feel weird. Could this be an allergy? I do not recall a reaction to anything with aloe before.

By anon970901 — On Sep 21, 2014

Almost every baby wipe and disposable diaper has aloe in it. Both of my kids have aloe allergies and cannot stand to have the wipes touch their diaper areas. Pampers Baby Fresh wipes and Huggies diapers do not have aloe, fortunately.

By anon965071 — On Aug 09, 2014

They put aloe vera in flushable wipes? Not good for that area if you have an allergy!

By anon946454 — On Apr 19, 2014

I posted about a week ago about my allergy to aloe vera shampoo. I want to say that the day after I went off all aloe, my head completely stopped itching. I found Aloe in many products I was using every day: "Real Purity" deodorant, Naked Bee lotion, Mederma, NYC Liquid Lipshine. Mascara is a hard one, but avoid Physicians Formula. I used a baby wipe on my feet today and instantly my feet turned red and they are stinging. Baby wipes from Aldi have aloe in them.

By anon329415 — On Apr 09, 2013

I didn't know I had an aloe allergy since it is in so many cosmetics. I bought aloe juice, after drinking it and I broke out in hives all over my body. I thought I was still OK with skin contact, but now I can't wear any makeup with it- it causes my skin to get red and feels like sunburn. My daughter is also allergic. She broke out in hives all over from just having it touch her skin on her arm. I was told that is a severe reaction that could be worse next time.

By indigomoth — On Dec 21, 2012

@Ana1234 - Well, some people like bitter foods and I've heard that some people are more sensitive to that taste than others as well. Plus you can get used to it.

It sounds like a real aloe allergy would be fairly obvious though and not just a simple sick stomach. It's probably a good idea for anyone who thinks they might try some aloe (even if it's in a drink) to only take a small amount and wait to make sure they have no allergy. Particularly if the person trying it is young, as kids can easily be killed by a severe allergic reaction.

It's probably a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for this, since I think aloe gets added to a lot of drinks these days, particularly ones that come from Asia.

By Ana1234 — On Dec 20, 2012

I have a friend who swore by eating a leaf of aloe vera every day. Her mother had told her that it was the way to keep all stomach problems at bay. So it is possible to eat aloe vera raw, although I can believe that it isn't very advisable, because when I tried it, the taste was so foul I felt sick afterwards.

I don't even know how people would be able to tell their were allergic to it, when it's that bitter.

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