A lot has been written about aloe vera, lots of wonderful things like:
- it has a wide range of medicinal uses
- it also has a wide range of skin care benefits
I’d never really tried any aloe vera products before, only aloe vera scented things.
If you do your research, you’ll also find much has been written about aloe vera’s potentially toxic effects on your skin and body in the form of allergic reactions.
I had one heck of an allergic reaction to Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel after approximately three days of light use.
The first strange (seemingly unrelated) thing that happened 2/3 days into using it, was that after a very good night’s sleep, I woke up the next morning with swollen puffy eyes and had to sit with frozen peas over them for about an hour to help the swelling go down, it gradually improved further throughout the day. Very strange indeed, I thought.
A couple of days later, everything was fine, no swollen eyes – nothing to report. I washed my face as usual that evening then applied a little aloe vera to my face neck, shoulders, and wiped the excess off my hands onto my waist and bottom.
Well. 😱 😨 😰
Literally, within about a minute of Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel going onto my skin (remember this was not the first time I’d used it) my face felt a bit funny and I felt a rash building up as I touched my skin. My skin then started to feel really hot.
I race back to the sink and wash my face again to get it off (not really thinking to wash it off my body as I thought it was just my facial skin that didn’t like it). Of course, the problem is, this stuff doesn’t sit on the surface of the skin, it sinks deep into your skin, especially when applied to freshly scrubbed clean skin, leaving it impossible to remove it all completely.
From this point onwards, I suffered for just over a week, nonstop, itching like crazy and the more you scratch the more it itches. A raised, visibly bumpy red rash covered all over the areas touched by the Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel, nowhere else, so it was definitely the gel.
Thankfully I had only applied Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel sparingly to my face.
Imagine rolling around in a bed of stinging nettles, this is probably what it would feel like.
I changed the bedding, washed my hair and anything I thought might still have remnants of the aloe vera gel left on it. Still the torture continued.
After continuously flushing out my system by drinking lots of water, green tea, and smothering my skin with Savlon, TCP, coconut oil and taking Dettol baths, things slowly started to improve after around ten days, yes it took that long.
I will never underestimate the power of an allergic reaction again.
Be careful when trying new products, even if they’re supposed to be organic. Granted, this particular product has a few other ingredients in it which may have had something to do with it. One of the assistants in Holland & Barrett suggested I try using pure aloe vera (with nothing added), which they had in stock.
I really wasn’t willing to risk more of the same, or worse, in the name of experimentation.
I know when to call is quits.
When your body speaks, listen. A severe reaction is often your body’s way of letting you know it is in distress and that a substance is in some way toxic/poisonous to your system.
Obviously, everyone is going to react differently to things, but this is the most extreme and shocking reaction I have had to any product in my entire life. It definitely frightened me.
Thankfully Holland & Barrett were very understanding and offered a full refund on both the opened and unopened bottles of Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel I purchased (with receipts, I hadn’t thrown them away).
A woman in the queue next to me said aloe vera had done her skin the world of good, and uses it often. How differently two people can react to the same thing – though she said she uses it in its purest form, not a manufactured product.
I have decided to steer well clear.
Quite frankly, I don’t have any significant need for it, I just thought it would be a good soother to try after being out in the hot sun each day on holiday (thankfully trying and testing it months before I was due to go away). This would have been a complete disaster if it had happened whilst on holiday. There are plenty of other good products that can sooth the skin just as well.
Interestingly, all the product reviews for Dr Organic Aloe Vera Gel seem to be very positive on the Holland & Barrett website, whilst they’re all negative on Amazon ( after checking again today). Don’t rely on reviews from just one website for anything, always research more widely for more balanced feedback.
A week on, my skin was almost back to normal, the affected areas only itched a little bit now. I’m so grateful I didn’t have a more severe reaction. Thank God. Some people’s throat passages swell up, restricting their breathing – which can be fatal.
Aloe vera, thanks but no thanks.
Moving swiftly back to my long standing, tried and tested shea butter and organic coconut oil.