Does heating destroy Aloe Vera's properties?

edited May 2017 in General
I want to start using Aloe in some of my skincare products, in the first place for the family members who want me to add it.
Myself, I'm not convinced yet about its properties, because I can't find evidence about it being so great and I only use actives in my own products based on irrefutable evidence.

Since Aloe contains mostly water I was thinking of changing the whole % of water to Aloe Vera juice/gel.
If I put this in a O/W moisturizer, can I heat it up to about 60-70C, to make it the same temperature as the emulsifiers/oil phase? Would it destroy too many of its, supposedly, good properties?
If so, would it be better to add it in a lower % to the cooling phase or in a cold process serum?



  • Like you, I have never been convinced of any positive effects obtained by aloe. One thing I have used it for, with advantage, is a soothing application of a stripped aloe leaf to minor burns - but a similar effect is obtainable with a sliced cucumber, a piece of melon or even a wet cloth.

    If you feel obliged to use aloe at your "customer's" insistence then you can obtain aloe powder or concentrates which are added near the end of processing thus avoiding adverse temperatures.
  • Exactly. Many companies have built their whole image around it and use it as main ingredient, must be something psychological? It looks healthy, green and succulent. But indeed, so does a cucumber.

    About the powders. I've just read in a link that the plant is undergoing high temperatures in the drying process to obtain the powder.

    I think I tell my family to visit the garden centre and just buy the plant. Strip a leaf and stop bugging me.  o:)
  • Using the fresh plant will show how slimy and sticky fresh aloe juice/pulp really is!

    Cucumber and melon are much more pleasant - and easily available at the greengrocers.
  • I always suspected it feeling like pure glycerin.  :#
    To think people also eat/drink this stuff. "It's a strong detox! I got rid of my constipation immediately!" Yeah, so does a gastric flu virus.  :/

    Cucumber has indeed a pleasant feel, non sticky. When I was younger and stupid enough to sunbathe, I used to slice cucumber and put it on sunburns.
  • @Doreen81:

    Your best bet us to use dried Aloe Powder and reconstitute it in your water phase at 1% for a 100X Aloe Powder ... this effectively gives you aloe leaf juice.  Liquid Aloe is very expensive compared to this alternative.

    Don't worry about heat ... it will not affect anything relative to Aloe.

    Yes, you are correct, Aloe has no documented evidence of being effective in skin care, but has a long history of use.  Look at it this way ... it certainly will not do any harm and if your clients desire it in their products ... it's adding all of 2 minutes to your formulation to add-in aloe powder.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details

  • @MarkBroussard

    Ok, thanks! I'll try the concentrate to keep the 'customer' satisfied. ;)
    Good to hear that heat doesn't affect its properties in a negative way.
  • heat will not affect it but could never demonstrate any effectiveness for it in clinical testing.However it does keep some customers happy.
  • At best Aloe is a humectant / moisturizing ingredient so heating to temperatures below the BP of water won't have any negative effect.
  • I can't agree with the comments disparaging the effectiveness of aloe vera. We have seen very clear results using 100% aloe cream (based on x10 liquid concentrate) including: very rapid elimination of bruises; effective treatment of burns (first and second degree); big reduction in irritation (used on dermatitis). In addition there are peer reviewed studies, at least one of which showed that aloe cream was MORE effective than the standard (silver based) treatment for severe burns.
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    Provides Formulation Development and Lab-Scale Contract Manufacturing Services.  See website for details

  • edited May 2017
    1. the "good properties" has first to be defined.
    2. this(heat vs no heat) has never been documented as far as I know.
    3. In general heating (=energy) induces change (chemical reactions) and things could therefore happen. If you believe in the good properties of Aloe, handle it with care.

  • > To think people also eat/drink this stuff. "It's a strong detox! I got rid of my constipation immediately!" 

    Just an FYI, aloe vera is a mucilent (mucilage); it creates a slime in the intestine.  which is, what some people need.   and its well-tested, there are tons of people in Latin cultures who drink it. 

    the key, for consumption (drinking), is to use the gel on the interior of the leaf, and not the entire leaf.  If you are getting a "detox" effect, its because you are likely drinking a "whole leaf" extract (maceration of the entire leaf, rather than physical extraction of the interior of the leaf).

    as to inflammation (or burns) it definitely is bioactive.  with respect to burns, you need to reduce the heat in the tissues (without cycling with cold!).  Any water/nano slurry will technically suck the heat out, almost immediately (i.e. try toothpaste slurried next time!). 

    But, aloe-vera also hydrates, and I suspect highly is bioactive with respect to actual inflammation.  that it also sucks out heat is actually a byproduct of the hydrogel (as in it contributes, part, but not all of the effect).  in this respect a thick slurry of toothpaste, works better (heat removal).

    countless people, across countless cultures, have aloe vera plants in their kitchens.  this is not, arbitrary.  if you think that this plant, is somehow "fairy dust", you need to seriously reconsider your position.
  • edited May 12
    @aperson I totally agree that the fresh plant juice ifself is certainly no fairy dust, niether is orange juice or vitamins. However, aloe can not be used in cosmetics as an anti-inflammatory bioactive since this would make it a medicine. Therefore people are usually using a tiny bit of the powder for the marketing story.

  • @david:

    yes I am understanding, that you (as chemists) are in between a rock and a hard place (having read a large set of older posts).  that is, any "biologically active" botanical (claim, ingredient covered by monograph) triggers OTC. 

    Which in turn means that "functional" percentage use of ingredients (required amounts for therapeutic use), is essentially unknown in "cosmetics" formulation, leaving you stuck putting in 1%'ers, which does nothing but screw up the chemistry of your products, without any actual gain.

    I empathize.   Having read, probably around 100 discussions on this forum, it is easy to see why "naturals" are covered with such disdain for any potential therapeutic effect.  But you have to realize; this is because you are deliberately limited in your use of them (with respect to functional therapeutic use, or marketing of those uses). 

    I think this is why, for example belassi, has repeatedly shown interest, and successfully developed a product (as he does not face this same "dilemma").

    With the FDA, not eager to expand the repertoire of monographed active ingredients in several classes of "cosmetics", despite science indicating that there is indeed a therapeutic effect; and with a very uncertain supply (botanical-based api's need even higher standards than chemical manufacturing, as there is the additional layers of cultivation and cultivar influencing yield, bioactivity & synergestic cofactor effect); I understand, and empathize.

    Having said this; do consider:  That for some 2000+ years, botanical extracts, were in fact, the major source of medicines for the world (with a couple of notable exceptions with respect to inorganics) including topical applications intended to improve appearance.  

    That you are unable to capitalize on them, does not mean they are worthless.  That you are "forced to fairydust" (at some consternation!), does not mean they are not active.  Quite the contrary.

    > Therefore people are usually using a tiny bit of the powder for the marketing story.

    indeed.  I see your point ;)  but you have to think, not everyone who is reading this forum, knows this.  if this forum, is a valuable resource, for those entering into the field, it makes sense to present the complete picture.   And with respect, if you are forced to fairydust, don't presume that this reflects on the potency or "therapeutic" effects of the underlying ingredients. 

    And IF you are forced to fairydust, and do not take the time to understand the different types of botanics, their bioactivity, their preparations, and what effects their potency, than be thankful you are stuck at 1%!

    I am reminded of the indiscriminate use of tea tree oil, and lavender oil, for example in shampoo's, and resulting gynocomastia in prepubescent boys as a clear warning, that even at "fairydust" inclusion, things can still have major functional effects.

    While I did not intend to write a small treatise; I posted, simply to correct the information on Aloe Vera, with respect to its uses.  Since I am unfamiliar with your field (still learning), I am unsure as to wha

  • @aperson

    I have just come on this forum and, out of interest, did a search on "Tea Tree Oil" as this is an area of interest for me.  Your recent post came up mentioning the purported link between TTO and Lavender with gynecomastia.  In fact, this information is now known to be incorrect; the association has been actually shown and published to be a "false positive".  Unfortunately another sensationalized presentation was made recently, but the underlying reasons for the false positive findings were still not addressed by the researchers:

    1.       Tests were of components, not whole essential oils. The authors tested oil components.  Why did the authors not test the whole oils? Were these tested components synthetically derived or directly extracted from LO and TTO? Only 4 of 8 tested components are common to both LO and TTO, yet they draw broad associations of both oils in their conclusions.

    2.       Lab testing (in vitro) is very different from human testing (in vivo). Most of the tested compounds from TTO and Lavender do not penetrate the dermal/skin barrier and enter the bloodstream – solid data on this exists.  How can compounds cause systemic disruptions if they are not systemic when applied topically?

    3.       Terpene compounds are highly prevalent in Orange and other citrus juices.  Given the use of these substances in everyday life, especially as ingested foodstuffs, one would surmise the developed world would have a high prevalence of gynecomastia, yet gynecomastia is a “rare condition”.

    4.       Well-documented “false positive” results from phthalates, nonylphenols, and other chemicals in lab plastics. These chemicals are known endocrine disruptors, yet are commonly used in laboratory testing consumables.  False positives from laboratory plastics confounded an earlier paper by Henley (and current co-author Korach) published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007, asserting similar claims against LO and TTO.

    I hope this gives more clarity on this subject and can help to address this concern.
  • @AUteatree

    I suppose, it must be common, for prepubescent brothers, to both grow tits where you're from, on changing a shampoo.

    They tracked it back to the "botanicals shampoo" they were using (the only change).  Discontinuing the use of the shampoo, corrected the problem.

    ... about three years later, they publish a study, where both tea tree oil, and lavender, show up as having severe endocrine disrupting effects (published in late 2017 as I recall).

    Much as I love the whole "they didn't test the right component" debate (or any one of the myriad forms of cherry picking scientific "facts"), where I'm from, when you knock out the endocrine disruptor, and the boys both cease growing tits, this is sufficient to establish a causal relationship.

    As to the specific botanicals, who knows? Cultivars, collection methods, and soil conditions heavily affect expression of specific compounds; as does method of storage, concentration, plant parts, or even, supply chain issues.

    And then there is the genetic predisposition (particular to the individual) to respond to these particular compounds (either biochemically, through anomalous protein expression, or environmental protective effects).  What may be carcinogenic to one person; may be entirely harmless to another.

    But the point remains.  Whether you like it or not.  Throwing in random botanicals, without any knowledge of their actual potency, or bioactivity as "fairydust" is, potentially dangerous and irresponsible.  As is, conflating no effect based on historical uses of putting in very small amounts.

    Furthermore, its the attitude regarding botanicals and their usage in cosmetics that I was addressing.  In both directions (dismissive of having no effect; dismissive of having an effect).

    Lastly, consider - that even in the synthetic species of chemicals, allergic response is itself, inconsistent (depending on aforementioned genetic predispositions, as well as sensitizing environmental conditions).  Yet this forum is filled with countless changes, to avoid potential allergenic responses of specific chemical compounds.  And not just in response to a "marketing" concern.

    > yet gynecomastia is a “rare condition”.

    Which is why the original story caught my eye. 

    ... Right up there with prepubescent girls, growing beards (from residuals on testosterone cream transfers) - about two years before any doctor even thought to mention the possibility.

    I like, to stay ahead of the curve.

    As to tea tree oil, I leave it up to the authors of the recent study if they wish to refute your allegations.  Perhaps you should write them with your concerns.  I have no vested interest.  I certainly, WILL NEVER, be using tea tree oil in any of my formulations.  Just out of caution, you understand.

    With respect to lavendar, yes I know its bioactive.  Definitely.

    One last point:

    > Most of the tested compounds from TTO and Lavender do not penetrate the dermal/skin barrier and enter the bloodstream – solid data on this exists.  How can compounds cause systemic disruptions if they are not systemic when applied topically?

    I think, you should not confuse, "penetration of the dermal/skin barrier" as the ONLY method of entry into the bloodstream. 

    Plenty of compounds which were thought to "not be possible" to transmit through skin, show up in higher concentrations in blood when topically applied.  In fact, I believe one of the chemists here actually had such a problem (for which I was thankful he shared his experience, as in fact, this is a common "inclusion" in formulations).

  • edited May 18
    Wow women from Oz are not going to like this They are drinking it, rubbing it on neat, bathing in it & pouring it over our heads to kill lice! TTO is like vegemite!! 
    Dr. Catherine Pratt
    (B.Sc with HONS I , Ph.D Analytical/Organic Chem and Microbiology), Cosmetic Chemistry IPCS)
  • "prepubescent boys".
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