Aloe vera is a succulent plant that has many uses. Historically, it was commonly used because of its healing properties. It can be used on sunburn, insect bites, rashes, dry skin, and as a base for many beauty products.
It is a very light fluid that is mostly water. The light viscosity of the gel makes it useful in things like masks, moisturizers, and makeup for people who are sensitive, have acne prone skin, or are concerned with using heavy makeup.
One must be cautious when buying aloe vera to be sure that there is no alcohol or irritants added. Generally, the aloe bought in a store will be modified because aloe naturally contains an irritant called aloin. This is the yellow fluid that lies directly under the surface of the plant. People who are allergic to latex, garlic, tulips, and onions will also commonly be allergic to aloe when the aloin is still present. People who are allergic should be very careful to only use aloe with the aloin removed. This means that if aloe vera makes your skin red, itchy, tight, or dry feeling, it may not be a good idea to continue use.
Aloe is also often taken internally but doctors are pushing people to be cautious of overuse. Many different ailments claim aloe as a solution, however, aloin can wreak havoc internally. Aloe was once used as a laxative but, in 2004, all of those products were pulled off the shelf because it was not FDA approved.