The aloe plant Aloe barbadensis in the family Liliaceae is the most researched and used of the more than 300 species of aloe. Aloe has been used medicinally for several thousands of years in many cultures — from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to China and India. The plant has many common names and is often referred to as aloe vera, burn plant, first-aid plant, or medicine plant. Its name is most likely derived from the Arabic word Alloeh, meaning “shining bitter substance. Aloes are thought to have originated in tropical Africa but are now cultivated in warm climate areas of Asia, Europe, and America. Aloe has been extensively cultivated in the Caribbean islands and in Mexico since the early 1800s. In the U.S., it is grown commercially in the Rio Grande valley of Texas, southern California, and Florida. Aloe plants can withstand high temperatures and long periods of drought, due to their ability to store water in their succulent leaves. On the other hand, they are very sensitive to freezing temperatures, which can damage or kill the plants.

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Aloe gel has long been used for its beneficial effects in the wound-healing properties. It is most often included in topical formulations (e.g. creams, lotions or soaps). At least part of aloe gel’s beneficial effect on the skin likely is due to its moisturizing effect. Also, it is said to leave a protective layer on the skin after drying, possibly providing some protection to the wound.




Our Stewardship Model guides us to select ingredients which have been processed in a manner that supports our philosophy of human and environmental health.




There are many moisturizing agents used in personal care formulations. The most widely used is probably glycerin, which exerts its moisturizing function by its ability to retain water in the skin (humectant). Other important humectants include hyaluronic acid, urea or polysaccharides. A different class of moisturizers is the emollients, which exert their benefits through effects on the skin barrier, partially through improved repair, and on permeability. Examples of emollients are fatty oils like sunflower, avocado or jojoba oil. Finally, some moisturizers increase the water content indirectly by creating an occlusive film on the skin surface, trapping the water in the upper layers of the stratum corneum (e.g. lecithin, propylene glycol, beeswax, mineral oil).

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Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with naturally derived ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.

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