I’m sorry guys, I didn’t know either until recently. My family had ALWAYS used aloe. Even last summer I owned an aloe plant and was rubbing sticky green plant remains all over myself in vain. Aloe is used in EVERYTHING and yet there is no scientific evidence for its use as anything except a mild laxative. Unless of course you bought the aloe vera WITH lidocaine, in which case you really only wanted the lidocaine to ease the pain. Go look for yourself, all the red flags are there; No active ingredient, Not FDA approved, marketed as “dietary supplement”, advertised as self-evidently “naturally healing”, and used in plenty of alt med and sham treatment circles as a cure-all. In any randomized, double-blind evaluation they are no better than a placebo or the study is so poorly done that no conclusion can be drawn which means IT PROBABLY HAS NO EFFECT.

“But it’s naturally healing!”

– is an Appeal to Nature logical fallacy, and it doesn’t mean anything as nature has some deadly plants too.

“But it’s been used for 6000 years!”

– is an Argument from Antiquity logical fallacy, and only means it hasn’t worked for thousands of years.

“But it hydrates the skin!” 

– So does water, and jello, but they don’t cost #10 per bottle. Aloe has not been shown to provide any additional relief than any other liquid/lotion/gel, despite being fraudulently marketed as a “remedy”.

ADDED: “I use it and it feels good!”

– Ironically the most common response, even from skeptics. OF COURSE IT FEELS GOOD. Anything cool on a sunburn feels fantastic. This is the exact same retort we hear in defense of ___________ (insert pseudoscience). The point is that it does not matter that the product has aloe in it, it’s irrelevant. You could replace aloe with cottage cheese, and the effect would be the same. But our families used aloe dammit! THIS IS AMERICA!

Same story with calamine, a chalky ‘anti-itch’ used for anything from bugbites to poison ivy, though you will remember calamine most vividly from when your parents dotted your chicken pox with it and stuffed your hands into oven mitts. DID IT MAKE YOU ITCH ANY LESS? No.

I was clued in about calamine after a camping trip when Abbey covered my poison ivy rash with it. I looked up the active ingredient on the side and it was.. calamine? What was the real ingredient? Turns out its the same ingredient of sunblock, which by any logic would mean that most sunblocks are also anti-itch creams. Much the same as aloe, calamine is a protectant that may help prevent bacteria from entering, and help dry out the skin, but little else. Much like aloe, we associate calamine with anti-itch because many effective creams have medicine AND calamine as a protectant. What you really want is benadryl or a similar ACTUAL MEDICINE.

All those summers outdoors… ALL LIES.

↓ Transcript
WYLONA
Mitch! That is the worst sunburn I've ever seen.
MITCH
He went shirtless skiing yesterday, the snow acts like a sun mirror.

WYLONA
I can get my aloe vera plant, it's a herbal remedy.
ROB
It's okay Wylona. I've got lotion with lidocaine. it's a real pain killer.

WYLONA
But aloe is natural and soothing!
ROB
Lets find out. I'll put medicine on half, you rub a dead plant on the other half.

MITCH
The only words I want to hear right now are maximum and strength!

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