TikTok has no shortage of ~health and wellness hacks~ — and one of the more recent health-related trends that's gaining in popularity is people drinking aloe vera juice for its alleged benefits.
For context, the #AloeVeraJuice tag on TikTok has more than 16 million views. The trend has become so popular that thousands of videos have been posted of people trying and reviewing the trend, which is typically drinking an ounce of aloe vera juice once or twice a day.
But first, some background: aloe vera has always been known as something that you can put on a sunburn to help soothe and heal the skin. But now, TikTokers are taking things to the next level by drinking aloe vera juice — claiming that it can help "clear breakouts, improve digestive health, and boost overall well-being."
And it's worth noting that everyone's bodies are different. The positive effects that people on TikTok may notice after drinking aloe vera juice could be from a combination of things — how much sleep they got, their diet, stress, etc. But contrary to what this trend is claiming, the consensus from all three experts I spoke to is that there are no health benefits to drinking aloe vera juice. And in some cases, drinking it could cause more harm than good.
To learn more and get to the bottom of this, I spoke to experts — like dermatologists, gastroenterologists, and MDs. Here's what they all had to say.
Gastroenterologist Dr. Supriya Rao, MD, says that drinking aloe vera juice is not healthy for one's digestive system.
"Aloe vera juice was once used in over-the-counter laxatives but [in 2002], the FDA removed all laxatives containing aloe because its safety was not well established," Dr. Rao explained. "In fact, there have been many reported cases of aloe-induced hepatitis, and even some cases of severe but non-fatal cases of liver failure."
And if that wasn't enough of a reason not to drink it, ingesting aloe vera juice can also interfere with potassium, diuretics, and some medications, says Dr. Rao.
In regards to ingesting aloe vera juice as a way to benefit one's skin — Dr. Diane Madfes, MD, FAAD, advised to only use it topically. (Or, in other words, apply it to your skin, rather than drink it.) "This is not a good trend, in my opinion, and aloe vera is only good for the skin when it is applied topically due to its soothing and hydrating properties."
Although drinking aloe vera juice to clear breakouts is not advised, applying a small amount of aloe vera from an aloe vera plant to acne can be helpful because of its key ingredients.
An important reminder: When trying out new health and beauty trends or listening to advise online, it's important to do so with caution and always speak to an expert before trying anything.
"Anyone can make any claims on TikTok," cautions Dr. Deng. "Use your own critical thinking when viewing or listening to any opinions online and get information from multiple sources to cross-check and assess whether the source of the information is credible and reliable."