Aloe vera may be known as the plant of immortality, but unfortunately, it still goes bad. If your aloe vera gel expired, stop using it immediately. Applying expired aloe vera gel to the skin can result in skin irritation, rashes, or more serious allergic reactions. So, how can you tell if aloe vera gel is spoiled? Stay tuned for the telltale signs.
How Long is Aloe Vera Gel Good For?
The shelf-life of aloe vera gel depends on whether it’s raw or processed. Raw aloe vera gel is extracted directly from the leaves of an aloe vera plant. Since it doesn’t contain any preservatives, raw aloe vera gel expires much quicker than the processed version. Processed aloe vera gels last longer thanks to the added preservatives. However, both kinds of aloe vera gel go off eventually.
The average expiration time for raw aloe vera gel is around 24 hours, compared to 2 years for processed gels. Having said that, how it is stored will have a big impact on how quickly it expires.
Does Raw Aloe Vera Gel Expire?
If you make your own aloe vera gel or buy a bottle of raw aloe vera gel, it will stay good for anywhere between 24 hours and two weeks, depending on how you store it. Here’s a closer look.
Raw aloe vera gel (without added natural preservatives like vitamin C or E) that is stored:
- At room temperature will keep for up to 24 hours
- In the refrigerator will keep for up to a week
- In the freezer will keep for around 1 to 2 weeks
While raw aloe vera expires quicker, it has much more health benefits than its pre-packaged counterparts. It’s possible to extend the shelf-life of raw aloe vera gel by adding powdered vitamin C, vitamin E, or both. These act as natural preservatives, increasing the shelf life of raw aloe vera gel to around 2 months in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer. Not to mention, vitamin C and E are full of health benefits for the skin so your raw aloe vera gel will pack an even stronger punch.
Does Processed Aloe Vera Gel Expire?
Most pre-packaged aloe vera gels come with preservatives, additives, and dyes. These chemicals preserve the gel so that it lasts longer than raw aloe vera gels. Although preservatives can extend the shelf-life of the gel, raw versions are a healthier option as they don’t contain potentially harmful additives.
Pre-packaged aloe vera gel that is stored:
- At room temperature will keep for around 2 -3 years
- In the refrigerator will keep for around 5 years
- In the freezer will keep for around 5 years
How long pre-packaged aloe vera gels last depends on the product and the number of added preservatives. This is why it’s always best to check the expiry date on the bottle to be sure.
How to Tell if Aloe Vera Gel is Spoiled
Here are a few telltale signs that your aloe vera gel has gone off and should no longer be used:
1. It Smells Funky
If you notice your aloe gel doesn’t smell the same as it used to or it has a stronger, more pungent smell, then it’s most likely gone bad and is no longer safe to use.
2. It Has Gone Cloudy
Aloe vera gel should be clear. If your gel has developed a cloudy appearance, this is another telltale sign that it is spoiled.
3. There’s Mold Growing On it
If you spot any signs of mold growing on the aloe vera gel or around the bottle, it has gone bad. This is less common with processed aloe vera gel that contains a lot of preservatives.
4. It Has Lost its Moisturizing Qualities
When aloe vera gel is spoiled, it loses its moisturizing qualities. If you find your gel is no longer making your skin feel soft and hydrated, it’s probably a sign that it has gone off.
5. It’s Causing Skin Irritation
Using spoiled aloe vera gel can irritate your skin, causing it to dry out or even bring out a rash. If your skin shows any signs of irritation after applying aloe vera gel, stop using it immediately and check that it hasn’t expired.
As a result of the added preservatives, many processed aloe vera gels won’t show signs that they’ve gone off. If you have any doubt that your aloe vera gel is spoiled, refer to the expiration date on the bottle.
What Does Bad Aloe Vera Gel Smell Like?
One of the biggest signs that aloe vera gel has gone bad is a change in smell. As aloe vera is part of the same plant family (Amaryllidaceae) as onions, chives, garlic, and leeks, it tends to have a mild onion-like scent. While aloe vera gel may have a very mild oniony smell, bad aloe vera has a strong garlicky smell.
Get in the habit of smelling your aloe vera gel when it’s fresh so you can detect changes in the smell. As a rule of thumb, if aloe vera gel has a strong, pungent scent, it’s most likely gone bad.
Aloe vera gel packs a powerful punch. It’s a potent natural remedy for everything from sunburn to scalp issues. Raw aloe vera gel is especially beneficial to the skin, scalp, and overall health of the body, and is free from harmful additives.
While there’s no doubt that aloe vera gel is a super plant with plenty of health benefits, it does have a relatively short shelf life – especially raw aloe vera gel. It’s important to store aloe gel correctly and keep an eye out for signs that your gel is spoiled.