Aloe vera gel is a biological compound, so it’s understandable if you ask yourself this question: does Aloe vera gel expire?
Aloe vera gel does expire, but the date varies depending on its form and how you store it. Raw Aloe vera expires quickly but can be preserved for a week if refrigerated. Chemically preserved Aloe vera can last two years at room temperature but can be used for five years if refrigerated.
Aloe vera may be your go-to product for dryness or the first thing you pick from the shelf before heading out in the sun. But take a second to ensure you check the expiry date or look for signs of Aloe vera gone bad. Read on to find out how you can tell if your Aloe vera has expired and how you can preserve it to keep it fresh the longest.
How Do I Know if My Aloe vera Gel Has Expired?
Aloe vera gel is like any other biologically active product that shows signs of aging and expiry. Like with a food item, you can tell Aloe vera gel has gone bad by its smell and appearance.
Your Aloe vera gel has expired if it has changed from translucent to cloudy, has a foul smell, or abnormal color. Aloe vera leaves wilt as they begin expiring and may also grow mold on them. Your store-bought Aloe gel packaging has an expiry date on it, and caution must be exercised post that date.
Here are a few things to look out for before using Aloe vera:
Check the Color and Appearance of the Aloe vera Gel
Aloe vera gel or liquid isn’t green, as is the misconception. The green is added chemically with dyes to enhance the product’s look.
Naturally, Aloe vera gel or liquid has light yellow to gold translucent color or is completely clear depending on the season it was harvested in. A color change to pink or red can occur on exposure to air or sunlight but is usually safe to use. You should refrigerate the Aloe vera immediately after use.
Any extreme color changes should be taken as a sure sign of Aloe vera gone bad.
Smell the Aloe vera Gel
Before Aloe vera changes color, its smell can be the earliest clue to an expired Aloe vera. An unpleasant smell or a cloudy appearance is your definite clues to immediately dispose of your Aloe vera. An exception is Aloe vera juice that usually changes color before it begins smelling bad.
Check for Mold Growth on the Aloe vera Gel
Dispose of any product, gel, liquid, or fresh leaves with even the mildest forms of mold growing on them. Mold is the growth of fungi on a biological product and can trigger an allergic response in humans. Any mold on the Aloe vera applied to the skin can cause harmful skin infections or irritations.
Confirm the Aloe vera Gel’s Expiry Date
Store-bought Aloe vera gel may not show these signs significantly but is easiest to check for expiry. Just check the expiry date that you’ll find written somewhere on the bottle or packaging of the product. You can also find the period-after-opening symbol on the packaging that indicates the duration for which the product is useful after being opened for the first time.
Suppose you have just recently bought Aloe vera or are planning to use leaves from a plant in the house. In that case, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different formulations, their usual expiration times, and ideal ways to store them.
When Does Aloe vera gel Expire?
Aloe vera is used for various cosmetic and medicinal purposes. The gel from the Aloe vera plant is found in formulations of creams, gels, and ointments. It can also be found in capsules or liquid formulations taken orally.
Aloe vera gel expires in a day at room temperature and a week if refrigerated when used in its raw form. Commercial Aloe vera has preservatives that keep it fresh for two years and refrigerating, or freezing can delay the expiry to five years.
The interior gel from an Aloe vera leaf is used raw to apply on skin or blended with liquid to make Aloe juice. This gel can be used for a day or a week, depending on how you store it.
- Room temperature: up to 24 hours
- Refrigerator: 1 week
- Freezer: up to 2 weeks
Commercially available Aloe vera have added chemical preservatives to extend their expiry to two years. You can further add years to its freshness if you refrigerate or freeze it. The following preservatives are added to Aloe vera gel in a process known as stabilization:
- Citric acid
- Potassium sorbate
- Sodium benzoate
The Aloe vera capsules are manufactured to last several years. Always check the expiration date before you pop a capsule. An expired oral formulation can do more damage than a topical one.
The expiration date mentioned above estimates a duration of time till Aloe vera loses its beneficial properties. If you wish to keep it fresh for longer, there are some ways you can extend the shelf life of Aloe vera and its different forms.
How Can the Expiry Date of the Aloe vera Be Extended?
A bioactive product like Aloe vera should be treated like food products where refrigeration or freezing helps preserve freshness. You should note some dos and don’ts with Aloe vera to extend or reduce the plant’s gel expiration date.
The expiry date of Aloe vera can be extended by storing Aloe vera in a cool, dry place in an air-tight container. Or add natural preservatives like vitamins C or E or honey to extend the shelf life drastically. Then, refrigerate or freeze Aloe vera to preserve maximum freshness.
When storing Aloe vera at room temperature, make sure to keep the following in mind:
- Keep away from sunlight. The plant and extracted gel can get damaged by direct sunlight and lose their natural health properties.
- Use air-tight containers. Fresh or store-bought Aloe vera can oxidize, and the gel can get dried out, making it lose its properties.
- Avoid humidity. Wet and humid places can encourage mold growth on Aloe vera, and mold-ridden Aloe vera is very damaging to the skin.
Add natural preservatives like honey, vitamin C, or a few drops of vitamin E to raw Aloe vera. Blend the Aloe vera with the preservative in a blender, pour in silicone ice cube trays, and freeze. Air-tight containers to store Aloe vera even in the freezer can add a few extra months.
Honey as a preservative can extend the shelf life of Aloe vera to up to three years, even when stored in the fridge. Combine the same ratio of honey to Aloe vera gel together for preservation. You can also add cinnamon to this concoction to make a mask known to reduce acne-causing bacteria.
Fresh leaves can be wrapped up in a damp towel and last a week in the fridge. To prevent the leaves from wilting and losing freshness, they can then be stored in an air-tight freezer bag and kept in the freezer for a good eight months. (source)
Aloe vera is a bioactive product that can unfortunately expire. Preservatives like honey, vitamin C, or E can prolong the freshness of raw Aloe vera, while Aloe vera prepared by companies have pre-added preservatives that lengthen their shelf life drastically.
Keep fresh or packaged Aloe vera away from direct sunlight and humidity and store in air-tight containers. If nothing else works, refrigeration or freezing Aloe vera is always the right answer to make things easy!
David is an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.