As mentioned above, aloe vera is either applied topically or is taken internally. The possibility of adverse effects are higher in case of oral intake, as compared to topical application.
- Allergic reactions are among the common side effects of using aloe vera. This applies to both topical as well as internal use. While some people develop minor allergic reactions like itching and skin rash, others may experience severe symptoms like facial swelling, breathing trouble, and tightness in chest. In case of severe allergic reactions, seek medical attention immediately and discontinue use of aloe vera.
- Oral intake of aloe vera as a laxative may cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea. In such cases, prolonged use may result in dependency, and after discontinuation of its use, severe constipation may occur. People with hemorrhoids should not use aloe vera, which can worsen the symptoms.
- The laxative effects of aloe vera can result in electrolyte imbalances in blood. It can lower potassium levels in the blood and may result in irregular heartbeats, weakness, and soft muscles. This side effect of using aloe vera is prominently seen in people with diabetes, heart diseases, or kidney diseases. Hence, it is said that such people should avoid usage of aloe vera or its products.
- Studies conducted in rats proved that aloe extract made from whole aloe leaves can be carcinogenic. This is mainly because of the presence of aloin, which is found in aloe latex. Some species of aloe vera has higher levels of aloin. Though there is no proof of any such action of aloe vera in humans, its possibility cannot be ruled out. So aloe products without aloin are said to be safer. It is also suggested that taking aloe vera for longer durations may increase the risk of colorectal cancer.
- Oral intake of aloe vera may also lower blood sugar levels. Those who are undergoing treatment for diabetes or hypoglycemia should take expert advice before using aloe vera. According to some reports, prolonged use of aloe vera may lead to hepatitis. People with thyroid disorders should also avoid intake of aloe vera.
- Frequent intake of aloe vera may cause dehydration and reddish urine. Aloe vera overdose can cause blood build-up in the pelvis, kidney damage, and even death in some cases. It is also important to note that aloe vera injections must be strictly avoided, as it may cause serious adverse effects.