The 10 Best Aloe Vera Gels of 2022, According to Dermatologists

Sun Bum's vitamin E-enriched and alcohol-free Cool Down Gel is our favorite

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TripSavvy's Picks

The Sun Bum Cool Down Gel is our best all-around pick: It’s affordable enough to keep plenty of inventory on hand around the house and effective enough to make a significant difference for skin irritations—sunburns and beyond. Meanwhile, budget-conscious people who like to buy in bulk should go for the 12-ounce Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel.

Why use aloe vera gel? According to dermatologists, it has tons of healing properties and applications for the whole body. “Aloe vera is a powerful plant,” explains Dr. Naana Boakye, dermatologist, and owner of the New Jersey-based Bergen Dermatology. “It has various medical and cosmetic applications due to all the vitamins, enzymes, and minerals. Due to all these properties, the aloe vera gel is considered anti-inflammatory and [it has] antimicrobial properties.”

Aloe vera gel works for other skin irritations and even as a natural hair gel. But most commonly, people look to it to soothe skin after too much sun exposure. “Since skin that is sunburned or has had a bit too much sun is very sensitive, I generally tell patients to look for moisturizing lotions or gels that contain pure aloe vera and to avoid any that have any irritating ingredients or are overly fragranced,” explains dermatologist Papri Sarkar. Products that are high in things like glycerin and allantoin will help your skin pull in water and keep it there.”

 With feedback from these and more dermatology pros, here are the best aloe vera gels.

The Rundown

Best Overall: Sun Bum Cool Down Gel at Ulta

"The vitamin E-enriched gel is alcohol-free and great for easing sunburn pain."

Best Budget: Fruit Of The Earth Aloe Vera Gel at Walmart

"It's budget-friendly enough to buy in bulk, and the 12-ounce bottle comes as a single or in packs of two or three."

Best Organic: Seven Minerals Organic Aloe Vera Gel at Amazon

"In addition to being 99 percent aloe vera gel, it uses a natural ingredient as a thickener."

Best Natural: Bloomscape Hedgehog Aloe Plant at Bloomscape

"Go right to the source with this natural aloe plant."

Best for Acne: Badger Unscented Aloe Vera Gel at Vita Cost

"This aloe vera gel is simple and doesn't include ingredients that might cause someone to break out."

Best for Sensitive Skin: Green Leaf Naturals Aloe Vera Gel at Green Leaf Naturals

"It leaves no sticky residue and is okay for all skin types."

Best for Face: Holika Holika Aloe Soothing Gel at Amazon

"It absorbs into the skin fast and does not leave behind a sticky residue."

Best for Sunburns: COOLA ER+ Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion at Walmart

"To the product's base of organic agave and aloe vera, Coola adds antioxidant and vitamin-rich enhancements."

Best Moisturizing: Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion at Ulta

"This one keeps skin from drying out because it has cottonseed oil, cocoa butter, and jojoba oil."

Best Drugstore: Jason Aloe Vera Gel at Amazon

"A budget-friendly drugstore option from a time-tested brand that's been around for more than six decades."

Best Overall: Sun Bum Cool Down Gel

Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Gel

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Tea tree oil soothes skin

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Not sticky

What We Don't Like
  • Aloe isn't main ingredient

Sun Bum’s Cool Down Gel is an ideal all-around pick: it’s reasonably budget-friendly, alcohol-free, and super moisturizing. The vitamin E-enriched gel is excellent for easing the pain of a sunburn and preventing peeling. You get healing tea tree oil in addition to the aloe. Fans also love this amazing product to relieve other everyday gripes like insect bites and dark under-eye circles.

Price at time of publish: $10

Best Budget: Fruit Of The Earth Aloe Vera Gel

Fruit Of The Earth Aloe Vera Gel

Courtesy of Walgreens

What We Like
  • No alcohol

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Bottle cap can break easily

  • Not 100 percent aloe vera

This well-loved product gets five-star reviews for performance—but it's budget-friendly enough to buy in bulk. (In fact, you'll get 12 ounces of aloe vera gel for just $4) This non-oily gel advertises itself as 100 percent gel, without alcohol or added fragrance, but aloe vera isn't the only ingredient on the product label. It also uses some surfactants and preservatives, but aloe is the first and main ingredient. Like other aloe vera products, this Fruit of the Earth gel creates a protective barrier to keep skin moisturized without leaving behind any sticky residue.

Price at time of publish: $5

Best Organic: Seven Minerals Organic Aloe Vera Gel

Seven Minerals Aloe Vera Gel

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • 99 percent aloe vera

  • No sticky residue

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • A few reviewers developed rashes

Jill Canes, nurse practitioner and the founder of Face Forward Medical Aesthetics, recommends Seven Minerals Aloe Vera Gel, and she's far from alone: this is the number one bestseller in the category with close to 40,000 nearly perfect reviews. "In addition to 99 percent aloe vera gel, it uses a natural ingredient as a thickener—seaweed extract," she says. "It's easily absorbed into the skin and does not leave a sticky residue." It's grown in Texas and harvested from freshly cut aloe leaves, not powder, so it's one of the purest and strongest available. Some reviewers did experience an allergic reaction, so be sure to do a patch test when using this for the first time.

Price at time of publish: $25

Best Natural: Bloomscape Hedgehog Aloe Plant

Bloomscape Hedgehog Aloe Plant

Courtesy of Bloomscape

What We Like
  • Purest form of aloe vera

  • Can use as much as you need

  • Comes with decorative pot

What We Don't Like
  • Requires upkeep

  • Can't be used on the go

We’re not being cheeky here, but it’s the truth: there’s no more pure aloe vera option than the clear gel substance taken right from the plant itself, and we heard the experts recommend this route over and over. Dr. Wazir said, “It is best to use natural aloe vera gel from the leaf of an aloe vera plant.” Dr. Boakye agrees, “To be honest, my motto is to go right to the source and to use less processed products. I would purchase the plant and use the gel.” So consider purchasing a live plant and extract your own natural gel when needed.

Price at time of publish: $39

Best for Acne: Badger Unscented Aloe Vera Gel

https://www.vitacost.com/badger-unscented-fair-trade-certified-aloe-vera-gel?

Courtesy of VitaCost

What We Like
  • Organic and fair trade certified

  • Fragrance-free

What We Don't Like
  • Less aloe vera than other options

This affordable gel contains 96 percent aloe. "This one is simple and doesn't include ingredients that might break someone out," Dr. Sarkar says. "It's also unscented, so it's less likely to cause irritation for those who are sensitive to fragrance. Like all aloe vera gels, I recommend putting this in the fridge, so you can put it on cold, so it's even more soothing."

Price at time of publish: $7

Best for Sensitive Skin: Green Leaf Naturals Aloe Vera Gel

Green Leaf Naturals Aloe Vera Gel

Courtesy of Green Leaf Naturals

Things We Like
  • Can use on pets

  • Almost 100 percent aloe vera

Things We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Some reviewers note an odd smell

Use this thin aloe vera gel formula for the face, body—even hair. It leaves no sticky residue and is okay for all skin types. And since it doesn't contain latex, it's safe for pets, too. "The Green Leaf Naturals Aloe Vera Gel has 99.75 percent aloe vera gel and is free of chemicals or thickeners," Canes explains. "It's very lightweight and gets absorbed by the skin quickly."

Price at time of publish: $18

Best for Face: Holika Holika Aloe Soothing Gel

Holika Holika Aloe 99% Soothing Gel

Courtesy of Ulta

Things We Like
  • Uses variety of plant extracts

  • Affordable price

Things We Don't Like
  • Has fragrance

This fan-favorite product has many desirable features: it's affordably priced, 99 percent pure aloe, and a great head-to-toe option that works equally well for the face and body. "Oily/combo skin here [and] this is the first moisturizer I've used that didn't make my skin more oily or cause a breakout," one reviewer notes. "I use it morning and night after washing my face. It's been perfect for moisturizing and also any time my skin feels irritated." The gel isn't organic and does have a fragrance, but it is free from chemicals such as parabens, mineral oil, propylene glycol, alcohols, and artificial colors. It also contains natural plant extracts like watermelon, bamboo, corn, and cucumber.

Price at time of publish: $10

Best for Sunburns: COOLA ER+ Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion

COOLA ER+ Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Added extracts and oils help soothe skin

  • Very moisturizing

  • Absorbs quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

For sunburn and any other dryness or redness, fans love this ultra-moisturizing lotion made with organic aloe vera and lavender oil. To the product’s base of organic agave and aloe vera, Coola adds antioxidant and vitamin-rich enhancements, including rosemary extract, lavender oil, sunflower oil, mandarin peel, and cedarwood. It contains no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

Price at time of publish: $28

Best Moisturizing: Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion

Sun Bum Cool Down Hydrating After Sun Lotion

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Hydrating and moisturizing

  • Good for dry skin

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't prevent peeling in all cases

  • Can aggravate acne

Sun Bum's after-sun lotion is made with aloe and vitamin E for serious hydration in a non-greasy formula that absorbs easily. It's also alcohol-free so it's nondrying. "This one keeps the skin from drying out because it has cottonseed oil, cocoa butter, and jojoba oil," Dr. Sarkar says. "I wouldn't use it in acne-prone areas or the first few days of a sunburn, but for patients without a predisposition to acne and prone to dryness, this is a good choice."

Price at time of publish: $14

Best Drugstore: Jason Aloe Vera Gel

Jason Aloe Vera Gel

Courtesy of Walmart

What We Like
  • Small size is good for travel

  • Not greasy or sticky


What We Don't Like
  • Uses menthol which can cause irritation

Reviewers love this budget-friendly drugstore option from a time-tested brand that's been around for over six decades. Fans say it is non-greasy and absorbs quickly. The 98 percent aloe product comes in a 4-ounce tube. "This one is primarily aloe vera gel, and it's not sticky but still soothing on the skin," Dr. Sarkar notes. "It contains allantoin, panthenol, and glycerin to help rehydrate your skin."

Price at time of publish: $9

What to Look for in Aloe Vera Gel

Order of Ingredients

First and foremost, dermatologists recommend looking at the ingredient list in an aloe vera gel. This may sound obvious, but make sure the first ingredient is indeed aloe vera gel. "Ingredients are usually listed in order of concentration, so you want to make sure you're getting a high percentage of aloe vera," Canes advises.

Added Ingredients

Scan the ingredient list for alcohol, which Dr. Wazir doesn’t recommend because it dries out the skin. Further, she suggests searching the list for added fragrances and “avoid buying gels with synthetic fragrances,” which may contain parabens and phthalates.

Aloe Vera Percentage

Canes recommends that aloe vera gel products contain more than 70 percent gel. “There’s no such thing as 100 percent aloe vera gel because it does require some additional ingredients to maintain its shelf life, but the higher, the better to ensure there are no other additives,” Canes says.

Color

Ideally, Canes recommends you’ll choose an aloe vera gel that is clear. “Often, colored or bright green aloe vera gel contains many other additives to give it its color and fragrance,” she says. Dr. Wazir echoes the sentiment. “Aloe vera gel with a bright green color contains artificial colors,” she says. “Pure aloe vera gel is transparent.” So a good rule of thumb is the clearer, the purer.

Shelf Life

Dr. Wazir also suggests looking for a product with shorter shelf life. While that might sound counterintuitive, she explains, “Shorter shelf life means a purer product.”

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How often should you apply aloe vera?

    For sunburn, Canes recommends applying aloe vera gel at least twice daily. Wazir recommends a slightly different usage protocol for other skin concerns: apply it to the “affected area of the skin [such as] acne, eczema, or sunburn after cleansing it,” she says. “It can also be applied to the whole face and neck before bed.”

  • How should aloe vera be stored?

    You can store aloe vera gel at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Storing aloe vera gel in the fridge will make it feel extra cooling when it hits sunburned skin.

  • Can you use aloe if you have sensitive skin?

    Probably. But if you're unsure," do a patch test before you apply aloe vera to your sunburn to make sure you don't have any adverse reactions to the gel," Canes advises.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Alesandra Dubin has fair skin and enjoys extended time in the sun at home in Los Angeles and during her frequent travels—and occasionally overdoes it. She’s also especially prone to intense reactions to bug bites, which contributes to her further experience with aloe vera gel over many years of experimentation.

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