We’ve heard beauty and wellness experts say that a green juice a day keeps aging skin away, but a new trend takes it to another level: drinking aloe juice. Not the gooey gel savior of sunburns, but a clear, slightly sour juice derived from the aloe plant (sounds appetizing, right?). Everyone from Goop founder (and pied piper of strange beauty rituals) Gwyneth Paltrow to naturopathic doctors are talking about its skin-improving benefits.
Though no one juice—or food, for that matter—can single-handedly change your skin, there may be some sound scientific basis for the juice’s newfound following. It’s packed with vitamins, including B, C, and vitamin E, as well as folic acid, which fortify the body’s immune system, the health of which is often reflected in the skin, says Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, and author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet.
“If you have a tendency toward dry skin or other skin issues including psoriasis, you can help promote healing from the inside out by choosing foods that are anti-inflammatory, like aloe juice,” she says. Plus, it’s also rich in antioxidants, which help protect cells against skin-damaging free radicals in the environment (think sun, smog, and other pollutants your skin is battling on a daily basis).
But before you chug a gallon of the stuff, know this: Though its nutritional stats are impressive, there isn’t any research backing the claim that aloe juice can improve the look of your skin.
“It probably doesn’t directly affect your skin, but anything that improves your overall health could potentially improve your appearance,” says Rebecca Kazin, MD, of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. However, stay off the juice if you’re taking medications for digestive issues, a blood disorder, or diabetes, as aloe can have mild laxative and blood-thinning effects, and can cause a drop in blood sugar in diabetics with already low levels.