England had a brief spell of summer in the last week and, unexpectedly, I found myself at the seaside all day. I had forgotten to pack any hyposensitive sun cream - after all there was little reason to believe we would have unbroken sunshine.
I popped into the beach shop and scanned the ingredients of a limited range of sun tan lotions. Carrot seemed possible - except I have no wish to sprout orange skin. They had an Aloha! oil made from aloe vera and promising Factor 15 protection. Apart from aloe there seemed nothing in the ingredients to cause problems and I reasoned an oil would be purer than a cream. I had studied a Nivea children's cream, which explicitly contained salicylate for some reason.
Now I have always avoided aloe. It doesn't appear on lists because you don't eat it but I tend to assume any unknown vegetable matter is risky. Without having a chance to check anything, I hoped it was made from a flower rather than anything else. I have now checked and that doesn't seem to be the case.
So does anybody know whether aloe contains salicylate?
Possibly not. I followed the instructions and applied it liberally throughout the day. There was no hives but when my knees reddened I could not be sure whether it was the cream or the sun.
Sometimes a gamble pays off. No sunburn and no discernible reactions, apart from a slight runny nose for the last couple of days - but that could be triggered by several factors.
Now I can look forward to the rest of the summer. Aloha!