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Skin care line takes aloe's healing powers one step further [The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) :: BC-HEALTH-ALOE-SKINCARE:RA]

Several years ago, Hillsborough resident Pat Criscito and her sister made a life-changing discovery at an alternative health conference. Criscito's sister had long suffered with a painful chronic bladder disorder, and she found relief in a sample of aloe vera caplets she picked up at the event.

But the capsules weren't strong enough to provide more than a little relief. That's when Criscito had an idea to develop a super-concentrated aloe extract. She and her husband hired a chemist to help, and they launched Desert Harvest soon after. The Hillsborough-based company produces and sells aloe supplements and a line of skincare products made with their concentrated aloe formula.

"We already had our Desert Harvest super-strength aloe vera capsules for internal use, and customers kept asking us to turn our specially concentrated aloe vera into a topical product for the skin," says Heather Florio, COO of Desert Harvest.

The body care line includes lotions, shampoo, shower gel and even an acne gel. While many have used aloe to heal a sunburn, Florio says their products take that natural soothing power a step further.

"We use a patented process starting with the whole leaf - not just the inner gel - that retains that max amount of nutrients in the aloe plant, while removing 100 percent of the water, insoluble fiber and the caustic latex chemicals that are inherent in the aloe plant," Florio said. "This maximizes the anti-inflammatory, analgesic and healing potential of aloe vera on the skin."

The company sells its products on its website, desertharvest.com. As it develops the line, Desert Harvest is rolling out new products, including a topical gel made with its aloe concentrate and lidocaine for use by cancer patients receiving radiation treatments. The company has other more medicinal skincare products in the works, as well, bringing Desert Harvest full circle to its pain-relieving beginning.

Macy's Goes Red

February is American Heart Month, and Macy's marks the occasion and the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women campaign with the Wear Red and Give event. Through Feb. 5, shoppers who wear red or purchase a $3 Red Dress pin will receive discounts in the store. All pin sales benefit the American Heart Association.

The store also will offer several Go Red for Women pieces, including a T-shirt and two red dresses, with a portion of proceeds benefiting Go Red, which works to end heart disease and stroke in women. For more info, visit macys.com.

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