The benefits associated with aloe vera for the hair link directly to the plant’s level of nutrition. Nutritional components in the plant moisturize the hair, remove dead skin cells, and encourage growth. If you feel that your hair lacks luster, or feels dry most of the time, you can revive it again by switching your hair conditioner and replacing it with aloe vera gel.
Research conducted at the University of Hawaii shows that aloe vera has been used for hair loss since ancient times, or since the period of the ancient Egyptians. That is because aloe vera contains enzyme compounds that encourage hair growth and health. The proteolytic enzymes in aloe vera remove dead skin cells from the scalp that clog the follicles. If follicles clog, it is difficult for the hair to receive the proper nutrients, all which can lead to hair loss and ultimately balding.
Aloe Vera’s Keratolytic Action Encourages Hair Growth
Happily, the keratolytic action in aloe vera breaks down the oil and gets rid of dead scalp cells, all which leads to healthy hair growth. The alkalizing properties of aloe vera also balance out the hair’s and scalp’s pH, so the hair will continue to grow and retain moisture and water.
When you use aloe vera, you can also take advantage of the gel’s antipruritic properties – qualities that alleviate scalp dryness and itching. Without aloe vera, psoriasis and eczema sufferers would not know what to do. For example, psoriasis represents an auto-immune skin disorder that results from an over-production of skin cells. The enzymatic of aloe vera, however, destroys the additional cells and conditions the scalp and hair.
Because the additional production of skin cells encourages the development of psoriasis, you can see why aloe can assist in eliminating this problem. Aloe also reduces the scalp redness, itching, and inflammation of psoriasis – another reason the gel improves hair and scalp health.
Organic Hair Coloring and Aloe
Some manufacturers of hair coloring products even add aloe vera to their formulas to prevent scalp irritation. For example, one hair lightening product, O&M Pearl Lightener, contains aloe vera. The product not only colors the hair, it is soothing on the scalp and hair. This product is free of ammonia, and includes kaolin clay to protect the hair color from fading.
Reducing Redness and Scalp Irritations with Aloe Vera
The historical use of aloe vera has centered on the goal of reducing redness and irritation, whether it be from a burn or because of a scalp or skin condition. The ingredients in the plant that soothe inflammation include an anti-inflammatory enzyme, bradykinase, and salicylic acid. These ingredients contain analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial qualities.
Malassezia and Dandruff
Because aloe vera gel works directly on the scalp – especially a dry scalp, it can reduce the incidence of dandruff. According to doctors, dandruff appears when Malassezia, a fat-consuming fungus, lives on the scalp. Besides its ability to break down dead skin cells, aloe vera contains anti-fungal components. While fungi thrive in an acidic environment, they cannot thrive when aloe vera and its alkalizing qualities are employed.
Therefore, if you do not want the fungus associated with dandruff to thrive, you need to use a product that contains aloe vera, or use the gel by itself. The properties used for conditioning are equally satisfying. The gel from the Aloe barbadensis leaf features a chemical composition similar to that of the hair protein, keratin. When this structure exists, it is easier for strands of hair to absorb nutrients.
Lignins Increase Absorption
This type of absorption can also be credited to the lignins contained in aloe. Lignins make up the primary structural material of the plant’s cellulose-type contents. Because of the lignins, the skin can absorb aloe vera’s nutrition up to seven layers deep.
A Better to Solution to Scalp Health
Because the scalp is much more absorbent than the skin, aloe can seemingly perform miracles when it comes to treating the and conditioning the hair and scalp. The 20 amino acids or building blocks in aloe (all essential to health) increase the hair’s strength, luster, and sheen.
A Quick Summary of the Scalp and Hair Conditioning Benefits
Quickly summarized, aloe vera can benefit the scalp and hair as follows:
- The gel relieves scalp itching.
- Redness and inflammation are greatly reduced when aloe vera is used.
- Aloe’s properties increase the hair luster and strength.
- Aloe promotes alkalinity or acidity, which is better for the skin and hair. Therefore, the gel balances the hair and scalp’s natural pH.
- Aloe vera heals scalp conditions resulting from seborrhea or psoriasis.
- Aloe’s nutrients can easily be absorbed by the hair and scalp for maximum nutrition and health.
- The anti-fungal properties of aloe reduce problems with dandruff.
- The gel hydrates the hair because it retains moisture and water.
Creating an At-home Mask for the Hair and Scalp
You can enjoy these benefits yourself by making an aloe vera hair mask. What is great about this mask is that you only need to use the gel, directly from the aloe vera leaf. However, if you want to boost the effect, you can use the gel along with the following ingredients:
What you will need:
- 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel
- 5 drops of ylang ylang essential oil (an oil that stimulates hair growth and conveys a pleasant floral scent)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (used to enhance softness and shine)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (add this ingredient if your hair is dry
Add all the ingredients in a bowl and apply the concoction to your hair and scalp. Massage the gel and ingredients with the fingers for better absorption. Allow the mask to sit on your hair and scalp from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the condition. If your hair tends to be oilier, you will need to find an aloe shampoo to wash your hair.
How to Extract the Gel for the Mask
To use the mask with or without the ingredients, cut an outer leaf from a mature plant. Set aside the leaf for a few minutes. Doing so will drain the yellow resin off the plant, which can be harmful if used. Thoroughly wash off the leaf and make sure none of the yellow residue, known as latex. remains. Slice away the prickly edge of the leaf with a sharp knife. Peel the skin from the leaf’s flat side before scooping the clear gel with a spoon.
Another Hair Mask to Try
You can also create a mask by mixing two tablespoons of aloe vera with 1 tablespoon honey, a couple egg whites, and one teaspoon of jojoba oil. Add a very small of fenugreek, if desired. Mix the ingredients and apply to the hair and scalp, massaging the scalp. Wear a shower cap, leaving on the mixture from 15 minutes or one hour.
According to researchers, one of the claimed and proven benefits of aloe vera is for the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis or SD causes a pink-red rash and yellow-white scales to develop on the skin. The rash and scales may appear swollen or oily. When an infant develops the condition on his or her scalp, it is called cradle cap.
Preventing Cradle Cap
One study found that treating cradle crap or seborrheic dermatitis with aloe vera results in less scaliness and itchiness. The condition, in some instances, can lead to hair loss – something that aloe vera can prevent.
Also, experts have found that aloe vera lends significantly to scalp health – important for growing hair. Researchers suggest that aloe’s benefits for the hair may be due, to some degree, to the gel’s ability to increase blood flow and therefore deliver additional nutrition and oxygen to hair follicles.
Rare Reactions to Aloe
When aloe vera is used for the hair, any external side effects have not been noted. However, in certain situations, the following can occur:
- An allergic reaction may occur in those people who are also allergic to onions, tulips, or garlic.
- Contact dermatitis or a skin rash may develop if aloe vera is used by extremely sensitive individuals.
- Phototoxicity, which is a skin irritation that looks like a sunburn, may develop.
While the above side effects are rare, they may happen when aloe vera is used by extremely sensitive individuals.
A Great Way to Rejuvenate and Condition Dry Hair
While aloe can be used on various kinds of hair, it works exceptionally well when applied to very dry hair. The characteristics of a person’s hair, such as degree of curl, porosity, texture, and density will reveal how hair reacts to a product. With its optimum mix of minerals, vitamins, and moisture, aloe vera is well-suited, as indicated, for hair considered dry.
A Quick Review on Using the Gel
If you want to use aloe vera on your hair, you can apply it in one of several ways. To apply fresh aloe to the scalp, the best way to do so, on a regular basis, is the do the following:
- Cut a leaf off a plant.
- Use a spoon to collect the clear gel (make sure that any yellow latex, also part of the plant, is cleaned off, as it can be harmful).
- Rub the gel into the scalp
- Let the gel sit for about an hour
- Repeat two to three times per week, when needed
Perform a Quick Check on Your Wrist
To make sure you do not have any problems with sensitivity, rub a small portion of the fresh gel on your wrist first to see if you have an allergic reaction, or a rash appears. You normally will not experience this problem. However, it never hurts to check.
Improve Scalp Health and Improve the Looks of Your Hair
Aloe vera gel eliminates scalp conditions, and gets rid of scalp problems, such as psoriasis. It can also be used to prevent hair loss and rejuvenate the condition of the hair. Use the gel alone or with other ingredients as a mask.
Apply Aloe Externally or Drink the Juice for Beautiful and Healthy Hair
You can make an aloe vera mask at home to soften and condition the hair and promote growth. Because of the wide array of nutritional components in the plant, you can encourage hair growth by applying the gel externally to the scalp and hair, or by drinking the liquid. Add the juice to a smoothie, and include fruits, such as mangos or bananas, or drink the juice with fresh squeezed citrus, such as grapefruit or lemon. Sweeten a lemon and aloe vera drink with honey.
Grow Aloe and Grow Your Hair as Well
If you grow aloe vera at home, or live in the Southwest where the plant flourishes, you can directly use the gel on your hair and scalp for cleansing and conditioning. If you shop for aloe in the store, make sure the product is 100% natural.
Choose Organic Hair Care over Commercial Products
Many products, such as organic hair coloring, use aloe in their formulas. When shopping for hair care products, short-list your choices to those containing natural ingredients – formulas that include aloe as a primary ingredient. Aloe vera gel is the ideal substance to use on the scalp and hair. Whether you use it directly from the plant, or buy a natural haircare product that features the substance, you can experience healthier and more beautiful hair, and prevent hair loss or dryness.