Written by Salma Dawood, Nutritionist BSc
Aloe Vera is widely used for a variety of beauty products, as it provides a plethora of benefits. Not only is it heavily used in the beauty industry, Aloe Vera has been utilized for centuries in herbal medicine practices.
This nutritious plant contains:
- 20 minerals
- 18 different amino acids
- Vitamins A, B, C, and E
- over 200 phytonutrients that can benefit the entire body
But what exactly can aloe do for your hair? Aloe is quickly becoming the main ingredient in tons of shampoos, creams, conditioners and other hair products. Read on to find out why!
1) Promoting Hair Growth
If you suffer from temporary hair loss, or would like to encourage hair growth, using Aloe is an excellent and natural way to do so. Due to the abundance of vitamins and minerals in Aloe, it can deeply nourish the scalp and work as a potent hair stimulus in a variety of mechanisms.
Another key element that promotes hair growth is the abundance of proteolytic enzymes found in Aloe Vera. These enzymes work to remove dead skin cells from the scalp that may be clogging the hair follicle, allowing it to receive nutrients for growth and nourishment.
Aloe Vera is also an alkaline substance, which can balance out the pH of your scalp, optimizing the pH environment for hair growth! Hair does not grow if the scalp pH is too acidic.
Therefore, aloe provides excellent mechanisms for encouraging stronger and faster hair growth.
2) Relieves Scalp Itching
Due to the antipruritic properties in aloe, it can combat scalp itching and dryness. The main culprit of itching and dryness in the scalp is caused by the abundance of dead skin cells. This is also accelerated in individuals with psoriasis, which is an auto-immune disease categorized by the overproduction of skin cells.
As aloe contains enzymes that can break down dead skin cells, it can be an excellent treatment for itchy scalp or psoriasis. In fact, a study observed that 80% of individuals with psoriasis showed improvement in scalp health after using Aloe Vera!
3) Treats Dandruff
In order to eliminate dandruff, individuals may use commercial shampoos, often laden with harsh chemicals that can actually damage the scalp further. Instead, aloe is a natural and gentle way to help treat dandruff, without drying out the scalp or causing harsh reactions.
Not only can aloe combat psoriasis, it can also help fight dandruff buildup on the scalp. Dandruff is commonly experienced by both men and women, and is usually associated with an itchy and dry scalp. Essentially, dandruff is caused by the buildup of dead skin cells due to a variety of factors. (It is not to be confused with seborrheic dermatitis, which is a scalp condition that occurs due to increased sebum (oil) on the scalp.) Aloe’s proteolytic enzymes and anti-fungal properties can help alleviate dandruff buildup on the scalp.
4) Hair & Scalp Conditioning
As seen above, aloe can be used as a treatment to help eradicate scalp issues. However, it is also a wonderful & nourishing conditioning agent for your hair and scalp!
The gel-like texture of aloe shares a similar chemical composition to keratin, which is the protein found in hair. This makes it easier for the aloe to penetrate the hair follicle and shaft. Therefore, the hair receives the abundance of nourishing nutrients found in aloe, adding strength and shine to the hair, whilst locking-in moisture.
How can I use aloe in my hair routine
Aloe can be used in a multitude of ways:
Massage aloe gel for a couple of minutes into your scalp before shampooing your hair to get rid of excess dead skin cells. This will help remove dandruff, and open up the follicle to enhance the penetration of hair products.
Instead of using chemical-filled shampoos, switch to aloe for a natural alternative! It is great for moisturizing hair, without the added harsh chemicals that can irritate your scalp.
Hair needs an extra boost of nourishment? Dampen your hair, lather it in aloe and wrap your hair in a damp towel for 15 minutes. Wash your hair as you normally do, and enjoy the shiny and revitalized hair!
4) Define curls:
Have frizzy, undefined curls? Use a tiny drop of aloe vera gel on wet hair, and scrunch it up with your fingers. Let it air-dry, and watch the aloe bring some definition to those bouncy curls.
So, there you have it! Get creative with your aloe vera gel, and try out different hair mask recipes to suit your hair type. Rich in a dizzying array of nutrients, aloe is a tremendous addition to any hair routine.
Aloe Vera for Hair: Benefits
~ Written by Salma Dawood, Nutritionist BSc