What is Aloe Vera?
Aloe Vera is a succulent plant renowned the world over for its medicinal and healing properties. It is actually one of the oldest plants known to man for its medical abilities and amazing benefits, be it in weight loss or healing wounds. It is because of this that most people wonder, does aloe vera help hair? The answer, according to WebMD, is yes, aloe Vera does have benefits when it comes to hair.
History of aloe Vera and hair
Aloe Vera, as mentioned earlier, is one of the most distinguished herbal medicines in the world, and it has been so for millennia. In fact, the earliest mention of aloe Vera’s curative effects dates back to 2100 BC, which is pretty far back.
The plant mainly grows in tropical and sub-tropical areas but is able to survive anywhere. This is one of the reasons that have led many people to use it, because of its ability and availability.
Even though it has been around for many years, it is only recently that scientists have begun to discover its abilities when it comes to hair and hair growth. The aloe vera plant, all parts included, can and are used to create hair remedies, and to create products that improve the quality of hair.
This is because aloe vera is packed with a plethora of minerals and nutrients that not only boost the quality of hair you have but also make sure the said quality once acquired is maintained. Here are some of the benefits that come with the use of aloe vera.
Cleaning the hair
Aloe vera has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties, and it is able to make sure that your hair is always clean and therefore healthy.
Calming itchiness on the scalp
Haircare not only entails taking care of the hair but also making sure that the skin, the scalp, is taken care of and maintained as well. Chances are you may have heard of dandruff, or may even have had it at a certain point in time. The medical term for dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis.
Some of the symptoms of dandruff are an itchy scalp, with flaking skin under the hair. This is as a result of the scalp not being sufficiently moisturized, as well as bacteria and fungi taking a hold of the area.
A study that was conducted by the Journal of dermatological treatment in 1998 came to the conclusion that aloe vera does in fact help with scalp inflammation and other symptoms of dandruff. Moreover, it has been established that aloe vera does have antibacterial and antifungal properties, meaning that it is able to handle the fungi and bacteria that cause dandruff. Fatty acids that are present in aloe Vera have anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that they will be able to handle dandruff.
Helps in cleaning oily hair and scalp
Oily skin, as natural and good-looking as it may seem, can prove a bit tricky when it comes to cleaning. Sebum is an oily substance secreted by the skin to try and help both the hair and the scalp maintain moisture. However, there are cases when the scalp secretes excess sebum. Hormonal imbalance, genetic, and exercise can cause the scalp and thus the hair to have excess sebum, which makes the hair and scalp oily.
Aloe vera has the ability to clean the hair shaft effectively, by stripping away all the excess sebum and making sure that the entire residue hair product is also taken care of. Unlike other artificial hair products, aloe vera doesn’t harm the hair in any way. It doesn’t have any chemicals, and thus you can be assured that it will be gentle with both the hair and the scalp, and maintain its integrity. The end result is that you will have healthier, shinier, and softer-looking hair, which is something that everyone wants or should want to have.
It is able to strengthen and repair hair strands
Aloe vera has several benefits, some of which you have already seen. That being said, its ability to strengthen and repair the hair strands stands out amongst the rest. It has a litany of minerals and nutrients that work in tandem to achieve this.
Cell turnover is important in making sure that you have healthy-looking hair. Dead hair cells have to be gotten rid of in order for new cells to take their place. This is essentially what cell turnover is, and it is thus easy to see why it is so integral in hair health.
Aloe vera contains vitamins E, C, and A. ll the said vitamins proliferate cell turnover, meaning that you will always, provided you use aloe vera on a constant basis, have healthy cell growth and ergo healthy hair. Aloe vera also contains Vitamin B12 and folic acid. Both these components are essential in making sure that your hair doesn’t fall out, or break off regularly.
Its ability to strengthen hair comes from the fact that it has a chemical called keratin in its makeup. Keratin is a protein that is found in hair, and it helps in strengthening and moisturizing hair. Moreover, keratin is essential when it comes to repairing any damage caused to the hair.
All these nutrients and minerals synchronize to make sure that a strong moisture barrier is created. Aloe vera is actually 96 percent water, meaning that it will moisturize your hair, and the other components will create a moisture barrier, which is essential in keeping hair strands strong.
Its calming effect
Sunburn affects the most exposed parts of your body, such as your face, arms, and legs. As humans, we have hair on our heads to make sure that the sun doesn’t affect our heads. However, the hair only mitigates the sun’s heat and radiation, and at times, the scalp is damaged from excessive exposure.
In the same way that aloe vera treats sunburn; it is able to create a soothing effect on the scalp. This is mainly attributed to its moisture content. However, its antibacterial and antifungal properties also play a big part in this.
How should you use aloe vera?
One thing you should remember is that aloe vera comes in different forms. You can use the aloe vera gel itself, which is the gel that you get from the plant itself, and aloe vera-infused hair products. Both offer the same benefits, though you have to find out which you are most comfortable with.
There are a couple of ways through which you can use aloe vera. One is by creating an aloe hair mask, and the other one is by using aloe vera, or aloe vera infused hair products, like shampoos
The aloe hair mask
This is without a doubt the easiest way to use aloe vera on your hair. You can decide to get a ready-made aloe hair mask from your cosmetics dealer or create one of your own. The latter may like the more arduous option, but it is in fact not.
If you decide to create your own hair mask, all you have to do is apply the aloe vera hair gel from the plant itself directly onto your hair. If you are focusing on curing or preventing seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, then you have to pay specific attention to the scalp. Ensure that you spend a couple of minutes massaging the gel into your scalp.
Afterward, you should let the gel sit for between thirty minutes to a full hour. This will work much better if you have a shower cap. The heat from the scalp retained by the shower cap will help the aloe penetrate the scalp faster, and thus be more effective.
You can also try and adding coconut oil with the aloe vera gel when creating the mask. Coconut oil is able to mask dryness while also being able to control the scalp’s natural inclination to produce more oil once it is irritated. Furthermore, coconut oil is packed with a myriad of antifungal and antibacterial properties, hence offering you even more benefits.
You can also decide to get a ready-made aloe vera gel or hair mask. All you have to do is ensure that aloe vera is listed as an active ingredient in the list. Additionally, make sure that the hair product has as many natural ingredients as possible, and no parabens and sulfates. If you are shopping for aloe vera gel, then the only ingredient on the list should be aloe vera. That being said, whenever possible, makes sure that you get the gel directly from the plant.
Aloe vera as a shampoo
Aloe vera can also be used as a traditional shampoo. However, if you find that the aloe vera doesn’t leave your hair as clean as you’d want it, you can mix the gel in with your preferred shampoo in order to make it lather. You can also decide to use a conditioner instead of a shampoo, since aloe vera has natural moisturizing properties, and this is a very effective and efficient way to hydrate your hair.
The market is teeming with shampoos that have listed aloe vera as one of their active ingredients, and thus you can decide to get yourself one that you find works best for you. You should also, check other ingredients in the shampoo, and make sure that they are all-natural.
How often should you use aloe vera on your hair?
If you are using it as a hair mask, then you can use aloe vera once or twice a week. If you are using it as your shampoo, or are using a shampoo with aloe vera as an active ingredient, then you can use it at least twice or thrice a week.
It should be noted that the frequency, in either case, will depend on your type, and how frequently you wash your hair. You should not limit yourself. Find a schedule that you think works best for you.
Does it have any side effects?
Aloe vera is all-natural, and thus there are very few side effects that can be attached to it. It is generally considered to be a gentle ingredient that is safe to use even on sensitive skin. That being said, there are those that are allergic to aloe vera.
If you have never used it before, you should first ensure that you do not have an allergy. There is a very simple procedure to go about this. Simply apply a bit of aloe vera gel on the inside of your wrist, then wait for about two hours to see the reaction that that part of your body will have. If it reacts poorly, then you may have an aloe vera allergy, so get clarification from your doctor.
You should also be very careful with topical aloe vera if you are using hydrocortisone cream on any part of your skin. When the two are used together, aloe vera can increase the amount of cortisone that your skin absorbs, which isn’t a good thing.