You may be familiar with this interesting-looking spiky succulent from cultivating your garden, or maybe even in its bottled form as a way to soothe a painful sunburn.
Aloe vera is well known for its soothing and wound healing benefits, probably largely due to its impressive scope of fatty acids, minerals, amino acids, vitamins A, B12, C & E, collagen production boosting abilities, and anti-inflammatory effects. But, do any of these benefits lend themselves to making your hair grow faster, stronger, or thicker? Let’s find out.
Below, we will cover the potential benefits of aloe vera on hair growth and health specifically, review any possible downsides to slathering the stuff on your scalp, and outline the steps you may want to take if you are going to test out some aloe vera gel on your head.
The best-documented benefits of aloe vera as far as scalp and hair health goes has to do with inflammatory scalp issues like seborrheic dermatitis. Seborrheic dermatitis is a scalp and sometimes face skin disorder where the skin becomes scaly, itchy, red, inflamed, and flaky -- dandruff or cradle cap are common presentations of seborrheic dermatitis.
One study had 44 adults apply either aloe vera gel or a placebo to their seborrheic dermatitis and then reviewed if there was a benefit. The aloe vera group displayed significantly better improvements in scaliness, itchiness, and the number of sites involved, although the skin redness was not improved over placebo in this study.
So, you may see benefits from applying aloe vera gel to inflammatory scalp disorders. And, if these scalp disorders have become bad enough to slow your hair growth or reduce the health of your hair, correcting the underlying issue may provide you with moderate hair health benefits.
Aloe vera is packed with nutrients that may help contribute to overall scalp and hair follicle health, it has also been reported to help with breaking down extra scalp oils to lend a hand for those dealing with oily hair, and may even help protect your hair from UV light damage when applied as a gel to the strands.
However, the most common cause of hair loss is not dandruff or an oily scalp, it is androgenetic alopecia, also known as male pattern and female pattern hair loss. These hair loss situations are driven by your genetic makeup and your hormones, and it is unlikely to be significantly affected by applying aloe vera. We do not currently have any studies proving that aloe vera can help speed hair growth or reverse hair loss from androgenetic alopecia.
There are likely little to no downsides of trying out an aloe vera mask on your scalp, as long as you do not have an allergy to the plant or its gel.
As with anything new that you want to try out topically, it is wise to do a small patch test on the inside of your wrist. Apply a little bit of the aloe vera gel and then check the skin in the next few hours or the next day to make sure there is no redness, bumps, itchiness, or irritation that could signify a reaction.
Some people may also have side effects from ingesting too much aloe by mouth including abdominal cramps, GI upset, or kidney problems. So, if you do want to try this out, stick with applying the gel over eating it.
Also, if you are currently using a steroid cream on the area like hydrocortisone, avoid using this along with aloe vera as it may cause more medication to be absorbed by the skin.
Find a plant or leaf, and carefully slice the leaf lengthwise exposing the clear gel substance. Scoop it out and apply it to your scalp and/or hair as a mask for 30 minutes to 1 hour before washing off with a gentle shampoo and going about your usual hair care routine.
Alternately, you can usually find aloe vera gel at most grocery or drug stores. Try to use a product that lists 100% aloe vera gel to avoid ingredients like drying alcohol, unnecessary fillers, or colorings.
Aloe vera has many documented benefits for wound healing and providing generally soothing support for skin issues. However, as far as hair growth goes, the data is severely lacking.
If you are dealing with dandruff, scalp irritation, or too much grease in your hair, you may find some benefits from an aloe vera scalp mask. But, if you are dealing with patterned hair loss, it is unlikely that an aloe vera scalp mask is the answer.
That being said, aloe vera is easy to find, easy to use, soothing, and is unlikely to cause any issues from using it topically (unless you are allergic).
If you are curious, pick yourself up a new aloe vera house plant, and give it a try.
Here at Strut, we offer prescription medications that have been studied to help preserve your hair if you are dealing with androgenetic alopecia.
We carry topical and oral treatments for men, and a topical treatment for women. By utilizing ingredients like Finasteride, Dutasteride, Minoxidil, Tretinoin, Spironolactone, and Biotin, you may be able to slow the progression of patterned hair loss, and some may even experience some level of improved growth.
If you are interested in seeing if a prescription hair loss treatment is a good option for you, you can have a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors today.
If you are a good candidate for treatment, your medication can be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.