Is the gooey green ooze that seeps out of a succulent plant the fountain of youth? Everybody knows Aloe is great for treating skin ailments. But it turns out aloe vera for hair growth might work … there’s even some research that says so.
Anybody who has been to Cancun for spring break knows what a life-saver aloe is. The gel-like juice from this succulent that grows in the tropics and sub-tropic deserts helps soothe nasty sunburns.
It’s also great for nicks, cuts, scrapes and wounds. (This study explains why it’s so effective for repairing skin tissue. Well, at least on rodents.)
Aloe vera juice has also become quite popular for digestion. In fact, some people swear by it for ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other chronic conditions.
(Make sure if you drink aloe vera juice it’s from the “fillet” of the leaf. The fillet is the inner part of the aloe plant. The outer leaf contains harmful compounds designed to keep insects from eating the hardy plant.)
But can aloe vera juice help regrow or thicken dull hair?
The answer: it just might. You see, because of the same reason it can help skin tissue repair, aloe vera for hair growth seems to have some validity. There’s even a little research proving so.
More on this a bit later.
First though, let’s get to know aloe a little better….
Aloe Vera Health Benefits
A tropical cactus in the lily family, aloe is one of those rare natural substances that has been studied extensively. Research shows that aloe is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent premature aging and disease.
In addition, aloe can help prevent tumors from developing. It’s also effective for fighting inflammation. [SOURCE]
Aloe vera can also kill harmful bacteria. It does so by rupturing the cell walls of pathogenic bacteria. In research studies, aloe has been shown to kill harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Salmonella typhi.
Aloe is also well-known for lowering blood sugar. If you have chronic high blood sugar, drinking aloe vera juice can help manage type 2 diabetes.
Studies show it also helps heal ulcers and protects the liver.
Dentists recommend aloe to help prevent or fight gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Mouth wash containing aloe led to significant reduction of plaque and gingivitis in this study.
For these reasons, some natural health proponents recommend drinking aloe vera juice to build health internally.
What’s in Aloe Vera Juice?
Let’s get something out of the way first. The reason why aloe is so good at killing bad germs has nothing to do with tequila. Some people think that tequila comes from aloe. In fact, tequila is made from the agave plant. The aloe and agave plants look kind of the same but they are not related.
But who knows … slamming a shot of aloe vera juice in the morning and a shot of tequila at night may help keep the doctor away….
Anyways, the real reason why aloe is so healthy is because it is rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and enzymes.
(This research says aloe’s constituents “appear to be of biological importance in curing diseases.” In fact, some substances in aloe, namely emodin, aloin, and anthracene, play key roles in cancer prevention.)
Here’s a fun fact about aloe vera juice: although it’s not a protein-rich food, it provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.
Good For Skin, Good For Hair
Something called “salicylic acid” is the compound in aloe that’s thought to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It turns out that salicylic acid is also a powerful pimple killer. And what makes it so lethal to acne is it’s able to penetrate deeply into skin pores.
This may be one reason why aloe vera juice for hair growth works.
Lignins, which flax oil is rich in, also helps aloe penetrate deep into the skin. Saponins are the soapy substances that have deep-cleansing and antiseptic properties. [SOURCE]
But the ultimate reason why aloe might be good for your hair is it has significant anti-aging effects. One reason why is it helps produce collagen and elastin fibers. These fibers make the skin more elastic and less wrinkled. Both collagen and elastin are the primary types of proteins in your skin and hair.
Thus, if aloe can help strengthen the fibers that make up collagen and elastin protein, it may help regrow hair.
Is Aloe Vera Good For Dry Hair?
This is debatable but it seems like more people complain about having dry, dull strands of hair rather than hair that has too much luster. If your hair is dry, give aloe a try. It has a deep-penetrating moisturizing effect.
This study shows that aloe helps in binding moisture into the skin. And remember, your scalp is a big piece of skin. If your scalp is dry, it needs some deep-penetrating moisture.
Aloe may regenerate hair growth because it stimulates fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are cells that make collagen and elastin.
Not only does aloe moisturize the scalp and hair follicles, it also softens hair. That should be good news to you if you shower with hard water.
Moreover, the zinc, which is a mineral, in aloe, helps tighten pores. Many people associate pores with just the face. But remember, your scalp is no different than the rest of your skin, it’s dotted with pores, too.
If you suffer from red bumps on your scalp, aloe vera helps repair blood vessels.
Aloe Vera for Itchy Scalp
Move over tea tree oil. You’re not the only remedy that’s good for an itchy scalp.
One study suggests treating hair with aloe vera significantly reduces a condition called seborrheic dermatitis. This condition causes an itchy, scaly scalp. It can also lead to hair loss. Therefore, it’s possible that for people with this condition, aloe can help regrow hair.
It’s a known fact that nutrition plays a key role in hair health. Nutritional deficiencies can result in hair loss. One theory as to why aloe may help with hair is how nutrient dense this plant is. It’s got over 75 active ingredients, including hair-growth all-star vitamins, A, C, E, and B12.
These nutrients stimulate blood circulation and deliver nourish hair follicles.
How to use aloe vera gel for hair
So is it enough to drink some aloe vera juice? Is that all it takes to benefit your hair? Maybe. Maybe not? But to increase your chances of aloe working for you, rub some directly on your scalp.
You can buy an aloe plant (or grow your own) and simply make a cut into one of the spiky leaves. Collect the gooey gel with a spoon. Then, rub the gel directly into your scalp. Let it sit for a while. The longer the better. Aim for at least an hour. To wash it out, don’t use a commercial shampoo. Instead, use an all-natural, organic mild-cleansing shampoo.
How often should you apply aloe to your hair? It’s tough to say exactly. Every body (and head) is different. But if you try this method at least a couple times a week for a few months, you may notice some positive outcomes.
Like all other natural hair remedies, don’t expect overnight miracles.
Aloe Vera Hair Oil
Some people who use aloe for hair blend it with a carrier oil like coconut, almond or olive oil. In fact, if you see a commercial product with aloe for hair, chances are it will also include coconut oil.
And unless you’re been living in a beauty bubble, you probably know that coconut oil is also good for hair.
Aloe Vera for Hair Mask
If you’re hair looks like hay, you need an ultimate deep conditioning hair mask treatment. A regular conditioner won’t do the trick.
Unlike taking a shower and letting a regular conditioner sit in your hair for a few minutes, a hair mask is meant to be left in for a long time. In fact, a lot of people use a hair mask overnight (using a shower cap to prevent the oils from staining the bedding).
In addition to coconut oil, you can combine aloe with other deep-penetrating oils such as jojoba and marula.
Aloe vera for hair growth reviews
There are several commercial products with aloe. Out of the thousands of reviews, here’s just one of them for an aloe shampoo:
“It has helped strengthen my hair and make it very soft. I’m going to wait a while longer to see how fast it grows….”
Another review offers anecdotal proof that aloe vera for hair growth works … in cats:
“This product was recommended for my cat’s dermatitis. It worked like gold! Her skin is healed and her hair is growing back and oh so silky!”
Is aloe the cat’s meow for hair growth? Well, that’s something you’ll have to judge for yourself….
About the author: Judd Handler is a graduate of the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program and a certified Metabolic Typing adviser.