What Are the Benefits of Using Aloe Vera on Your Hair?
We usually take great care of our appearance to improve our self-confidence. Some people focus on working out to develop muscles, while others prefer wearing designer clothing to accentuate their looks. While some things are external and require material tools, others are a part of our biology that can be altered by genetics and care routines.
Unfortunately, the latter aspect of our appearance is prone to issues that impact certain body parts and diminish our appearance and, more importantly, our health. One thing that concerns people regarding health and appearance is hair, which is known to deteriorate as we age. Hair loss is such a common issue that an entire industry spawned around fighting it.
Several factors contribute to hair problems, including genetics inherited from our parents. The problem with the hair care industry is finding an effective product that lacks harmful ingredients is difficult. Most pharmaceutical-grade tools contain extra chemicals that can do more harm than good. This has caused some people to turn away from mainstream products in favor of natural alternatives promoting hair health without chemicals.
One of the most common tools is aloe vera, which has a storied history in holistic medicine, making it a popular product. The question we need to ask is: what benefits does aloe vera provide to hair?
It Protects and Heals the Scalp
Despite its primary use to treat sunburns, aloe vera offers a wide range of benefits that can improve the health of multiple body regions. However, aloe vera's capacity to treat sunburns makes it a powerful tool for scalp care and promotes hair health. Our hair can only grow when our scalp is healthy and the follicles have room to grow new strands. Unfortunately, a few conditions can prevent the scalp from growing hair and cause other health problems if left untreated.
One of the most common examples of scalp problems is seborrheic dermatitis, colloquially known as dandruff. While many people discount dandruff as an embarrassing condition, it can cause serious issues the longer it goes untreated.
Dandruff results from excessively dry skin that noticeably peels, clogs pores, and sheds from the scalp. The biggest issue with seborrheic dermatitis is that physicians cannot agree on why it manifests. The most information we have is a series of risk factors that increase your chance of developing dandruff.
The key symptom is usually inflammation, regardless of why you developed seborrheic dermatitis. Inflammation irritates the scalp, compels you to scratch your already fragile skin, and causes further damage to your scalp. Among these symptoms are hair loss and inhibited hair growth, which can adversely affect your appearance and self-esteem.
This is where aloe vera comes into play. One of the main reasons aloe vera is effective for treating sunburns is that it is a natural anti-inflammatory substance. Applying it to the sunburn reduces the inflammation and soothes the associated pain. The same principle has turned aloe vera into an effective tool for combatting the inflammation induced by seborrheic dermatitis.
In 1998, a study evaluated the effects aloe vera had on a scalp suffering from dandruff. The patients in the test group showed significant improvement, while the placebo group had little to no improvement. Multiple dermatologists corroborated these results, proving that aloe vera has a place in combatting dandruff. Using aloe vera to treat dandruff will help clear your scalp and allow your follicles to grow more hair.
It Cleanses the Hair
One of the main problems with hair is that it can be coated with sebum if you do not groom properly or have naturally oily skin. Sebum is the oil our skin produces to keep itself hydrated, but it can also contaminate the skin and cause dermatological blemishes. Some people do not realize that sebum can coat the hair because the scalp produces it too.
You might have noticed your hair is difficult to work with, slippery to the touch, and a little shinier than normal. These are signs of oily hair, which can severely damage the strands and follicles if you do not manage the sebum levels. Excessive sebum concentrations are also connected to seborrheic dermatitis, so too much oil could result in dandruff and subsequent hair loss.
The good news is that hair loss from seborrheic dermatitis is usually reversible if you can get the condition under control. High sebum concentrations can also cause mild inflammation and itchiness, generating an almost irresistible urge to scratch your scalp. The problem is that this scratching damages hair follicles and usually causes you to pull out a few strands of existing hair. Ultimately, high sebum concentrations can be a serious issue for people trying to maintain a healthy head of hair. Fortunately, there is evidence that aloe vera can help address this issue without harsh soaps and shampoos.
Aloe vera's composition is extremely similar to water, which means it can hydrate the skin when applied topically or ingested. It also has a cleansing effect that, when applied to oily hair, strips the excess sebum as if you showered. Aloe vera is also a very gentle cleanser, meaning it will not damage your hair strands when applied to your scalp, so you can preserve the hair you have. This is not to say you should substitute showers altogether, but that aloe vera can provide an extra cleanse for those with oily skin and hair.
It Provides Essential Vitamins
Believe it or not, vitamins play a critical role in healthy hair and scalps. Some vitamins help protect your hair and keep it from falling out, while others promote the growth of new, stronger strands. Insofar as hair health is concerned, there are 4 major vitamins to consider, each of which is present in aloe vera. Vitamins A, C, E, and B-12 contribute to healthy hair and help keep it from falling out.
However, we feel it is important to inform you that there is no conclusive data to suggest that aloe vera prevents hair loss but that it strengthens the hair and minimizes the odds of premature hair loss.
Regardless, the main point of conversation now is how these vitamins play a role in hair health:
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins you can have. Like most vitamins, our bodies cannot synthesize vitamin A; we must introduce it through food and other products. Vitamin A is important because it promotes cell growth, including the cells found on the scalp and in hair follicles. Without sufficient concentrations of vitamin A, we would lose the ability to grow new hair strands. That said, there is a catch. Too much vitamin A can trigger hair loss, so you must be careful when planning your intake.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is another important micronutrient that we must introduce through diet or supplementation. While vitamin A promotes cell growth, vitamin C promotes hair growth and strength. Additionally, vitamin C has a limited ability to reduce hair loss rates, making it a valuable tool for hair management.
- Vitamin E: Unlike vitamins A and C, vitamin E does not directly affect the hair but benefits it indirectly. Vitamin E is one of the essential micronutrients we need to sustain healthy skin, including the skin found on the scalp. Vitamin E also reduces oxidative stress that might damage the base from which hair strands grow. With sufficient vitamin E, our scalps provide a strong base for our hair so we can grow new strands more easily.
- Vitamin B-12: Vitamin B-12 is an interesting vitamin that fulfills multiple roles in human anatomy. Insofar as the hair is concerned, vitamin B-12's benefit is replacing lost strands. Vitamin B-12 has been linked to hair volume, which helps us grow more hair, so we have a consistent amount across our scalp. It gives the hair follicles the oxygen necessary to stimulate growth after losing a strand.
These vitamins all play a different part in hair health, and all of them must be used in tandem to promote a healthy head of hair. As we mentioned before, all 4 of these vitamins are present in aloe vera, though there is no concrete evidence supporting aloe vera as a tool to generate the effects of these vitamins. Nevertheless, applying aloe vera ensures you receive a healthy dose of all 4 vitamins, giving your body access to vital resources. Therefore, this benefit could be categorized as an indirect benefit of aloe vera for hair health.
Are There Risks?
Before introducing a new substance to our daily routine, it is common to question whether it has any risks. Even mainstream medication comes with a list of potential side effects that could make treating your condition difficult. While an inescapable part of progress, these side effects range from benign to devastating. While pharmaceutical-grade medications are commonly associated with side effects, natural products have the same risk of causing unpleasant issues when used.
Fortunately, most side effects err on the benign side of the scale, so you should be able to take pharmaceutical and natural substances without much concern. Nevertheless, vigilance is critical to prevent these side effects from sneaking up on you and damaging your health.
Aloe vera, while common in most households, comes with a risk worth considering if you plan to use it for your hair or any other condition. Fortunately, aloe vera's main issue is that a small percentage of the population is allergic to it. This is a common issue for multiple medications and substances, with some people even having allergies to penicillin. Aloe vera allergies are uncommon but can cause problems if you apply a full dose immediately.
If you have never used aloe vera before, performing a patch test before administering a full dose would be wise. Patch testing involves taking a small amount of a topical substance, like aloe vera, and rubbing it onto the inside of your wrist. Once you have completed this step, wait 2 hours and monitor the skin's condition around your wrist.
If you have a reaction, such as reddened skin, irritation, etc., it is likely that you are allergic to aloe vera and should discontinue using it. If your skin remains clear and feels normal, you likely do not have an allergy and can safely employ aloe vera for your hair. That said, there is one last thing to consider before you use it. If you use hydrocortisone cream on your skin, avoid applying aloe vera too. Aloe vera can increase the cortisone you absorb when used simultaneously with hydrocortisone cream.
If you are allergy-free and not using hydrocortisone cream, your next step is identifying an aloe vera product for your hair. This might seem simple due to the many products on the market, but finding the right one is a challenge.
Finding the Right Blend!
Hair health is a frustrating issue for modern society since hair loss and damage are increasingly common. Unfortunately, most people will experience thinning or balding hair due to genetic and health factors. This is why preemptively treating your hair has become so important to increase its health and strength. The stronger your hair and the healthier your follicles are, the less hair you lose. Aloe vera has become something of a miracle plant for most people due to the range of its benefits. Its effects on hair health are one example of a long list of benefits. When finding a hair care product, you must be more discerning when considering aloe vera.
We at Teami realize that finding the right product is one of the people's biggest challenges since the market is oversaturated. That is why we have dedicated ourselves to creating natural products that can improve your health and beauty. We recommend our Grow + Glow, Hair and Nails Support Gummy Vitamin for hair health. While it does not have aloe vera, it has several other beneficial substances that promote healthier hair. Alternatively, you could employ our Butterfly Toner Mist, which does have aloe vera, for your scalp. Regardless of your decision, remember that finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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