Many factors can contribute to hair loss. Illness, stress, medication, skin conditions and age are just a few. No matter what the cause, people suffering hair loss want a quick, reliable way to re-grow their hair. Unfortunately there isn’t a single cure-all, and because hair takes time to grow, patience is required no matter what treatment you use. The number of products claiming to re-grow hair may well surpass the causes of loss. Surgical, herbal and chemical remedies all make similar assertions about producing a thick, full head of hair. Some involve drastic measures or require great financial investment, yet a simple, inexpensive solution is available at the local store and may even be in your own backyard. That solution is using aloe vera for hair loss needs.
Aloe Vera for Hair
Well known for treating burns and skin irritations, aloe has also been shown to have a positive effect in stopping hair loss and promoting new hair growth. Its benefit appears to be mainly in treating the scalp and various conditions that affect the scalp, which further reinforces its capacity as a skin treatment. Understanding certain scalp conditions will help with understanding how aloe helps alleviate these problems and assists in returning to healthy hair growth.
- Dandruff is a common condition where dead skin cells flake off from the scalp at a much higher and faster rate than normal. The scalp may be itchy and irritated, or the flakiness may build up on the scalp, creating patches of dried and dead skin. There are many shampoos available to treat dandruff using chemicals, however some chemicals could cause further irritation to sensitive skin.
- Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition that may appear similar to dandruff, although irritation is much greater. The natural oil known as sebum is beneficial to a healthy scalp by keeping it moisturized and preventing dryness. If there is an overproduction of sebum the scalp becomes oily. Overproduction can be a physiological condition, or may be caused by stress, or fungal or yeast infections. The excess oil on the scalp mixes with dirt and dust from the air and creates patches of scaly buildup. Hair follicles become blocked and swollen, and the scalp then becomes irritated and itchy with raised red patches. Large areas of skin can be affected.
Both these conditions, through clogging the pores and irritating hair follicles, can affect hair growth, at least slowing it or making it weaker, with seborrheic dermatitis specifically known to cause hair loss. On the other end of the spectrum, dry scalp can cause hair loss as well. This condition may be caused by too little sebum, or by external factors such as frequent shampooing with harsh products, too many chemical treatments, overuse of blow-dryers, dry weather conditions or not drinking enough water. Symptoms are similar to dandruff with itching and irritation, while hair also becomes brittle and may fall out. Using aloe vera for hair can relieve these conditions, and as a result, help hair follicles return to healthy, normal production.
How Aloe Helps Hair
Aloe’s natural composition provides its healing properties.
- The primary active component is choline salicylate, an anti-inflammatory substance. It reduces swelling and pain, which is especially beneficial in conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, where irritation can be significant. Mucopolysaccharides, also found in aloe, are a source of chondroitin sulfate. This substance has been shown to help heal certain wounds, and so may assist in healing scalp conditions, though such claims are speculative.
- Additionally, mucopolysaccharides have moisturizing properties that can benefit dry scalp, and some studies say they also improve circulation, which is another aspect necessary to healthy hair growth.
- A third substance, choline, is a natural nutrient that offers additional moisturizing properties. An appropriate moisture level helps relieve dryness and itching, which in turn helps relieve swelling and irritation. Once applied, aloe must remain on the skin for a period of time to receive the full benefits. In addition to its healing properties, aloe also acts as a barrier, a protective shield in preventing further irritation.
Aloe Hair Treatment
Check out some musings on the benefits of each type of aloe hair treatment:
While shampoos with high aloe content may help by cleansing more gently than other products, they are quickly rinsed away and so may not offer a great deal of healing activity.
Aloe conditioners might help more than shampoos if they’re massaged in and left on the scalp, but most information suggests that aloe gel alone should be applied directly to the scalp and left on long enough to dry before being rinsed out.Looking for a recipee to make your own
Using an aloe oil on your hair may also be a stronger alternative to the shampoo approach to a healthy, full head of hair. Because a greasy scalp may be one cause of hair loss or little hair growth, it may seem odd to add more oil to your scalp with aloe oil, but this oil does the trick! Aloe oil can, like a conditioner, be applied and massaged into your scalp during your shower and even left on for a while (overnight, if you want) to ensure that the aloe sinks into the scalp and your hair reaps the most of aloe’s hair healing properties. Want a neat professional tip when it comes to using oils? Try heating up the aloe oil before use, as heated products will open up the pores of your hair and scalp, allowing you to clean them deeper and more effectively! Clear your pores of all that gunk and your hair follicles should be able to grow better!
How Long? Remember that it will take time to see results. Aloe cannot work its medicinal magic overnight! With consistent use, noticeable relief of scalp symptoms, however, could occur within a couple of weeks. Hair loss could be reduced within a couple of months, and by then you might also see new growth. Be patient! Aloe’s soothing and healing properties can help alleviate symptoms of scalp irritation as well when used regularly.
However, it’s important to understand the underlying causes of any scalp condition, such as poor nutrition, infection or stress, and to treat those causes directly. With relief from irritation and a healthier scalp, hair loss should slow and hair follicles will have a chance to return to normal production. Using aloe hair products in conjunction with making other lifestyle changes will speed up how fast you achieve that healthy hair!
Store-Bought or Homemade Aloe Hair Treatment? Massaging pure aloe gel into your hair and scalp will always be your best bet, as the straight-from-the-plant product is not weighed down or diluted by chemicals or other artificial ingredients that the companies add. Purchasing pure aloe gel (available at your local health food store or even supermarket) for use in your hair can offer the greatest convenience, unless there is a plentiful supply of plants available for harvesting. In the end, taking the time (yes, it will be time-consuming) to make your own aloe hair product will be cheaper and probably more effective than if you opted for buying one. Check out some of these awesome aloe hair recipes for shampoo, conditioner and oil to make your time concocting your product that much more fun and enjoyable!
If you are still intent on buying a aloe conditioner, shampoo or oil from the store shelves, remember that it’s important to check the ingredients and the level of aloe in a purchased product, as the addition of harsh chemicals or a low percentage of aloe will not offer real benefits. If 100 percent aloe gel is not available, look for a product with at least 97 or 98 percent aloe content. And store-bought aloe hair products definitely have their charms. Stopping by a store to pick up aloe for your hair is convienant, quick and easy–a quite different experience from making your own aloe hair treatment.
Other possibilities for treatment include mixing pure aloe with an existing conditioner or shampoo. This may lessen the effect of chemicals by lowering their concentration, although a better choice might be simply to find a higher quality product. A frequently mentioned mixture of aloe, coconut milk and wheat germ oil could provide additional benefits in soothing and moisturizing the scalp.