Can aloe vera stimulate hair growth?

The succulent plant aloe vera has been used for its ‘medicinal’ properties for
thousands of years. You may well have used it in the context of relieving sunburn
or healing injuries and become aware of an increasing number of hair products
and masks which suggest it can improve hair health. Some articles suggest aloe
vera might ‘aid’ hair growth, but what does the current body of research
suggest? Research on aloe vera and hair growth is extremely limited and while
some studies suggest its properties may promote a healthy scalp and therefore
ease some conditions, there is little to suggest it can actually stop hair loss
or cause hair growth and it’s always best to consult an expert.


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What are the benefits of
using aloe vera?

vera is anti-inflammatory which is why it is so soothing when applied topically
to inflamed skin such as after sunburn. It is also a good moisturiser as it
stimulates fibroblast production which is beneficial for collagen and elastin
fibres that are important to skin structure and youthful appearance. Due to its
antioxidants, aloe vera is also commonly used in anti-ageing products.

Is aloe vera good for
the scalp?

In order to have healthy hair, it’s important to
have healthy scalp too. If aloe vera has any effect on stimulating hair growth, research suggests this might be due to its ability to boost blood circulation
and improve delivery of oxygen and nutrition to hair follicles. Aloe vera could
help to maintain a healthy scalp because of its moisturising, anti-inflammatory
and healing properties. However, there is limited research on aloe vera as a
hair loss treatment, therefore it would not be advisable to use it as a standalone treatment.

Are the properties of aloe vera more effective as a supplement or as a lotion?

It depends
on its purpose. Aloe vera contains vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin
B12, choline and folate. It also contains minerals such as selenium and zinc
which are important for hair skin and nail health. However, if looking to
combat a deficiency, these vitamins and minerals are better ingested at a safe
and controlled level through supplements such as Hair Vitalics by The Belgravia
Centre as there is insufficient research on
the efficacy and safety of direct oral administration of aloe vera.

2012 Iranian
clinical trial
, carried out on mice investigated the therapeutic and healing
benefits anecdotally associated with aloe vera use. Researchers concluded that
topical application of aloe vera gel (the jelly-like substance taken directly
from inside the plant’s leaves) could improve wound healing by stimulating
fibroblasts during skin tissue formation, increasing collagen concentration and
tensile strength. This suggests it could protect against traction damage from
excessive hair styling or hair pieces.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Drug Delivery &
suggested that using a hair gel containing an antidandruff drug
and aloe vera could increase the drug retention and improve the effectiveness
of antifungal agents as aloe vera helps to keep the hair moisturised, and
prevents against damage and drying.


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Could aloe
vera help to treat hair/scalp conditions?

When it comes to more complicated skin conditions
such as psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis (SD), aloe vera would not be the first line treatment option as there are
better products and medications that can manage such conditions in the long
term. Aloe vera extract might just be an ingredient that could be added to
support some of these treatments due to its moisturising and anti-inflammatory
effects. Controlled
studies are required to prove the effectiveness of Aloe vera under various

is rare to be deficient in vitamins A, C or E nowadays, although B12 and folate
(vitamin B9) deficiencies are more common. A deficiency in any of the above vitamins could
cause thinning hair from a condition called Telogen Effluvium (TE). This disrupts the hair growth cycle, causing diffuse thinning from all
over the scalp which lasts roughly six months but only becomes noticeable
roughly three months after being triggered. It is also worth noting that
regular excessive vitamin A consumption can also cause this temporary shedding.
a deficiency is severe it could cause not only TE, but also the worsening of
other hair loss conditions such as female pattern hair loss or alopecia areata.
It would be best to consult a professional regarding treatment, however.

A small,
double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
of aloe vera emulsion suggests
it could be an effective treatment for SD. SD is a
chronic inflammatory condition that often affects the skin folds (or skin
flexures) e.g. the inside of the knees and elbows. It is also very common in
sebum-rich areas such as the chest, face and scalp. It is a type of eczema that
can come and go throughout the years and when it flares up, the skin usually
becomes inflamed, itchy and flaky. There is a yeast called Malassezia furfur
which naturally lives on the skin but is associated with SD. Sometimes it
triggers an inflammatory response on the skin which might be due to
overproduction of this yeast, or simply an autoimmune reaction of the skin to
it (or maybe both). Yeasts are types of fungi and since aloe vera has both
anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, it is logical that it could soothe
such a condition.

aloe vera safe to use?

aloe vera is a ‘natural’ product, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is ‘safe’ to
use or ingest. It is always best to consult a
professional before use. Regarding the oral use of aloe vera, there is
insufficient research on efficacy and safety and there is also no established
regulation on the dose of administration. Taken orally, the extract could have
a laxative effect which, if taken in the long term, could lead to electrolyte
imbalance. Although applying aloe vera to your scalp is unlikely to be
harmful, there remains little scientific evidence on how it could stimulate
hair growth and, although rare, some people might have allergic reactions.

I consult a specialist before use?

Overall, the use of aloe vera extract needs more
research. For those with hair loss, it is
important to have a specialist consultation to establish a diagnosis and best
course of safe and suitable treatment according to one’s medical history. For
the most common hair loss condition - androgenic alopecia - topical minoxidil
(for men and women) and oral finasteride 1mg (for men) remain the only clinically
proven treatments. In cases of TE caused by vitamin deficiency, it would be
more important to treat the deficiency rather than using aloe vera.

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The Belgravia Centre

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