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What are aloe vera skin and hair benefits? Learn about this gentle and nourishing ingredient for all skin types, from sensitive to acne.
Plants, herbs, and flowers have long been used to heal our health, nurture our skin and hair, and provide a natural source of protection from earth’s elements.
The skin and hair benefits of Aloe Vera make the gel inside this plant one of nature’s most potent anti-aging serums. Not to mention, it’s super affordable.
Beyond rewinding the clock, Aloe Vera is a protective healing agent for skin and hair. Let’s take a look into how to take advantage of this plant’s many benefits. You may even decide to replace toxic products in your medicine cabinet with these magical leaves.
What is Aloe Vera?
Despite its very cactus-like characteristics, Aloe Vera belongs to the lily family, which also includes asparagus, onions, leeks, and garlic.
Aloe is grown mainly in the dry regions of Africa, Asia, Europe, and America. Because of its many therapeutic uses, it is now commercially cultivated in the United States, Japan, and countries in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.
You can grow your own Aloe Vera plant in a pot at home, or find organically cultivated aloe online or from your local health food store.
Aloe Vera: Hair Superfood
Aloe Vera has over 32 vitamins and minerals, 75 known nutrients (yes, that means there may actually be more), and hundreds of enzymes. All of which your hair probably isn’t getting from a store-bought shampoo or conditioner.
The nutrients in Aloe Vera including folic acid, choline, and antioxidants feed your hair and strengthen it. Enzymes catalyze hair growth. And Vitamin A, C, and E restore and replenish hair from root to tip.
Aloe Vera is the hair superfood you’ve been searching for. It may not come in pretty packaging but will it will lengthen and strengthen your locks like the natural Rapunzel that you are.
Soothe Your Scalp and Banish Dandruff
The enzymes from raw Aloe Vera can act as a toner does for your face. It balances the pH levels that may go haywire from shampoo, conditioner, styling gel, other hair products, and the environment pollutants our hair faces every day.
The ideal scalp oil and sebum pH balance is between 4.5 and 5.5. Your scalps natural acidity is its own antibacterial and prevents the production of fungi. Oftentimes, the scalp becomes too alkaline from beauty products causing itching, flaking, redness, and frizz.
Aloe Vera is an ideal scalp pH neutralizer. It is gentle enough to be applied directly onto the scalp then combed from root to tip.
Condition Dry and Treats Hair
As the Aloe balances the pH of the scalp, it closes the hair cuticle. If the hair cuticle is open, it is more susceptible to breaking, damage, and an inability to grow and thrive. Most products focus on hair strands while Aloe treats the root of the issue.
By contracting the cuticle, moisture is locked in place keeping hair conditioned while maintaining tenacity.
Preparing Aloe Vera for Hair
Working with an Aloe plant is rather easy. Choose a large, fully bloomed leaf and split it down the center to reveal it’s clear slimy center. Directly applying the slime is optional. However, it will leave dried white flakes that have proved a little challenging to remove, even after a thorough rinse.
For easy removal and added benefits, blend the aloe vera gel in a blender with your favorite hair oil like almond, coconut, avocado, or even olive. Once it is completely blended, use a fine strainer to remove bits and chunks that could get stuck in your hair.
Lather on generously and put hair in a braid or high-bun. Then put a shower cap or wrap a plastic bag around your entire head to let your natural body heat deepen the moisturization process. This can be left on from 10 minutes to an hour then wash as usual.
Aloe Vera For Skin
For all these same reasons, Aloe is just as effective in healing and beautifying skin as it is hair.
From acne to tan lines, wrinkles to wounds, Aloe far surpasses its reputation for just soothing sunburns.
When it comes to your face, Aloe is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin but tough enough to do the dirty work.
The Aloe plant has been studied for its topical application in helping such skin concerns as; psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, frostbite, burn, wound healing, inflammation and more.
As skin ages, it loses its ability to hold moisture and loses collagen. Left untreated, fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, and drooping occurs.
One of the primary causes of fine lines is a reduced rate of cell rejuvenation. Aloe’s gentle anti-inflammatory properties that are praised for alleviating sunburn symptoms, also aid in skin cell reproduction. With the plants added beta carotene and Vitamin C, your skin is left looking bright, tight, and youthful.
Recent studies have also found that regular consumption and topical use of Aloe Vera improves collagen production. Collagen plumps, lifts, and seemingly removes years from the skin.
Reduce Redness & Treat Acne
If you’ve dealt with Acne most of your life, you probably think you’ve tried everything. But, you’ve probably never smeared plant matter all over your face! Maybe it’s time.
Aloe gel is antibacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory, thus a gentle antimicrobial cleanser that can reduce redness left behind from acne. It fights cystic acne symptoms and may reduce the appearance of acne scars.
As an astringent, Aloe Vera reduces pore size, which helps keep out excess sebum, dirt, and microbes.
Aloe contains salicylic acid, a compound that helps the skin slough off the dead skin cells that lead to clogged pores and blackheads.
[Read: Aloe Vera for Acne]
Preparing Aloe Vera For Skin
As with the hair preparation, blend the natural Aloe gel with a carrier oil for skin and apply liberally as a facial mask or smooth in skin treatment or moisturizer. Add freshly squeezed lemon juice and rind for a brightening effect or granular sugar to create a DIY Aloe Vera face scrub.
The Healing Power of Aloe
The innards of an Aloe leaf isn’t just magical goop. It’s saturated glycoproteins, gibberellins, and polysaccharides that are responsible for much of its healing powers. Aloe is underrated but potent and could be the hottest addition to your summer hair and skincare routine.
There are a host of studies from every continent documenting the healthful benefits of Aloe Vera, taken both internally and used externally. Aloe has truly earned its reputation as a natural, healthful ‘wonder’ plant.
I highly recommend skin and hair care products that have aloe in them, they will help moisturize, cool, and soothe your skin and hair.
Have a look at our article on where to find the best aloe vera gels.