What is Aloe Vera (AV)? How does it benefit the body and hair and what are the pros and cons of using AV on the body and hair? This section on the blog will look at AV closer and will try to answer all the above questions.
What is AV?
AV is a plant that grows wild in tropical and semi-tropical climates from around the world (it can indoor as a plant as well) that derives from the plant species call Genus Aloe.
AV is a thick, short-stemmed plant that stores water in its thick pointed and very fleshy green leaves have slimy tissue. The water-filled slimy tissue is called “gel” and this “gel” is used in many cosmetic, medicinal and food products for hair and skin as well as internal well-being. The leaves can grow anywhere between 30cm to 50cm in length.
AV has many compounds that are very good for human health; these compounds include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties which belongs to a range of substances known as polyphenols. Polyphenols help to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that may cause infections in the human body.
As well as inhibit the growth of bacteria, AV is also used on the skin to help accelerate the healing process of things like sores, sunburns and burns. It has a high collagen content and cooling properties which help to repair sun damage to both skin and hair. AV has a great ability to increase blood circulation, hence why it accelerates the healing process to sores and burn.
AV can also reduce the build-up of dental plaque and accelerate the healing of mouth ulcers as well as the pain that is associated with ulcers. Studies have shown that AV is just as effective as the Chlorhexidine (ingredients use in mouthwash) in reducing the build-up of plaque by destroying the plaque producing bacterium Streptococcus Mutan in the mouth and the yeast Candida Albans.
How does it benefit hair?
AV contains enzymes called Proteolytic Enzymes. These enzymes help to repair dead skin cells on the scalp which prevent itching scalp and help to reduce dandruff (Seborrheic Dermatitis). AV has fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties, these properties stop the scalp from inflaming (the cause of dandruff). A healthy scalp creates a healthy environment for the hair follies to grow.
AV contains many vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B-12, C and E as well as folic acid. Vitamin B-12 and folic acid prevent breakage and the hair from falling out this may be because AV has a great ability to increase blood circulation whilst Vitamins A, C and E helps with the turnover of cells and therefore promoting healthy cell production and shiny hair.
Due to the slimness of the gel, AV is a great product to detangle the hair; it provides plenty of slip that would melt away any knots and tangles and can help to reduce your detangling time on wash day.
What are the Pros and Cons?
The Pros are all mentioned above in why you may use AV as part of your hair regime as well as part of your overall health. There are more pros such as it may help with weight loss, constipation (latex is the yellow sticky residue found just under the skin, which may help with constipation), improve skin elasticity and wrinkles or diabetes. These are not conclusive as the evidence isn’t strongly supporting these other benefits from studies done.
The Con of using AV is that some people might be allergic to it. So, it is important to do a patch test and see how your body and/or hair reacts to it. To do a patch test; rub a bit of AV on the inside of your wrist and wait for about two hours. If you react to AV, please do not use any AV products and seek medical advice if necessary.
If you are allergic to AV and if consume, AV may cause, blood sugar to drop, stomach cramps, irritation, dehydration (if taken in large quantity), uterine contractions (on pregnant women) and very low potassium levels (this may cause irregular heartbeat, weakness and fatigue). Skin allergies may include skin rashes, irritations, burns and redness to the eye.
Sources of Reference:
Cobb, C and Watson, K (2017); Healthline; www.healthline.com/health/aloe-vera-for-hair
Malik, K (2019); NDTV Food; www.food.ndtv.com/beauty/6-amazing-benefits-aloe-vera-hair-skin-weight-loss-1221869?amp=1&akamai-rum=off
Rana, S (2018); NDTV Food; www.food.ndtv.com/health/side-effects-of-aloe-vera-heres-why-anything-in-excess-is-bad-1882205%3famp=1&akamai-rum=off
Leech, J (2017); Medical News Today; www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318591.php
Bender The Bot (2019); Wikipedia; www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_vera