Aloe Vera For Hair Loss: Are There Benefits?

Knox Beasley, MD

Reviewed by Knox Beasley, MD

Written by Geoffrey C. Whittaker

Published 03/20/2021

Updated 04/24/2024

Aloe vera for hair loss: Is it the next big thing in preventing male pattern baldness, or just another unfounded claim circulating on the internet? Would you believe us if we said “both?”

Here are the facts. While aloe vera has a pretty great reputation for healing properties — for wounds, burns and other irritations — researchers are only in the earliest days of studying this succulent for hair loss.

Can aloe vera for hair growth replace other treatment options? As of now, we’re not sure, but it might not be a bad idea to add an aloe plant to your hair routine here and there for scalp health.

For more on how and why to do so, read on.

Currently, there’s no scientific proof that aloe vera can improve hair growth, though various vitamins, enzymes, antioxidants and chemical compounds in aloe may offer indirect hair growth benefits.

Specifically, some research suggests that compounds like aloenin may encourage the growth phase of the hair growth cycle.

When used in a gel, aloenin has been found to encourage hair follicle cells into growth, but there hasn’t been much of an effort to replicate those findings in the last few decades.

There are still some cases where aloe vera could help your scalp, like if you have itchiness from hair loss. But we know that treating symptoms doesn’t address the alopecia, or hair loss, itself.

Still, there’s a promising case for aloe vera as a tool — if only an indirect one — in the fight against hair loss, given what we know about the established benefits of aloe and what’s needed to treat certain types of hair loss.

In these cases, aloe vera could be an effective part of (but not the entirety of) treatment for the condition and could help prevent or reverse certain instances of hair loss.

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While growth is an essential part of hair care, having “healthy hair” requires a lot of other factors that aloe vera may support. And the better news is that using aloe vera comes with few side effects, except for the occasional allergy.

When you use aloe vera, it provides your skin with amino acids, as well as vitamin E and vitamin C. These all do a variety of beneficial things for your skin, including stimulating collagen production, taming free radicals and acting as anti-inflammatories.

Depending on the kind of hair loss you’ve experienced, repairing damage to the skin may be the solution to the problem. Aloe vera has proven benefits for healing skin wounds in several ways, including stimulating collagen production.

It could also help with conditions like traction alopecia, which is when too-tight hairstyles or other types of pulling on the scalp cause damage to the follicle. Things like bleaching, dying and straightening your hair can also cause irritation or damage to the scalp and hair, leading to hair loss. All these types of damage might benefit from aloe vera, which can help your scalp heal more quickly.

But to truly answer the big question of scalp health, we need to talk about conditions like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) and other scalp conditions that irritate or stress the follicles and the skin.

Aloe vera may have pain relief or anti-itch properties that help you manage dry skin and conditions like the above.

Some of the other potentially beneficial components of aloe vera and their effects include:

  • Enzymes that make your hair cleaner by removing dirt and excess sebum (oil)

  • Vitamins and fatty acids that strengthen and repair hair and offer UV protection

  • Nourishing properties that protect against breakage

  • Hydrating properties that prevent dry hair

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If you think that’s a pretty impressive resume for a plant, you’d be right. Unfortunately, trying to capture those benefits for yourself can get a little complicated.

There are well-known skincare benefits from using the leaves of an aloe vera plant or aloe vera juice on injuries, wounds, sunburn and other skin conditions. Still, we just don’t have the same information when it comes to the “hair” side of dermatology.

While there are many topical compounds, salves and other preparations of aloe (not to mention the aloe leaf itself), there’s no adequate data to suggest that any one way of using it offers specific hair benefits.

A shampoo with aloe vera extract might very well offer equal or greater benefits to fresh aloe vera gel — studies haven’t really been done to answer one way or another.

If you’re curious about how to work aloe vera into your hair care routine, you should talk to a healthcare professional. They’ll be able to give you individualized guidance on what hair products might help and whether you should buy an aloe vera plant or consider something more effective.

Hair loss treatments, delivered

Aloe vera might help your hair loss problems, but it is by no means a recommended method for regrowing hair. As such, you’re better off with more proven hair loss treatments.

The first thing you need to do to address hair loss is to consult a dermatologist or other healthcare professional.

  • A healthcare provider can help you determine the cause of your hair loss and prescribe the appropriate treatment. Most likely, they’ll recommend one or more proven methods for reversing or halting hair loss in topical or oral medications.

  • Conditions like androgenic alopecia (the technical term for what we know as male pattern baldness) often respond well to finasteride (brand name Propecia®) or its topical cousins minoxidil foam and minoxidil solution (brand name Rogaine®).

  • These medications manage the hormone that causes male pattern baldness and encourage blood flow to follicles, respectively.

Your healthcare professional will prescribe these treatments based on your individual needs, because the most effective treatment for your hair loss may differ from your friend’s treatment.

The right treatment for you is out there, and a medical professional can help you find it.

The best thing you can do for yourself now is contact one and discuss treatment options. After all, like your succulents, you want your hair to grow and prosper.

8 Sources

  1. Ugoeze, K. C., & Odeku, O. A. (2022). Herbal bioactive–based cosmetics. Herbal Bioactive-Based Drug Delivery Systems, 195-226. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/aloenin.
  2. Trüeb, R. M., Henry, J. P., Davis, M. G., & Schwartz, J. R. (2018). Scalp Condition Impacts Hair Growth and Retention via Oxidative Stress. International journal of trichology, 10(6), 262–270. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijt.ijt_57_18. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6369642/.
  3. Pulickal, J. (2020, August 12). Traction alopecia. Retrieved March 02, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470434/.
  4. Hashemi, S. A., Madani, S. A., & Abediankenari, S. (2015). The Review on Properties of Aloe Vera in Healing of Cutaneous Wounds. BioMed research international, 2015, 714216. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/714216. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4452276/.
  5. Do you have hair loss or hair shedding? (n.d.). Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding.
  6. Burg, D., Yamamoto, M., Namekata, M., Haklani, J., Koike, K., & Halasz, M. (2017). Promotion of anagen, increased hair density and reduction of hair fall in a clinical setting following identification of FGF5-inhibiting compounds via a novel 2-stage process. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 10, 71–85. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S123401. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5338843/.
  7. Publishing, H. (n.d.). Hair Loss. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/hair-loss-a-to-z.
  8. Park, H. J., Jin, G. R., Jung, J. H., Hwang, S. B., Lee, S. H., & Lee, B. H. (2021). Hair Growth Promotion Effect of Nelumbinis Semen Extract with High Antioxidant Activity. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2021, 6661373. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7984906/.
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Knox Beasley, MD

Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world. 

Dr. Beasley is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time. 

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