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Eliminating dandruff with aloe vera?

Dandruff is a bothersome scalp condition affecting nearly one in two people. Easily identifiable, it can impact self-esteem. To combat it, several solutions exist. Can aloe vera be considered one of them? More information here.

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Published June 14, 2024, updated on June 14, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

Can aloe vera eliminate dandruff?

The aloe vera is a succulent plant from the Asphodelaceae family, easily recognizable by its thick, fleshy green leaves. These leaves not only provide a certain aesthetic appeal but also contain a gel that is highly valued by cosmetics enthusiasts. Composed mainly of water and aqueous substances, the aloe vera gel is known for its moisturizing, softening, and repairing properties. Its benefits also extend to the scalp and hair, and some people use it to combat dandruff.

Dandruff is a common multifactorial hair problem. Factors such as rapid cell renewal, overactive sebaceous glands, or fungal colonization by the microorganism Malassezia could be the cause. More recently, a study on 70 subjects suffering from dandruff showed that bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus (S. aureus and S. epidermidis) were overrepresented in the scalp of the participants. While aloe vera cannot act on all these parameters, some studies suggest that its antifungal and antibacterial activity could be useful in cases of dandruff. Indeed, recent studies have shown that this botanical extract is capable of inhibiting the growth of the two Staphylococcus bacteria mentioned above as well as that of the fungus Malassezia.

The moisturizing properties of aloe vera can also be a real advantage in the case of dandruff. Indeed, when the defense system of the epidermis is unbalanced, the sebaceous glands tend to increase their production of sebum. This phenomenon, known as reactive hyperseborrhea, makes the scalp more susceptible to colonization by microorganisms. Thanks to its richness in hygroscopic amino acids, the aloe vera gel strengthens the hydrolipidic film present on the surface of the epidermis, thus limiting the risks of reactive hyperseborrhea.

Finally, it is noteworthy to mention that the anti-dandruff potential of aloe vera was demonstrated in a clinical trial. This trial involved 44 individuals suffering from seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp, a condition characterized by erythematous scaly patches covered with dandruff. For six weeks, half of the participants applied an aloe vera-based cream twice a day, while the others applied a placebo cream. At the end of the study, a significantly greater improvement was observed in the patients from the first group (58% versus 15%) in terms of erythema, itching, and scaling.

Although more evidence is still needed, aloe vera appears to be a promising natural alternative for combating dandruff.

Sources

  • BITON A. & al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of an Aloe Vera (A. barbadensis) emulsion in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis. Journal of Dermatological Treatment (1999).

  • YOHANNA L. & al. Comparative Study on the Effectiveness of Aloe Vera Leaf and Gel Extracts in Treating Tinea Corporis and Malasezia Furfur. African Journal of Environmental Health Sciences (2020).

  • PUSHPAKUMARI R. & et al. Pharmaceutical, nutritional, and cosmetic applications of the Aloe vera plant. International Journal of Herbal Medicine (2021).

  • HAMAD M. & al. Identification of Malassezia and Bacterial Species in Women with Dandruff in Shendi City and the Antimicrobial Impact of Aloe Vera on the Isolated Microorganisms. Middle East Research Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology (2023).

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