Treat your scalp itch with gel from the aloe vera plant, an ancient plant that's been used as an herbal medicine for thousands of years. Aloe vera is among the most commonly used herbs in the United States, with uses that range from wound care to fighting skin inflammation. It also has properties that can help heal, condition and soothe your scalp, allowing you to treat the itch and some of the underlying conditions that can cause it.
Aloe vera is a perennial succulent that holds a lot of water in its spiky, spear-shaped leaves. The plant is made up of roughly 99 percent water and substances such as glycoproteins, which promote skin healing. To get the soothing gel out of your aloe plant, break off a leaf, slit the leaf and scoop out the inner gel. Aloe vera gel is available in many drugstores and health stores.
Aloe is an antipruritic, or a substance that relieves itching. In addition to the glycoproteins in aloe gel, there are also other characteristics that make it well suited for use on your scalp as a healthy accompaniment to your hair care regimen. Aloe vera gel has antibacterial and antifungal properties to cleanse and treat your scalp. It also contains lignin, which causes it to be deeply absorbed by the scalp. The enzymes in aloe vera gel work to exfoliate dead skin cells, and amino acids facilitate healthy tissue growth.
Using Aloe Vera for Your Scalp
Whether you're using the gel from your own aloe vera plant or store-bought gel, the basic application process is the same. For maximum benefits, rinse or shampoo your hair with warm water to rid your scalp of any oil and dirt. Massage approximately 1 tablespoon of aloe gel into your scalp. Let it sit for five minutes before rinsing your hair and styling it normally. Alternatively, massage aloe gel onto your scalp and leave it in without rinsing so that it acts as a natural hair gel.
Buying Aloe Vera Gel
Typically, aloe vera doesn't cause any adverse reactions or side effects, so it is suitable for use by people with sensitive skin. When you shop for aloe vera products, look for products that contain a minimum of 50 percent aloe vera gel. Many products on the market are labeled as aloe vera, but they have additives such as calcium or maltodextrin added to the formula to cut costs by reducing the amount of aloe vera gel in the mix.
- Integrative Dermatology; Robert A. Norman, Philip D. Shenefelt, Reena N. Rupani
- Aloe Vera: The New Millennium; Bill C. Coats
- Home Doctor; Dr. Michael Peters
- The Green Pharmacy Anti-Aging Presciptions; James A. Duke and Michael Castleman
- Curly Girl; Lorraine Massey
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Aloe
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Caryn Anderson combines extensive behind-the-scenes writing experience with her passion for all things food, fashion, garden and travel. Bitten by the travel bug at the age of 15 after a trip to Europe, Anderson fostered her love of style and fashion while living in New York City and earning her degree at New York University.