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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.

Summary
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 recognisable 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 cosmetic enthusiasts. Predominantly composed of water and aqueous substances, the aloe vera gel is renowned for its moisturising, softening, and repairing virtues. Its properties also extend to the realm of the scalp and hair, and some people use it to combat dandruff.

Dandruff is a common multifactorial hair problem. Factors such as rapid cellular renewal, overactive sebaceous glands, or fungal colonisation by the microorganism Malassezia could be responsible. 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 the case of dandruff. Indeed, recent studies have shown that this botanical extract was capable of inhibiting the growth of the two Staphylococcus bacteria mentioned above as well as that of the fungus Malassezia.

The moisturising properties of aloe vera can also be a real advantage in the case of dandruff. Indeed, when the skin's defence system is unbalanced, the sebaceous glands tend to increase their production of sebum. This phenomenon, known as reactive hyperseborrhoea, makes the scalp more susceptible to colonisation 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 and thus reduces the risk of reactive hyperseborrhoea.

Finally, it is noteworthy that the anti-dandruff potential of aloe vera was demonstrated in a clinical trial. This involved 44 individuals suffering from seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp, a condition characterised by erythematous scaly patches covered with dandruff. For six weeks, half of the participants applied an aloe vera-based cream twice daily, 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 required, aloe vera appears to be a promising natural alternative for tackling 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. & co. 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. & co. Pharmaceutical, nutritional and cosmetic uses 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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