Here’s the truth about taking vitamins for your hair, according to medical professionals
All you have to do is scroll through your Instagram feed or step foot in your local pharmacy to see vitamins for your hair that claim long, luscious locks. Medical Daily reports that $176 million a year is spent on hair and nail supplements, and Insta influencers claim Kate Middleton-level strands with gummies. But do hair vitamins really work? We looked at advice from not just hair stylists but medical professionals on these supplements that promise hair magic because, honestly, we have a lot of questions.
First of all, what vitamins are good for your hair?
When you check out the ingredients list of popular hair vitamins, you’ll usually spot biotin (also known as Vitamin B7) or Vitamin E.
Dr. Marine Peredo, who does recommend her patients try supplements to fix issues related to hair, skin, or nails, explained to Daily Makeover how biotin works.
"[Biotin] stimulates new hair growth and promotes healthier texture by protecting against dryness, scalp flaking and increasing elasticity of the hair's cortex to prevent breakage," Dr. Peredo said.
Biotin occurs naturally in food such as nuts, bananas, and egg yolks. You can find it in products like HUM Nutrition’s Hair Sweet Hair Gummies and Briogio’s B Well supplements.
Vitamin E, according to Healthline, can help prevent hair loss, improve scalp circulation, balance oil production, control frizz, and give your hair a natural shine. You can get Vitamin E in your diet via leafy greens, nuts, vegetable oils, and seeds. Less often used as a pill supplement, the vitamin is a big new trend in hair styling products and sprays, such as R+Co’s Tinsel Smoothing Oil.
In addition, trichologist Penny James told HelloGiggles that Vitamin D is also helpful for hair loss.
“Vitamin D has been clinically proven to help hair loss,” James said. “Most of us are lacking in this vitamin and it’s very important to make sure Vitamin D is either taken solo or in a multivitamin.”
So, what’s this thing about taking prenatal vitamins for your hair?
Many women already know about prenatal vitamins for pre-pregnancy and pregnancy, but dermatologist Dr. Melissa Piliang also recommends them for anyone looking to fill gaps in their diet, which could help boost hair and nail health. Dr. Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, told The Huffington Post that brittle hair could be linked to “internal issues stemming from the thyroid or chronic anemia.”
For that, you can turn to vitamins and minerals such as iron, Vitamin D, and zinc. And where can you find those? Prenatals.
“Daily multivitamins or prenatal supplements help to fill gaps found in our diets,” said Dr. Piliang to The Huffington Post. “We tend to restrict carbohydrates or fats for weight loss or replace them with juices, but vitamins contain important nutrients like biotin, zinc, and B-complex that help to enhance the health of our hair.”
Where do experts stand on hair vitamins?
So far, there doesn’t seem to be enough research to prove the efficacy of taking vitamins for your hair health. But that doesn’t mean experts aren’t recommending supplements or multivitamins for some.
"They're not made-up pills. Our bodies are already taking them in and they should be a part of our diet," celebrity hairstylist Devin Toth said to Medical Daily. But he's quick to add, "Vitamins and supplements aren't miracle drugs, they simply allow your hair to reach its full potential. [They] maximize what the body is capable of."
Dr. Piliang also notes that vitamins should not be used as a bandage to cover up a real problem—especially since brittle nails and hair may symbolize complications relating to chronic anemia or a thyroid condition.
Of course, always follow instructions and talk to your own doctor if you’re considering supplementing your diet and have questions or concerns.