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There are plenty of beauty-boosting supplements out there, promising things like longer locks and younger-looking skin. One dietary supplement often taken by consumers to address their hair concerns is biotin. You’ve likely heard about it, or maybe you know someone who swears by the benefit of biotin for long, luscious-looking locks. However, the research on biotin for hair and nail growth is limited. What’s more, did you know that biotin is naturally present in foods we consume in our day to day lives? Here, we’re breaking down all things biotin: What exactly it is, what it does, and whether you really should consider adding a biotin supplement into your beauty and hair care routine.
Editor’s note: Before making decisions about whether to take a supplement, talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you achieve a balance between the foods and nutrients you personally need.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), biotin is actually a B vitamin, and it’s an essential nutrient for optimal health. Scientifically speaking, biotin is an essential nutrient because it plays a key role in our bodies’ ability to metabolize fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids. In other words, it helps our body process fats and sugars, both of which are vital to maintaining overall health.
In addition to its essential role in basic metabolic bodily processes, biotin has gained a reputation in the beauty world for its purported ability to stimulate hair and nail growth, and also help produce stronger hair and nails. Biotin deficiency is very rare, according to the NIH, but signs of biotin deficiency include hair loss and brittle, easily-breakable nails. As such, biotin supplements have been widely reported as helping to promote hair and nail growth, although there are only a few case reports and small studies that have documented its ability to produce these effects, according to the NIH.
Still, that doesn’t mean the purported benefits of biotin are necessarily false. According to a study from the Journal the of American Academy of Dermatology, biotin supplements have been found to be helpful in combating brittle fingernails by improving thickness and reducing splitting of the nails.
If you want to see for yourself whether the benefits of biotin are real, you have a couple of options. As we said, many foods contain biotin, so if you’re considering biotin as a way to boost your hair care game, you may want to try adding these foods into your diet. Some examples of food that contain the most biotin, according to the NIH, are eggs, fish, meat, seeds, nuts, and sweet potatoes. And it doesn’t stop there—the Mayo Clinic states that biotin is also found in liver, cauliflower, carrots, bananas, and cereals.
Taking a biotin supplement is potentially the most popular way to introduce more biotin to your system, but you’ll want to ask your doctor or your dermatologist before you begin—everybody’s body is different and can react differently to supplements. In fact, whatever type of supplement regimen you’re considering, it’d be wise to run it by a medical professional before starting. As the Mayo Clinic states, supplements can’t take the place of a well-balanced diet, so if you don’t think you’re getting enough of a certain vitamin or mineral, talk to your doctor before buying and ingesting a supplement.
Of course, taking supplements isn’t the only way to promote having better, healthier-looking hair. Keep these three tips in mind for taking your hair care routine to the next level:
If your strands are feeling brittle and weak, add a strengthening shampoo and conditioner system, such as the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Shampoo and the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Conditioner, into your routine.
Hair treatments can have quite the effect on your hair, so don’t hesitate to add one that coordinates with your hair care concerns to your routine. Need help finding the perfect product? Here are Our Best Hair Treatments for 7 Common Hair Types.
Your goal may be for your hair to be as long as possible, but never getting it trimmed isn’t doing you any favors. If you never cut your hair, you’re likely to end up with pretty bad split ends, and you’ll need to cut off quite a bit of your hair to fix the issue. That’s why it’s better to trim off small amounts of hair at a time, never allowing your ends to get into a dire state.
Next up: What Is the Skin’s Microbiome?