You’re probably aware that biotin is often used for hair growth, but do you know exactly what its benefits are? Biotin is also referred to as vitamin B7 and is known for its ability to promote cellular health and growth. Dr. Shevanti Manjula Jegasothy, founder of the Miami Skin Institute in Florida, notes that biotin has been “a major cofactor in hair and nail growth” for the past 10 years.
“Biotin reacts with specific hair cell enzymes that play a vital role in producing amino acids, which are the building blocks of all proteins,” she states. “Since hair itself is a protein called keratin, biotin as a building block of keratin is essential.”
Taking biotin for hair growth is common practice in the beauty world nowadays, which is why you’ll notice so many supplements and hair products with biotin on the shelves. Those wary of taking supplements should know that biotin is, in fact, very safe. “Most dermatologists recommend 1 to 5 mgs of biotin for people with all kinds of hair loss,” says Jegasothy.
When it comes to over-the-counter hair products containing biotin, it’s highly unlikely that they’re beneficial to making your hair grow. “We are not entirely certain whether biotin in shampoos and styling products actually penetrate the scalp to induce any hair growth,” explains Jegasothy. “If it penetrates the hair shaft, it still cannot cause hair growth because the keratin in the actual hair shaft is already not alive.”
In other words, it’s best to stick with biotin supplements and a healthy diet containing foods with B-complex vitamins, such as egg yolks, soybeans, cereals and nuts. “If you are dieting or are restricting calories [or] do not eat enough leafy greens, then a B-complex vitamin supplement can definitely help and not do any harm,” relays Jegasothy.
Looking for a supplement containing biotin? Consider these favorites below: