If you’ve ever strolled through a drugstore looking for a new haircare product then you’ve surely seen the massive amount of biotin infused shampoos claiming to give you Rapunzel worthy locks in no time at all. Although we as consumers are not blind to the marketing efforts of the cosmetics industry, it is sometimes difficult to know what to expect from products with such impractical claims. So now, I’d like to dive into some facts about biotin & what it can actually do for your hair.
What is Biotin?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin that is naturally produced by our bodies and also can be found in food.
Biotin has many functions within the body, such as converting food into energy. In the beauty industry, it is mostly marketed as a ‘magic pill’ for healthy hair, skin, and nails when taken orally, however, there isn’t much scientific evidence that proves that it works.
One of the main reasons that biotin is used as a hair growth supplement is because a biotin deficiency is commonly associated with hair loss. Although the logic seems to make sense, biotin deficiencies are rare and it is difficult to know what deficiencies could be contributing to your hair loss without a blood test. The American Academy of Dermatology states that you should supplement with biotin to try to improve your hair loss condition only if you actually have a deficiency.
There is a lot of speculation online about whether or not a biotin shampoo can actually reverse hair loss, meaning that it is able to regenerate hair growth in areas that had previously been bald or thinning. Sadly there is no scientific evidence that proves this is possible, and if it were possible, you would see these products listed as treatment options on websites such as the American Hair Loss Association.
Despite the obvious dismissal of biotin shampoos as a hair loss treatment from doctors and dermatologists, some brands still make claims that their biotin shampoos can treat excessive hair loss (or Alopecia). Although biotin shampoos can’t stop or reverse excessive hair loss, there doesn’t seem to be a downside to using one (other than the higher price point).
What Can Biotin Shampoo Actually Do:
- It can strengthen and protect your hair from damage
- It can encourage the growth of hair you already have
- It can reduce inflammation in the scalp which is beneficial for the hair follicles
- It can mend split ends and eliminate breakage
- It can clear away flakes blocking the hair follicles, allowing the hair to grow more easily
Biotin on its own can’t do anything to help your hair loss but combined with other hair nourishing ingredients it can improve the quality of your existing hair and create an optimal environment for hair growth, no promises for it helping regrowth though. Some shampoos are even formulated with DHT blockers (DHT is a hormone that has been linked to excessive hair loss) and are thought to be able to slow down or stop hair loss. Medical professionals are familiar with the effectiveness of DHT Blockers in the form of oral medication, and just like biotin, they only recommend oral medication if necessary.
Topical products like shampoos may seem like an easier and safer option, however, ingredients in wash-off products often don’t yield the results that they promise because of the fact that they are washed away. There are some ingredients that may stay on the skin after rinsing if it has sufficient contact with the skin; try leaving the shampoo on your scalp/ hair for 2-3 minutes before rinsing to get the most out of the product.
In conclusion, the effects of topical biotin have not been proven to be exceptionally beneficial for hair loss, although more research on the ingredient is needed. That being said, I think most people would agree that swapping out their regular, potentially drying and damaging hair care products for ones infused with more vitamins and oils to care for their hair is not a bad idea at all.
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