Last updated: August 30, 2021

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Though some hair naturally falls out year round, many have noticed that their hair weakens and falls out more at the beginning of fall and spring. In recent years, an abundance of vitamin and nutraceutical products have shown up on the haircare market. These products are designed to improve hair follicle health and work on your locks "from the inside" (1).

For too many years, hair health was considered a purely aesthetic concern. Nowadays, it's part of a holistic view encompassing every factor that can help your hair and scalp stay strong, healthy, and beautiful - both in the present and as you grow older (2). Haircare vitamins are a prime example.




Summary

  • Hair is a mirror held up to our overall health and diet. When we don't get enough nutrients, or don't absorb and digest them appropriately, our locks suffer accordingly.
  • Haircare vitamins are a convenient way to stimulate hair growth and keep your mane strong, healthy, and beautiful.
  • When choosing vitamin products for your hair, consider their composition, format, and whether any additives are present.

The best Haircare Vitamins : Our Picks

If you're experiencing seasonal hair loss or your hair is simply not what it once was, you're probably contemplating haircare vitamins. Before buying, examine your options carefully! We've got a few favorites here:

Buyer's Guide: What You Need to Know About Haircare Vitamins

Raise your hand if you're interested in taking vitamins for your hair, but have no idea where to start! We're seeing a lot of hands. Have no fear - being unsure is normal! In this section, we'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this type of supplement.

Hair is a mirror held up to our overall health and diet.
(Source: Bizoń: 30160087/ 123rf.com)

What Are Haircare Supplements?

Though it depends on the individual, hair tends to grow a third of an inch per month (4). However, various factors we'll discuss later can weaken hair, accelerate hair loss, and slow growth. Haircare vitamins are not medications, don't require a prescription, and as a general rule, are safe to use.

Hair supplements provide extra nutrients for that boost you need to keep your locks sturdy, beautiful, and plentiful. These include vitamins, minerals, and plant derivatives like baker's yeast. Plus, nutrients which are good for hair also have positive effects on your skin and nails!

Why Does My Hair Weaken and Fall Out?

There's an overabundance of reasons why hair becomes brittle or falls out excessively. Certain salon procedures - let's take dyes and perms as examples - damage hair. There are also other risk factors:

  • Poor Diet: Hair, like any other body part, requires certain nutrients to develop properly. We get these nutrients primarily from a balanced diet.
  • Health Problems: Certain conditions, such as thyroid problems, affect your hair's health and growth.
  • Genetics: An estimated 60% of the population carries genes compatible with hair loss.
  • Age: After age 30, the percentage of hairs actively growing decreases. Hair regrowth and regeneration also slows.
  • Stressors and Life Events: Workplace stress, the birth of a new family member, or an important surgery can all be examples. These events can impact your hair's condition (5).
Alejandro Martín-GorgojoDermatologist and trichologist at the International Dermatology Clinic
"There are studies showing that, through blood microcirculation, certain substances reach the hair follicle bulb, where they can be useful in optimal concentrations."

Who Should Take Haircare Vitamin Supplements?

When your hair and scalp need extra help, it can let you know in different ways. Have you recently suffered any of the following symptoms? If so, we suggest you consider vitamins or supplements for your hair:

  • Excessive hair loss or alopecia: These conditions may or may not be temporary. The good news is that the reversible conditions are more common. In many cases, they improve once their causes are interrupted.
  • Brittle, dull, or dry hair: These derive from changes in the sebaceous secretions on the hair's surface. The result is that hair looks "dry and dull, more prone to tangling and breakage" (2).
  • Dandruff: Dandruff originates from "the process of basal skin cell regrowth accelerating on the scalp" (2).
  • Other signs: Premature gray hair, greasiness, and hair which has trouble growing or breaks easily.

Pay attention to hormonal changes. Pregnancy and menopause can both lead to more severe hair loss. (Source: Akz: 38269052/ 123rf.com)

What Nutrients Are Most Helpful for Hair?

The haircare supplements you choose may contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients. Many options also combine multiple active nutrients. Before making your purchase decision, it's important to know what each ingredient is used for!

Purpose Vitamin and Its Effect
Preventing Hair Loss Vitamin B12: Produces red blood cells which transport oxygen to hair follicles.

Vitamin A: Promotes hair growth.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin): Rehabilitates hair follicles and slows hair loss. Found in high amounts in baker's yeast.

Vitamin C: Stimulates blood flow.

Folic Acid: Regrows cells which promote hair growth.

Iron: Iron deficiency may be related to alopecia areata (spot baldness) and excessive hair loss (6).

Strengthening Hair Vitamin B3 (Niacin): Stimulates blood flow and cares for the scalp.

Vitamin B8: Facilitates strong, healthy hair.

Zinc: Helps synthesize keratin and protects against free radicals. Is required to mobilize vitamin A, which protects the scalp (7).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Care for your hair, helping it grow thicker. Also reduce inflammation on the scalp.

Stimulating Hair Growth

Vitamin E: Helps hair grow (by absorbing oxygen) and increases shine. Stimulates hair regrowth.

Vitamin C: Promotes collagen production.

Improving Hair Shine Vitamin A: Increases sebum production, which improves hair texture and moisture.

Vitamin E: Acts as an antioxidant and protects damaged locks.

Vitamin B1: Gives hair more shine.

Every day, about 80 to 150 hairs fall out! That may seem like a lot to you, but it's a healthy amount which allows new hair to replace the old.

Buying Criteria

In your search for haircare vitamins, you'll probably run into products of questionable quality. To avoid getting conned, we recommend you keep these criteria in mind:

Capsule Composition

As you saw in our list of favorites, not all haircare vitamins have the same composition. Many have vitamin B7 (biotin) among the ingredients. However, some use it in combination with other nutrients, quite often zinc. Others offer biotin in different proportions.

In our FAQ, we provided a list of the most commonly found nutrients and vitamins in these supplements. Analyze your own hair's issues and decide which vitamins to look for, keeping this list in mind. The important thing to remember is that not all vitamin capsules are alike, and they may serve different purposes.

Avoid washing your hair with extremely hot water. Plus, use a gentle and sulfate-free shampoo. 
(Source: Puhhha: 70675757/ 123rf.com)

Format

Most of the vitamins we recommended in our favorites list were capsules. However, these supplements may come in other forms. You can find solutions, pills, drops, and candies on the market. There's something for everyone, so feel free to choose what best suits your own preferences.

You don't have to worry that quality will be compromised. All over-the-counter haircare vitamin products you might find are taken orally - which means that in reality, they're practically the same format. Those of you who hate swallowing large pills can opt for liquids, candies, or gummies.

Additives

Certain haircare vitamins, especially those trying to be more pleasant to swallow, include various additives in their formulas. These can include sweeteners or coloring agents. Candy-like supplements with fruit flavors and appealing shapes and colors are the obvious example.

Because some people cannot swallow pills as large as vitamin capsules tend to be, companies have designed friendlier formats. However, if you don't have problems with swallowing just one pill a day, we recommend avoiding these artificial additives. They may cause indigestion and even allergic reactions.

Packaging

There are various ways of packaging vitamins on the market: they can be sold in bottles or in blister packs, for example. Keep in mind that normally, you'll be taking one a day, as that's the recommended dose for most manufacturers. Therefore, we recommend a package which contains enough vitamins for a few months.

Consider your future purchases and needs and think ahead. Some brands offer the option to buy packs of multiple bottles at a lower bulk price, or even purchase a subscription. Evaluate your own situation and buy the vitamins best suited to your lifestyle.

Haircare vitamins are a convenient way to stimulate hair growth and keep your mane strong, healthy, and beautiful.

Ask Your Doctor

As we've mentioned throughout this article, you can find a wide variety of vitamin and mineral combinations intended for hair on the market. If you have any doubts, we suggest you ask your doctor or pharmacist before giving one a try, since irresponsible or excessive use may be counterproductive.

When taken in excess, "certain fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E, and K can accumulate and have harmful effects, causing tissue damage" (9). Don't forget that vitamins can have effects on your health even though they're not medications. Don't take a product if you suspect you may be allergic or intolerant to any of its ingredients.

Summary

Your hair is an important part of your appearance. It has noticeable effects on your own self-image as well as how others perceive you. But beyond that, your hair reflects your emotional state, the balance of your health, and your diet. It just can't keep a secret!

More and more people are now taking vitamins specifically for their hair. No prescription is needed, and they're available in a variety of formats - even candies! They also vary in composition, so don't forget to seek expert advice before choosing a vitamin supplement.

Have you ever tried a vitamin product for your hair? Tell us about it in the comments. Plus, don't forget to share this guide if you found it interesting.

(Featured image source: Tverdokhlib: 103273966/ 123rf.com)

References (10)

1. Leire Azcona Barbed (2004): «Complementos nutricionales en cosmética», en El Sevier, vol. 18, núm. 10, págs. 52-56.
Source

2. Ramón Bonet y Antonieta Garrote (2010): «Salud capilar. Enfoque integral», en El Sevier, vol. 29, núm. 5, págs. 52-58.
Source

3. Cecile Fanghanel Hayaux du Tilly, Montserrat Palacios Montaña y Stephano Salazar Pulse Brook (2014): «La biotina como una alternativa para reducir la pérdida de cabello en jóvenes de un grupo de preparatoria del Colegio Marymount», en XXV Congreso de Investigación CUAM-AC.
Source

4. Daniela Araucaria Guzmán Sánchez, Noé Alfaro Alfaro y Cecilia Sandoval-Trees (2010): «Estructura molecular y desarrollo del pelo», en Dermatología Cosmética, Médica y Quirúrgica, vol. 8, núm. 1, págs. 54-61.
Source

5. Cleveland Clinic (2020): «The Best Vitamins, Supplements and Products for Healthier Hair», en Health Essentials.
Source

6. Song Youn Park, Se Young Na, Jun Hwan Kim, Soyun Cho y Jong Hee Lee (2013): «Iron Plays a Certain Role in Patterned Hair Loss», en Journal of Korean Medical Science, vol. 28, núm. 6, págs. 934-938.
Source

7. Mª Antonia Lizárraga Dallo (2004): «Activos nutricionales y su efecto sobre el cabello», en Medicina Cutánea Ibero-Latino-Americana, vol. 32, núm. 5.
Source

8. Araceli Nicolás (2019): «¿Funcionan las vitaminas para el pelo?», en Telva. Disponible en: https://www.telva.com/belleza/pelo/2019/10/21/5dacc64b02136e39508b4634.html
Source

9. Xavier García-Navarro, Francisca Corella, Esther Roé, Jaime Dalmau y Lluís Puig (2006): «Vitaminas, minerales y salud capilar», en El Sevier, vol. 20, núm. 2, págs. 71-73.
Source

10. Osvaldo Féliz Sánchez (2016): «Las vitaminas», en Revista Médica de Rosario, núm. 82, págs. 106-107.
Source

Informative article
Leire Azcona Barbed (2004): «Complementos nutricionales en cosmética», en El Sevier, vol. 18, núm. 10, págs. 52-56.
Go to source
Informative article
Ramón Bonet y Antonieta Garrote (2010): «Salud capilar. Enfoque integral», en El Sevier, vol. 29, núm. 5, págs. 52-58.
Go to source
Informative article
Cecile Fanghanel Hayaux du Tilly, Montserrat Palacios Montaña y Stephano Salazar Pulse Brook (2014): «La biotina como una alternativa para reducir la pérdida de cabello en jóvenes de un grupo de preparatoria del Colegio Marymount», en XXV Congreso de Investigación CUAM-AC.
Go to source
Scientific article
Daniela Araucaria Guzmán Sánchez, Noé Alfaro Alfaro y Cecilia Sandoval-Trees (2010): «Estructura molecular y desarrollo del pelo», en Dermatología Cosmética, Médica y Quirúrgica, vol. 8, núm. 1, págs. 54-61.
Go to source
Scientific article
Cleveland Clinic (2020): «The Best Vitamins, Supplements and Products for Healthier Hair», en Health Essentials.
Go to source
Scientific article
Song Youn Park, Se Young Na, Jun Hwan Kim, Soyun Cho y Jong Hee Lee (2013): «Iron Plays a Certain Role in Patterned Hair Loss», en Journal of Korean Medical Science, vol. 28, núm. 6, págs. 934-938.
Go to source
Scientific article
Mª Antonia Lizárraga Dallo (2004): «Activos nutricionales y su efecto sobre el cabello», en Medicina Cutánea Ibero-Latino-Americana, vol. 32, núm. 5.
Go to source
Informative article
Araceli Nicolás (2019): «¿Funcionan las vitaminas para el pelo?», en Telva. Disponible en: https://www.telva.com/belleza/pelo/2019/10/21/5dacc64b02136e39508b4634.html
Go to source
Informative article
Xavier García-Navarro, Francisca Corella, Esther Roé, Jaime Dalmau y Lluís Puig (2006): «Vitaminas, minerales y salud capilar», en El Sevier, vol. 20, núm. 2, págs. 71-73.
Go to source
Informative article
Osvaldo Féliz Sánchez (2016): «Las vitaminas», en Revista Médica de Rosario, núm. 82, págs. 106-107.
Go to source
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