The Truth About Hair Supplements: Do You Need Them?

Janell M. Hickman
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Hair trends may come and go—but one thing never goes out of style: thick, full, shiny hair. More and more ladies might be opting for daring cropped styles, but there is something classically covetable about lengthy locks. However, the growing out process can be mundane and require a heavy dash of patience. Several vitamins (and supplements) on the market promise rapid follicle growth in a flash but do they really meet (or even exceed) expectations? A few experts chime in about the pros (and cons) of this potential beauty hack. You might be about to say “long hair, don’t care” sooner than you think!

Track Your Length
“The figure that is used [for average hair growth] most often is six inches per year or half an inch per month,” shares Walter Faulstroh, founder of  HUM Nutrition. “One has to keep in mind though that this figure may vary depending on ethnicity. There was a study in 2005 that measured average growth rates by ethnicity, with Asian hair growing the fastest at 6 inches per year, followed by Caucasian hair (5 inches per year) and African [American] hair (4 inches per year).”

Know Your A,B,C’s
“Biotin is the most popular ingredients to promote healthy hair growth,” shares Christyn M. Nawrot, National Educator for Phyto Hair Care. “However, if biotin is not accompanied by complex B vitamins it doesn’t absorb effectively to reap the benefits of thicker, fuller and longer hair. Vitamins A, C and E are excellent antioxidants that truly protect the hair bulb.  Meanwhile, essential fatty acid from ingredients like fish oil and omega fatty acids are ideal for providing beautiful, long-lasting shine on your hair.”

Supplement Your Supplements
“Using a topical treatment or serum can also help to stimulate healthy hair growth,” shares Michelle Blaisure, a trichologist and Director of Education for Bosley Professional Strength. “ You might want to use something like our BosRevive hair care regime while in the process taking supplements.  Our system is designed to be used together, allowing users to see results in one to three months.”

Treat Your Strands with Care
“Keep [your hair care regiment] simple—be careful with heat tools like blowdryers and irons,” warns Nawrot. “When heat styling, use a thermal protectant to protect the hair fiber (like Phytokeratine Thermal Protecting Spray ). Additionally, use caution when doing chemical services and color services.”

Think Strength Not Necessarily Growth
“Generally speaking, there is a major misconception about hair vitamins accelerating hair growth. Any hair growth acceleration would be marginal so not worth mentioning,” explains Faulstroh. “Nutritional supplements for hair will help by strengthening, thickening and reducing breakage and hair loss. As a result, your hair becomes fuller and longer since hair doesn’t fall out as much—giving the impression of accelerated hair growth.”

Great Hair Starts From Within
“Diet is one of the most important factors in promoting all over wellness especially healthy hair,” explains Nawrot. “Remember, vitamins only ‘supplement’ our diet—eating foods rich in antioxidants  like green leafy vegetables plus nutrient and mineral-rich foods always promote healthy hair growth,” she warns. “Anything that reduces blood flow to hair follicles should be avoided: smoking, diets high in salt and foods that lead to high cholesterol (such as fried foods) or excessive consumption of fatty and processed meats,” adds Faulstroh.

Beyond Growth, Vitamins Have Other Benefits
“Internal support is important especially if you are under stress or have changes going on in your life. ” explains Blaisure. “Botanicals found in our women’s formula (along with horsetail extract) also can benefit your skin and nails.  Another ingredients like saw palmetto (which is is found in our men’s formula) is considered to be a natural DHT inhibitor.”

Give It A Break
“Hair supplements ensure that you are getting the most out our your growth cycles,” explains Nawrot. “It is a best practice to stop taking the hair supplements from time to time for month or so to allow your body to function naturally. The rate of growth may slow a bit, but physical activity will assist in continued health and well-being.”

Hair Growth Can Occur…Everywhere
“Although the hair on the top of your head is much more sensitive to hormonal changes, hair is programed in certain areas to grow to a certain length and size,” cautions Blaisure. “Supplements and nutrients won’t necessarily be able to drastically change that. However, they can support the growth of healthier hair when and where possible.” Nawrot suggests drug- and hormone-free options to avoid common undesired facial and arm hair growth.

Breakouts Might Occur
“In some cases, biotin has made people break out—in the end everybody is unique,” cautions Faulstroh. “The more natural approach hair supplements that don’t contain hormones are the best choice,” Nawrot chimes in. “Hormones can easily disrupt the delicate balance of the skin and cause dreaded breakouts. Follow the directions carefully to get the most from your vitamins—taking more than recommend will not make them work faster. In fact, your body will protect itself and eliminate the overabundance of vitamins and nutrients thus causing skin breakouts (and other adverse effects).”

Protein is The Building Block To Great Hair
“Getting enough protein [in your diet is important] since your body uses 20% of your intake to produce hair and skin cells,” shares Blaisure. “These [hair and skin cells] are some of the fastest reproducing cells in the body, resulting in requiring a lot of energy. A healthy diet is especially important.”

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