Going crazy seeing your hair shed? Hair fall might be far more common than you think!
According to research published in the International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, 12% of women start noticing thinning and shedding hair by age 29 years and 25% by age 49. Consequently, the demand for hair loss treatment is showing a steep increase between age groups 25 and 50.
Hair loss is a distressful and complex phenomenon with multiple types and potential causes ranging from as simple as nutritional deficiencies to as complex as hormones and genetics.
Luckily, a variety of over-the-counter products are helpful against thinning and shedding of hair. Of all the products, a member of the Vitamin B family, biotin, has shown proven benefits for improving hair growth, health, and texture.
What is Biotin?
Biotin (B7) is a water-soluble vitamin and is also referred to as “Vitamin H.” It helps the body extract energy from food. The word “Biotin” originates from the Greek word “biotos’ meaning life and sustenance.
It is essential for healthy hair, skin, nails, eyes, liver, nervous system, pregnancy, and embryonic growth. Furthermore, supplemental biotin also helps regulate blood sugar and promote healthy skin and hair.
Additional health benefits of biotin include:
- Decreased Inflammation
- Better cognition
- It helps regulate blood sugar levels in diabetic patients
- It helps increase High-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as good cholesterol
- It decreases Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol
Foods relatively rich in biotin include liver, egg yolk, mushrooms, bananas, broccoli, sweet potatoes, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
How does biotin work?
Biotin is a coenzyme for five different carboxylase enzymes involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The carboxylation reactions lead to pyruvate production to oxalacetate, acetyl-CoA to malonyl-CoA, and propionyl-CoA to methylmalonyl-CoA. These conversions extract glucose from the food. Glucose is the primary source of energy for the body and brain.
Most of the foods we eat contain protein-bound biotin. Proteases and Peptidases in the Gastrointestinal tract break down the ingested biotin, bound to protein, into biocytin and biotin-oligopeptides.
The intestinal enzyme, biotinidase, releases free biotin from these breakdown products. The free biotin is then absorbed in the small intestine and stored in the liver.
Recently, biotin has been recognized to have new roles like cell signaling and epigenetic regulations. Biotin also supports the hair protein “keratin,” a primary structural component of hair. Therefore, biotin deficiency leads to thinning of hair.
What is Biotin Shampoo?
When used on the scalp, Biotin Shampoo helps increase biotin levels in the body without taking the vitamin orally. It improves keratin in the hair, making them healthy and strong. Biotin shampoo is one of the healthiest choices one can make for one’s hair.
Does Biotin Shampoo Help with Thinning Hair?
Since biotin is the primary building block of keratin, it is an essential ingredient for healthy and strong hair. Its deficiency causes thinning of hair that progresses to hair loss. However, biotin deficiency is rare because we take most of the required amount of biotin in our daily diet.
Confirmed cases of biotin deficiency are few. Although rare, women suffering from hair loss tend to have biotin deficiency nonetheless. A study published in 2016 demonstrated that almost 40% of the participants experiencing hair loss had measurable biotin deficiency. Hence, although biotin deficiency is rare, it still remains the first significant cause of hair loss until proven otherwise.
So, does biotin shampoo help thinning hair? The answer is “YES!”
Biotin can be absorbed from the skin and scalp. Therefore, topical application of biotin shampoo increases serum levels of biotin in subjects. In a dry, flaky scalp, dead skin cells are not easily removed from hair follicles.
Consequently, hair does not undergo its natural growth cycle and begins to thin out and fall. Biotin shampoo rehydrates the scalp and unclogs the pores of the dead skin cells. This helps hair undergo its natural growth cycle.
Shampoos enriched with biotin deliver essential vitamins and minerals to the scalp and hair shafts. These vitamins and minerals improve circulation to the hair and restore hair health, moisture, and growth. Furthermore, hair is made of protein, and adding biotin will help them utilize amino acids for growth.
However, since biotin shampoos are designed to be rinsed away, the scalp might not enough time to soak biotin and influence its levels to promote hair growth.
Does Biotin Work? What Does the Research Say?
Biotin is widely taken in the form of oral supplements and topical application as shampoo. It prevents hair thinning and promotes the growth of healthy hair. But does biotin actually work?
Numerous Researches support the efficacy of biotin in promoting healthy hair growth. A clinical study conducted in 2015 demonstrated a close link between biotin and hair growth. Out of 60 subjects included in the study, 30 were given a placebo.
The other 30 were supplemented with a biotin-containing oral marine protein supplement. Follow-up results after 90 days showed a noticeable increase in hair growth among women who received marine protein supplements.
At the beginning of the study, digital pictures of the affected areas of the scalp in the subjects were taken, the scalp was washed, and any shed hair was counted. Results were later compared at the end of the study.
A similar study conducted in 2014 showed evidence that biotin can reverse hair loss and improve hair growth. The subjects had developed drug-induced biotin deficiency. Biotin supplementation in these subjects resulted in the reversal of hair loss and visibly improved hair growth.
Ablon Glynis, MD, assessed the ability of biotin supplements to reduce thinning hair and improve healthy hair growth. A randomized trial was conducted in 2012 on women 21 to 75 years of age.
The results were compared between the placebo group and those receiving biotin treatment. Participants receiving biotin supplements observed improvement in hair growth and quality after 90 and 180 days of supplementation.
Ralph M Trüeb, in 2016, studied the association of low biotin levels with hair loss. Serum biotin levels were performed in 541 female patients. Biotin deficiency was more prevalent among females with seborrheic dermatitis and hair fall.
However, despite increasing commercial popularity, there is not enough research to support the role of biotin in improving hair growth.
Is Biotin Shampoo Safe?
Biotin shampoo is the healthiest and most nourishing choice one can make for one’s hair. Various studies have shown that biotin dose up to 200 mg daily shows no adverse effects.
Intravenous biotin dose up to 20mg in individuals with pre-existing biotinidase deficiency showed no severe side effects.
The maximum daily intake of biotin in adults (30mcg) is not yet associated with any severe adverse health effect.
Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) was unable to set Upper Limit for Biotin intake because it showed no toxicity in humans at high intakes. If supplemented beyond recommended daily intake, biotin can alter specific laboratory test results leading to misdiagnosis and mismanagement of the medical condition.
Furthermore, biotin shows drug interactions with some medications while others adversely affect serum biotin levels. Anticonvulsants reduce serum biotin levels.
Therefore, biotin supplementation is safe for individuals on long-term anticonvulsant therapy. It is advised to take biotin 2 to 3 hours apart from anticonvulsant drugs to avoid possible interaction.
Apart from all, stomach upset and diarrhea the only known common side effects of biotin supplementation.
Many doctors recommend oral biotin supplementation and biotin shampoos for hair fall. Biotin shampoos stimulate and hydrate the scalp and are beneficial for hair conditions like alopecia.
In general, biotin is safe to use and well-tolerated.
Is Biotin Shampoo Worth It?
According to researchers and doctors, biotin is not a miracle ingredient for reversing hair loss. Still, it is capable of producing significant and measurable effects on hair growth. Long story short, biotin might help improve hair growth. Its deficiency might not be the only reason for hair loss.
Using biotin shampoo is still a good option, nonetheless. Women experiencing hair loss due to biotin deficiency are likely to benefit from biotin shampoo without taking oral biotin supplements.
Furthermore, many biotin shampoos contain other hair-strengthening ingredients like coconut oil and saw palmetto.
Finally, biotin shampoos don’t pose any health risks. Unlike other drugs, whose oral intake can cause some side effects, biotin is very safe to use. Therefore, benefits aside, biotin use is not associated with any adverse health effects.
Overall, biotin shampoo helps improve hair health and prevent hair loss. Although it does not promise to dramatically reverse hair fall, it is not linked to any severe unwanted effects.
What Things Should We Consider When Buying Biotin Shampoo?
Biotin shampoo plays a dual role for hair by cleansing them and nourishing them with hair-boosting ingredients. A variety of the following hair-boosting ingredients are added into biotin shampoos to improve hair strength, volume, and shine.
Collagen is a structural protein essential for the strength and elasticity of hair. It provides the protein and amino acids needed to make keratin. When applied on the scalp, collagen maintains elasticity and moisture in the dermis helping hair grow strong. Dr. Melissa Anzelone, ND at Nutrafol, explains collagen as an essential building block of solid hair.
Aloe Vera is a plant with soothing and moisturizing abilities Enzymes in aloe vera repair damaged hair by stimulating hair follicles and promoting new hair growth. With its antifungal properties, Aloe Vera is also known to reduce dandruff.
Coconut Oil is rich in fatty acids. It maintains the keratin in hair and reduces hair damage. Furthermore, it gives shine and strength to scalp hair.
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Hydrolyzed wheat protein is used to treat thinning hair. It thickens the hair shaft and locks moisture into it. It adds volume, shine, and manageability to hair, helping repair damaged hair.
Saw Palmetto helps treat male patterned baldness. It blocks the formation of Dihydrotestosterone, the main culprit of male-patterned baldness. The topical application of saw palmetto helps promote hair growth.
Zinc supplementation is gold for hair health. The deficiency of this mineral can cause severe hair problems. Topical application of zinc to the scalp in the form of a shampoo can help mitigate hair issues.
Combined with biotin, all these ingredients, as mentioned earlier, can help solve some serious hair problems like hair fall.
Depending on one’s personal preferences, the scent is an essential consideration for buying a shampoo. The scent you choose will stay in your hair for a long. You are sensitive to fragrances, use a scent-free shampoo, or have essential oils instead of synthetic fragrance.
Sulfate in the shampoo I responsible for the lathering effect. However, they’re notorious for depriving hair of its natural moisture, leaving them dry and brittle. Therefore, choose a sulfate-free shampoo.
Make sure to check the ingredients listed on the shampoo. Following are some of the unwanted ingredients in a shampoo:
- sodium lauryl sulfate
- sodium laureth sulfate
- isopropyl alcohol
- disodium EDTA
- propylene glycol stearate
These ingredients are harsh and can damage the scalp and dry hair out. The result is brittle, weak, and easily breakable hair. Some of these chemicals are also found in antifreeze and can seep into the skin, causing further damage.
How Long It Takes for Results to Appear?
Many women do not see any noticeable results on their hair unless they continue using biotin for a long time. Consistency is the key!
Although research is limited and outcomes vary according to individuals, results of biotin use might start to appear within as little as 90 days. Hair starts to appear long, strong, and shiny.
Biotin assists in fighting hair thinning and promoting hair regrowth. Although limited, researches support the usefulness of biotin in improving the growth and quality of hair.
Biotin is safe to use, but if unwanted symptoms appear, one should discontinue its use and consult a doctor immediately.
A 3-Month, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Ability of an Extra-Strength Marine Protein Supplement to Promote Hair Growth and Decrease Shedding in Women with Self-Perceived Thinning Hair (hindawi.com)