An ingredient you’ll notice in so many hair and skin vitamins is biotin. But what is Biotin, and why is it so popular when it comes to health and beauty? It’s even added to shampoos and conditioners to help support healthy hair growth. The thing is, does it actually work? Let’s dive deep into how what Biotin is, how it works, and the best ways to use it.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is part of the B Vitamin group - this entire group of vitamins contribute to healthy hair, skin, and nails, but today we’ll just focus on Biotin. It used to be called Vitamin H - this name was coined by the Germans, with the H standing for ‘Haar und Haut’ (hair and skin).
Now, we’re much more familiar with the name ‘Biotin’ for this B Vitamin. This name has significant meaning too. It’s linked to the Greek word “biotos”, aka life or sustenance, which hints to just how important this vitamin is for our bodies!
Biotin isn’t just a vitamin for hair - it has an important role in the body, too. It’s a water-soluble coenzyme that is essential to several of the body’s processes. Firstly, it helps the body to process fatty acids.
You might know fatty acids by their other names - Omega-3, 6, and 9. In addition to many other health benefits, these oils also have their own effect on hair growth. By helping the body process them better, Biotin may be able to help them be even more effective - so it’s almost like a two for one effect! That’s why we’ve included omega fatty acids in our hair gummy supplement.
In addition to helping the body process essential fatty acids, Biotin also helps to metabolise amino acids. These are important for all parts of the body, but especially when it comes to hair. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein - and hair is made out of protein. Specifically, keratin. Biotin may be able to support the body’s hair metabolising process better for better hair growth.
However, these are only hypotheses about how Biotin can help grow hair. The mechanism is not as well understood as Vitamin C supporting the immune system for example - but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. It’s clear to scientists that Biotin beneficially impacts keratin in the body.
When it comes to Biotin deficiencies, the symptoms affect the hair, skin and nails the most. Common issues and signs of Biotin deficiencies are:
- Brittle nails that break easily
- Scaly red rash
- Thinning hair
Because of how Biotin affects the body’s keratin processes, it’s one that can help a lot with brittle nails and thinning hair - which is why we’ve included it in our hair gummy. For best results, always follow the recommended dosage and our top tips for helping healthy hair growth, inside and out.
Does Biotin Work When Applied to Hair?
Biotin is added to a lot of products meant to be applied to hair - almost everything from shampoos to hair masks to eyelash serums has Biotin added to it. But does it work the same way?
Previously, we talked about how taking Biotin as a supplement works in the body from the inside out - what about if we applied Biotin to the hair?
So first off, we need to talk about what to expect. The thing is, for our bodies to actually use Biotin, it needs to be metabolised. Our bodies can’t do that when Biotin is applied externally - in our case, to the length of hair and the hair roots.
However, that doesn’t mean Biotin doesn’t do anything when applied to hair. According to celebrity hairstylist Richard Collins, using a product with Biotin on hair helps to strengthen the surface of the strands.
It’s a different approach to taking Biotin internally, but it’s just as important.
Strengthening the surface of your hair strands does more than you think. First off, it makes the entire strand look thicker - an effect that you’ll find comes in handy if you’re using a lash or brow serum that contains Biotin. It automatically makes your brows and lashes look thicker - how good is that?!
On top of making your hair look thicker, strengthening the surface of your hair protects it against breakage. This is less of a concern for eyebrows, but when it comes to eyelashes which are subject to curling and squeezing almost daily, this extra fortification goes a long way to ensuring that hairs grow long and strong for fuller, thicker eyelashes.
So what’s the bottom line?
Biotin is a great ingredient that works both internally and externally when it comes to strengthening hair - whether that’s the hair on your head or eyelashes, it’s got your back. Biotin is an all-around hair saver, whether it’s included in an eyelash serum, eyebrow serum or hair growth supplement.