There are so many companies making supplements that claim so much about skin, hair, and nail health, but are they really doing any good? Or are they just another “claim” with no results? You can spend a ton of money on these supplements, but are they worth it?
But can a supplement really restore your hair, skin, and nails? Here’s what the research shows: Science Says
Hair, skin, and nail supplements commonly contain antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E, or Coenzyme Q10, as well as biotin, a B-complex vitamin. The minerals manganese and selenium are often found in supplements marketed for healthy hair, along with fatty acids such as fish oil and flaxseed oil.
Deficiencies of these nutrients, although uncommon, these may cause a litany of hair—and, sometimes, skin and nail—changes. Over time, for instance, insufficient intake of vitamins A and E can cause rough, scaly skin patches. A deficiency of biotin may cause eczema and hair loss.
But for those with no clear deficiencies, experts say there’s no good evidence that supplements can make a difference.
“I’m not aware of any robust data suggesting that any supplements can treat natural, aging-related hair loss or nail damage, or give you healthier skin,” says Pieter Cohen, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an expert on dietary supplements.
Two 1990s studies did find that biotin supplements may help strengthen soft, easily breakable nails. But the studies were small and not rigorously conducted, and haven’t been replicated, Cohen says.
“It’s nothing that would ever lead me to recommend it to any of my patients,” he adds.
What If You’re Deficient?
Most people get enough of the nutrients mentioned above through diet, but in rare cases, a medical problem may cause a deficiency or affect your hair, nails, or skin. People who take antibiotics long-term or use antiseizure drugs, for instance, are more likely to be biotin-deficient. An over or underactive thyroid may cause hair loss and dry strands. Iron-deficiency anemia can lead to brittle, oddly shaped nails.
If you’re experiencing chronic hair, nail, and skin problems for no clear reason, talk with your doctor. “If nothing shows up after appropriate testing, because we don’t have a good blood test to detect biotin deficiency, it might be worthwhile to try a supplement for three months,” says Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports’ chief medical adviser. “Since biotin supplements can interfere with thyroid testing, make your doctor aware.”
But remember that dietary supplements are not tightly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and might contain substances not listed on the label or have much less or more of an ingredient than promised. For example, in 2008, one brand of multivitamin was found to have 200 times the labeled concentration of selenium—after it had caused hair loss and discolored, brittle nails in about 200 people across 10 states.
If you choose to take supplements, can you ensure that they are safe? Some carry one of four seals that might have some merit (U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, ConsumerLab.com, and UL).
The best thing to do at present is to rely on external aids, like our overnight masks, oils, conditioners, and other incredible formulas that we make here at Private Label Skincare Florida. Call us today, we can create products with superfoods, and many vitamins and minerals, and other hair and skin healthy ingredients. In the future, we plan to add some incredible supplements to our line, when they are a bit more regulated, and effective, for now, we have the answers to all your skin and hair care needs.