Biotin, also known as vitamin B-7, is an essential nutrient that is most often found naturally in food. You get it from eggs, salmon, cauliflower, avocado and cucumber. Its function in the body is to support our metabolization of carbohydrate, protein and fat—but you probably know it as a supplement you can take to encourage hair growth. Thankfully, it's not exactly common to have a biotin deficiency. Most people consume the amount of biotin for necessary for hair growth in our diets naturally. However, the reason so many people take it is that it's been shown that taking higher doses of biotin in supplement form can greatly benefit your hair, skin and nails.
This increase in love for Biotin as a supplement has led to it being labeled "hair food" and rightly so, since one of the effects seen most often is an increased rate of growth in the hair when takingit on a daily basis. The magic number seems to hover around 5,000 micrograms a day, and daily consumption is key to its efficacy. Being inconsistent when taking biotin will definitely vary your results. It's also important understand that, as with any supplement, hair growth will not happen overnight.
You'll most likely see results after about a month or so, but some people notice a difference in as little as two weeks. Biotin has also been shown to increase nail and eyelash growth, and can even be a great treatment for people who are suffering from eczema. Even alopecia has been shown to respond positively when biotin is introduced. If you're using it to treat a medical condition, however, remember to consult your doctor. It's been shown to decrease the effectiveness of some heart and anti-seizure medications.
Another great thing about Biotin is that, although it seems like it might, it won't make the hair on your body grow extra long. Unlike the hair on our head, the hair on our body gets a molecular signal to only grow to a certain length. This is what allows us to avoid having to cut and style our own arm hair. The only Biotin thickens on the face are eyebrows, and most people are pretty happy about that.
You can find pure Biotin at most drug stores, and almost all vitamin stores. Make sure to note how many mcgs of Biotin you're buying, though. If you're looking to take 5000 micrograms (mcgs) a day, you don't want to buy a bottle of 500 mcg pills. There are several brands out there that come in 1000 and 5000 mcg form. There are even some hair-specific vitamins, like Hum Nutrition's Hair Sweet Hair, ($25,) that combine other things in tandem with biotin to promote shiny, wonderful hair growth. Be careful, though—not all hair supplements are created equal, especially ones promoted online.
In supplement form, some stylists believe it's the number one most important thing to add to a client's routine if they are suffering from hair loss or thinning. And remember—consistency is key when it comes to fighting hair loss and thinning.