Hair growth vitamins: What to know before you buy

If you're anywhere near as hair-obsessed as I am, you've most likely heard about the hair vitamin craze that's been going around. It seems like everyone these days is taking supplements to support the health of their hair and get it to grow longer. Even celebrities like Kim Kardashian or Keisha Knight swear by brands like Hairfinity or Mantebolism to keep their luscious locks on point. But the question is: Do they really work?

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I've been hearing for years how vitamins can promote hair-growth, especially ones like biotin. But I'm not exactly buying into the recent hype. For one, I did some digging and there isn't too much scientific evidence out there backing up any of these hair vitamin claims. And after purchasing my first bottle of HairFinity vitamins, I went on YouTube and found a number of Vloggers who claim they got crazy side effects like hair thinning, hair loss, acne--one girl even broke into hives. So before you start popping pills, here are five things you NEED to know about hair vitamins!

Don't take prenatal vitamins if you aren't pregnant. I know so many women who have continued to take prenatal vitamins after pregnancy because they loved how luscious it left their hair and how glowy it left their skin. But doctors claim it's not such a good idea. "While prenatal vitamins are generally safe for healthy adults, they may not be suitable if you're not pregnant and not planning to become pregnant," Mayo Clinic nutritionist Katherine Zeratsky says. "During pregnancy, the recommended intake of iron is 27 milligrams (mg) a day. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 who aren't pregnant need only 18 mg a day, and women age 51 and older and all adult men need only 8 mg a day."

You might not need biotin supplements. We've all heard that biotin helps promote healthy hair and strong nails. But you may not actually need to take supplements. "Biotin deficiency is rare and low levels may result in brittle nails and hair loss," Dermatologist Dr. Richard Scher told the Huffington Post. "However, hair loss and brittle nails may have multiple causes and taking biotin supplements may actually halt this process and even help to reverse it"

You can overdose in biotin. Because biotin is found in a lot of our foods as well as multivitamins, taking supplements can lead to an overdose which can lead to a "slower release of insulin, skin rashes, lower vitamin C and B6 levels and high blood sugar levels," Dr. Susan Stuart told Styelist.com.

There can be side effects. Hair vitamins like HairFinity aren't FDA approved, which means there can be chemicals or ingredients in these supplements that aren't actually being listed. I went on YouTube and found a number of women who reacted badly to the supplements experiencing everything from hair loss to severe acne, so you definitely want to be careful.

They don't always work. If you're not maintaining a healthy diet and nourishing your hair, the vitamins may not actually work. Not to say they aren't effective, but they definitely don't do miracles. The best way to a healthy head of hair is eating clean foods, exercising regularly and taking care of your hair. Stick to sulfate-free shampoos, do a deep conditioning mask every week and get a trim every three to four months.

Image via Corbis

Topics: hair  hair growth