One of the most common questions that comes into our minds while talking about wellness, lifestyle and beauty. It’s one of those topics that combine skincare, haircare, healthy eating and lifestyle into one picture. Do skin, hair and nail supplements really work? We already know various answers to this question. Some of us support the claims made by the companies which produce these products about the effectiveness, while some of us don’t just believe in the idea of adding supplements in our lifestyle. Before joining either sides, let’s go into detail and try to make an informed decision.
Our standard order of topics should be: Why do we need supplements? What factors to consider before taking any skin and hair supplements? What is Biotin? Once we understand these points, we will find ourselves better equipped to arrive at a conclusion.
Why do we need supplements?
The simple answer is modern lifestyle. I am sure we all have an aunt in the family who had glowing skin, thick long voluminous hair and shiny nails in her younger days. And they all have effective home remedies for every possible problem with our skin, hair and nails. A common factor in all these home remedies is the use of natural products, and no chemicals. Moreover, nutrition was of utmost importance back in the day, with fewer processed foods available.
Naturally, it was easier to maintain good skin, long hair and strong nails. And even today, we have agony aunts with ancient solutions to our modern problems.
But, in today’s lifestyle, multiple factors have changed.
Given our busy schedule, we do not have time to use these tried and tested home remedies. Ask yourself: do you have time to give your hair an oil massage in the morning when you must be in office by 7:30 AM or at night when you come home tired after a long day at work?
The environment and climate are also not the same. As per the World Health Organization, ‘9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants’. And we all are aware of the harmful effects of pollution and dust on our skin and hair.
Now, moving onto the third factor, the focus on maintaining a nutritious meal rich in vitamins and minerals has moved to trying easy-to-make processed foods low in essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Many popular skincare brands have launched moisturizers, facewash, night creams rich in Vitamin A, C and E. Of course, these can be helpful but the impact that comes from eating fruits rich in these vitamins is much more long lasting. Likewise, our hair needs proteins. And if we are not getting it from our diet, we need to get it from another source, such as supplements.
Fourth factor: Stress. Mental stress is quite prevalent today. Cases of depression are rising in numbers. And with stress, the stress hormone increases which causes excess oil. This can lead to acne. Stress also causes hair loss. An addition of form of Yoga and meditation in our daily routine can help reduce stress and the subsequent skin damage and hair fall.
And the most important factor in my opinion is the overall evolution of the new generation. It’s not a physical evolution, instead a social evolution, more to do with behavior, habits and lifestyle choices. And I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with this. But, there should be a balance. Use cosmetics, but at the same time, maintain a regular skincare routine. Use hair products and hair appliances, but don’t forget to also pamper it with a good oil massage.
Consequently, we all somewhere have deficiencies which in turn lead to hair fall, acnes, dull skin or brittle nails. And that’s why we resort to supplements.
But do they really work? Is there any right or wrong answer?
Multiple studies have been conducted to test the effectiveness of these supplements. But, in my opinion, it’s difficult to arrive at a result. Unless, we can find 2 individuals with the exact same genes, same eating habits, same physical attributes (skin type, hair type, etc.) and then get them to volunteer for an experiment conducted over a few months by keeping them under same conditions, it’s difficult to say with 100% guarantee whether it works or not.
From a personal experience, we can take supplements in combination with maintaining an effective self-care routine, focusing more on organic brands, and avoiding processed foods as much as we can. If used in isolation, it’s not fair to comment on its efficiency. Because if we are eating junk as well as taking supplements and then also complaining about acne, we cannot just blame the supplements.
I would recommend considering the below factors before deciding to use any skin and hair supplements.
Firstly, make sure to check with your doctor. If you are already under some prescribed medication, then it’s worth a shot to figure out if taking these supplements in addition to other medication can have potential health related side effects. Secondly, one size fits all? Well, the answer is no. In the case of supplements, we should not start using a brand just because it worked for our friends.
We all have different types of skin, hair and nails. What worked for your colleague may not necessarily work for you. Check the label and consult with a skin and hair expert to understand what works for you. Also, find out the dosage that is appropriate for your existing health conditions. Overdose can have its own side effects.
And the key is to maintain consistency. If we take supplements for 2 weeks, then skip for another 4 weeks and then again start, it won’t be effective. It doesn’t work like this. We must continue to follow a balanced routine for months before it starts to make any positive impact.
If we are talking about skin, hair and nail supplements, we cannot ignore Biotin. One of the main vitamins in these supplements. Biotin reinforces keratin which constitutes our hair, skin and nails. Lack of biotin is not very common. Then, why is the focus on biotin? The answer lies in the above factors which are causing multiple skin and hair problems.
Because of other deficiencies and skin problems such as acne arising from unhealthy eating habits, environmental change and various other factors, we turn to vitamins such as biotin to compensate for everything. Simply put, our vehicle is low on petrol, so we think we can use diesel to fix it. Don’t forget, it’s a short-term fix. It’s not a permanent solution to our problems. To create the initial ignition, we can use supplements but for a more stable long-lasting solution, we should factor in all the other aspects discussed earlier.
As they say, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In the same way, we cannot just rely on supplements to take care of all our problems.
Now let’s summarize:
Problem – Solution
● Busy Schedule – Better Time Management and Routine Lifestyle (follow a checklist)
● Environmental Factor/Cosmetics/Hair Products – Proper Skincare and Haircare/Use of Organic Products
● Processed Food – Foods rich in Vitamins, Fiber, Minerals, Proteins, Fatty Acid
● Stress – Meditation & Yoga
● Social Evolution – Balances between Modern Choices and Healthy Choices
Supplements can compensate for the deficiencies arising from the above problems in short term
Skin and hair supplements rich in biotin can give an initial boost to our hair, skin and nails if we are taking it after properly consulting with experts, maintaining consistency in our eating habits and lifestyle choices and ensuring the above solutions are incorporated in our lifestyle on a long-term basis.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A financial analyst by day, an entrepreneur by night. Prerna is passionate about healthy living and leaves no stone unturned to promote a lifestyle focused on nutrition, fitness and wellness. She started her blog, Nutrition Nerds to Fitness Geeks to pursue her passion so she can do what she enjoys. One of her main goals is to engage and entertain her readers with her articles.