A Complete Guide to Biotin for Hair, Skin and Nails
What is Biotin?
Named for the positive benefits to hair and nails, biotin is an essential vitamin you may not know about yet. Otherwise known as vitamin H, biotin improves thinning hair, brittle nails and skin rashes. It is a member of the B family of vitamins, and is named for the German words haur (hair) and haut (nails). The role of biotin is to provide the body with an essential vitamin for hair and nail growth. It has also shown a protective role for healthy skin repair.
Biotin was initially identified in the 1940s when individuals with a diet low in biotin presented with hair loss, brittle nails and dermatologic irregularities. It was initially linked to diets in which raw egg whites are consumed. Raw egg whites contain a protein that prevents biotin from being absorbed in the stomach.1 Once eggs are cooked this biotin-inhibiting protein is deactivated. For those who eat raw eggs or raw egg whites, biotin supplementation is essential. The role of biotin supplementation is to ensure adequate amounts of biotin are available to the body to continue hair and nail growth and to optimize skin rejuvenation.
Why is Biotin in my product?
Biotin is a water soluble vitamin. This makes it a safe vitamin, but it also needs to be replenished on a regular basis in order to complete the essential functions of hair and nail growth. Once the daily amounts of biotin in biotin-containing foods are broken down, the body is dependent on outside intake to continue protein and cellular metabolism.2 Biotin is not stored in the body, therefore regular intake is critical for hair, skin and nail health. Once the body uses what it needs for cell growth and repair, the rest is excreted in the urine. More biotin must be ingested or taken as a supplement each day in order to avoid a deficiency.
Athletes, older adults, some smokers and anyone without an adequate intake can see the results of biotin deficiency in their hair, skin and nails. As a water soluble vitamin, biotin has a high safety range for consumption. If excess biotin is ingested, the body simply eliminates it.
What is the Role of Biotin for Hair?
Biotin is a member of the B vitamins and works as a critical coenzyme for optimum fatty acid, amino acid and glucose production for hair growth. Clinical studies have proven that a deficiency in biotin leads to thinning hair and hair loss.1 A double-blind study in women with perceived hair thinning showed improved hair thickness and scalp coverage in those individuals receiving daily biotin. Improvements were maintained at 180 days.3 No adverse events were reported in this study.
Most individuals are unaware if they have adequate intake of biotin in their daily diet. Certain conditions can lead to decreased absorption of biotin from food therefore supplementation with biotin plays an important role in improving and maintaining healthy hair.
What is the Role of Biotin for Skin?
The cell architecture of skin relies on amino acids to build polypeptides for new skin growth. Biotin and the family of B vitamins are important in the transport of these essential amino acids.4 Biotin specifically has been identified as a key vitamin to protect and improve skin health. Multiple studies have shown skin integrity is compromised in people with a biotin deficiency.
A study completed in 2018 showed a combination of B vitamins, including biotin can lead to improved production of healthy new skin. This combination of vitamins including biotin improved wound healing and wound closure by 25-30%. In particular the building blocks of new skin growth including keratinocyte proliferation was improved.
What is the Role of Biotin for Nails?
Biotin has a role in prevention of brittle nails and in strengthening the nail bed. Three studies have shown improvement in treating brittle nails with biotin.5,6,7 In each study, the majority of participants reported clinical improvement in nail thickness. Biotin deficiency has been proven to cause thinning and brittle nails. With daily supplementation biotin can improve problem nails and potentially decrease peeling and nail breakage.
Weak or brittle nails can be caused by damage or from invisible vitamin deficiencies. Adequate amounts of biotin must be consumed daily to allow the body to manufacture proteins and amino acids involved in nail growth and thickness of nails.
Hair, skin and nails all rely on keratin, an important protein for adequate development. Biotin plays a key role in protein transport to hair, skin and nails to ensure growth and resiliency against damage.