You’ve seen the commercials. You’ve purchased the products. You’ve bought into the hype but have yet to see results. The pursuit for sultry, wavy, silky tresses has topped your must-have list for years, with salon visits and product purchases racking up the miles. To wane our curiosity on all things hair care, we pressed Dr. Joseph Yaker with the Texas Center for Hair Restoration (pictured below) on hair supplement myths and ultimately what really works in the grand scheme of things. Giving two thumbs up to the power of keratin versus other hair vitamins, here are four key takeaways for hair improvement you need to know today to get one step closer to healthier, fuller hair.
1. Biotin is categorized as the hair, skin, and nails vitamin, and is recommended all over the web. Shouldn’t I take this supplement daily to strengthen my hair?
No. “There are weak studies to prove that biotin helps improve hair,” Dr. Yaker says. He notes hair improvement only in those rare cases where the patient has a biotin deficiency – something that is also extremely rare. Deficiencies are marked by scaly rashes around the eyes, nose, and mouth, and can often cause hallucinations and seizures. Due to the unlikeliness of this occurrence, biotin intake should be extremely limited.
2. But if I want stronger hair, I need to give it protein. Biotin increases protein, so it must promote hair growth.
False. Undoubtedly, biotin is a part of the B-vitamin complex group and plays a vital role in the building blocks of protein. However, this often over-utilized supplement is naturally made by the bacteria in our intestines. It is also found in common food items such as almonds, egg yolk, chicken, and fish. Given its commonality in our diets and systems, digesting the vitamin as an additional supplement can actually cause an overdose of the recommended dosage, which is .03 milligrams.
3. Keratin is also a popular hair vitamin supplement. In a toss-up between biotin and keratin, who wins?
According to Dr. Yaker, keratin wins hands down. “Keratin is the essential component of hair,” he says. “It is already made in the body. Your hair is made of 97% keratin and the rest is water. Moreso, keratin is made out of amino acids. 18 out of 20 amino acids that the body needs to survive are made up in keratin protein.”
While many bloggers and hair specialists encourage the use of biotin for improved hair strength and quality, Dr. Yaker recommends ingesting keratin supplements in its place. Check out his AminoPlex hair repair vitamins here.
4. So Keratin it is! Any other words of wisdom to promote healthy hair care?
Adhere to the cliché, and don’t neglect your scalp. “The scalp is just as important as the skin on your face, and as the skin on your body,” Dr. Yaker emphasizes. “Treat your scalp.”
Here’s why. Every day the hair builds up oils, sweat, hair care products and more, forming a plaque. The plaque will sit on top of the hair inevitably limiting hair growth. Ultimately it will increase the pH level of your scalp and create an unhealthy imbalance, which could damage your scalp and inhibit proper hair health, growth, and texture. While the advice may seem mundane, daily use of shampoos with pH levels over 5.5 could cause damage. Maintaining a pH between 4.5 and 5.5 is healthy and will reduce the likelihood of dry, frizzy hair. Call Dr. Yaker obsessed if you may, but as an experienced hair doctor, he crafts his own shampoo and conditioner that contain glycolic acid for exfoliating power to bring the pH levels back down to their normal levels. In our opinion, the doctor knows best.