Biotin has been lauded as a magical hair growth remedy. There are Instagram pages dedicated to it and influencers who seem to swear by it. But while it’s definitely important to get a healthy biotin intake from your diet, the benefits of biotin supplements for hair growth are often overstated.
The truth is: you probably won’t see significant hair growth results after taking biotin for just one week. The hair growth cycle lasts several months, so even if biotin supplements do have an impact, it’s likely to be a few months before you see results.
In this article, we’ll explore the link between biotin and hair loss, whether biotin supplements are really effective for healthy hair regrowth, and how long it takes to see results.
- What is biotin and does it help with hair growth?
- What results can I expect from biotin after 1 week?
- Why is biotin so popular for hair growth?
- How long after taking biotin for hair loss will you see results?
- Side effects of biotin supplements
- How long can you take biotin?
- How else can you improve your hair health?
- Learn more about vitamins for hair health
What is biotin and does it help with hair growth?
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, is part of the vitamin B complex, and it’s a necessary nutrient for healthy hair. It helps your body metabolise amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins like keratin . Since your hair is made up primarily of proteins — keratin in particular — it’s clear that biotin is important for hair health.
Biotin supplements have been shown to help improve hair quality in people with rare conditions like uncombable hair syndrome and brittle hair syndrome .
Some research has also shown that a lack of biotin may be linked with the development of male pattern baldness . Biotin supplements may help improve hair quality and texture in men with androgenetic alopecia, but not necessarily hair growth.
In fact, biotin supplements aren’t as beneficial for hair loss as social media and marketing campaigns might claim. The research is very limited, but so far there’s no evidence to suggest that biotin can improve hair growth in individuals who have adequate biotin levels .
What results can I expect from biotin after 1 week?
If you want to take biotin to see if it enhances the quality of your hair, there’s not usually any harm in doing so. It’s a safe, non-toxic supplement that the body removes via your urine if you take too much .
However, it’s important to manage your own expectations. It’s very unlikely that you’ll see any improvements in your hair after one week of biotin use.
Hair grows at a rate of approximately 2.45mm per week . So even if biotin is effective, it will take some time to see substantial changes in your hair following this systemic treatment. So it’s important to set realistic expectations about the rate of hair growth.
Here’s a rundown of the three most important factors that can affect biotin hair growth in the first week, as well as the months that follow.
1. Biotin deficiency and severity
You’re more likely to see a bigger impact from biotin supplementation early on if you have a severe biotin deficiency.
Profound biotin deficiency is very rare, with estimates suggesting it impacts up to 1 in every 137,401 people worldwide . In developed countries, the number of people affected is probably even lower. But anyone with some level of biotin deficiency may see an impact from biotin supplementation — it’s just likely to take longer to see the effects.
The most common causes of biotin deficiency are :
- Side effects of other medications
- Biotinidase deficiency in children
As you get older, the stem cells that stimulate hair growth often have longer resting phases and shorter growth phases . This applies even if you’re taking a biotin supplement. So if you’re older, you may find it takes longer to see results.
It’s also important to note that most of the research into biotin supplementation for people with biotin deficiencies has focused on children. So there’s not much evidence that it can help adults with hair loss as yet.
Health and nutrition
Biotin isn’t the only nutrient you need for healthy hair. Other vitamin deficiencies have been linked with hair loss, so it’s important that your diet contains all the nutrients you need. A well-balanced diet is the best nutrition-based approach for strong, healthy hair.
Why is biotin so popular for hair growth?
Biotin’s popularity as a hair growth drug has exploded in recent years. This is mainly due to claims made about its effectiveness on social media. For example:
Unfortunately, the supplement industry is largely unregulated. So manufacturers, retailers, and influencers can make bold claims about the effectiveness of biotin for hair growth, without having the evidence to back it up.
This level of hair repair and growth from biotin alone isn’t possible within four months. So try to avoid the media hype and focus on the facts.
How long after taking biotin for hair loss will you see results?
Biotin isn’t a quick fix, especially if you have healthy biotin levels and no pre-existing conditions that are known to respond to biotin supplementation.
Some websites claim it can improve your hair within 90 days. However, in some cases, this is based on a study that didn’t actually test biotin as part of its hair growth formula. In fact, the study cited says, “A literature search did not reveal any studies describing the use of biotin supplementation for the treatment of hair loss .”
Due to this limited research, it’s not currently known how long it takes for biotin to have an impact on your hair if you already get enough biotin in your diet.
If you have a bona fide biotin deficiency, there’s evidence that taking 900 to 10,000 micrograms per day could lead to hair improvements within 1-6 months .
Side effects of biotin supplements
For most people, the recommended daily intake of biotin is 30 micrograms . So the amounts tested in clinical trials are far higher than the amounts most people need.
While biotin is generally safe and well-tolerated, it can cause problems and side effects when taken in these massive amounts. Biotin supplement side effects include :
- Upset stomach
- Drug interactions with anticonvulsant medication
- Hormone test interference
- Excessive thirst and urination
Some of these side effects can be difficult to manage if you have another condition, such as diabetes. So be aware of the risks before you take biotin.
How long can you take biotin?
Unless biotin causes you to experience any side effects, or a doctor advises you to stop, there’s no limit to how long you can take biotin supplements.
How else can you improve your hair health?
Ultimately, if lack of biotin isn’t causing your hair loss, taking biotin supplements probably won’t fix it. Most of the hype around biotin stems from marketing and social media.
While biotin supplements can cause significant hair improvements for people with a deficiency, there’s not much evidence to show they can help people with normal biotin levels. So if you’re worried about your hair health, consider using a more tried and tested solution.
The most effective hair growth solutions include:
- Minoxidil — A topical hair growth solution that promotes hair growth by stimulating blood flow to the follicles.
- Hair styling changes — Limiting use of heat styling tools and harsh chemicals can promote healthy hair growth.
- Finasteride and Dutasteride — Oral tablets you can take to combat the effects of male pattern baldness.
- Hair transplants — If you have irreversible hair loss, a hair transplant may be the best way to increase hair density.
Speaking to a professional hair loss clinic is the best way to find an effective treatment that addresses the cause of your hair loss. Book a free consultation at the Wimpole Clinic to learn more.
Learn more about vitamins for hair health
Find out more about which vitamins, nutrients, and supplements can help improve the condition of your hair in these recommended articles.
- A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss | NLM
- Serum biotin and zinc in male androgenetic alopecia | Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology
- Biotin | NLM
- Anatomy, Hair | NLM
- Biotin Deficiency | NLM
- A Comment on the Science of Hair Aging
- A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair
- A girl with spastic tetraparesis associated with biotinidase deficiency
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