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The Science Behind Hair, Skin, & Nail Vitamins: Do They Actually Work?

Don't just nail your look, boost your beauty from the inside out
Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: April 10, 2023
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to products for improving your skin, hair and nail health, many of which come in supplement form. In this article, we've looked in-depth into them to let you know exactly how they work and what you can and cannot expect from them.
Table of Contents

When it comes to taking care of our bodies, we often turn to vitamin supplements to help us out. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to know which ones work. One category of vitamins that is often debated is hair skin and nail vitamins.

Do they make a difference in how healthy our hair, skin, and nails look?

What are hair skin and nail supplements & what do they do?

Hair, skin, and nail supplements are a category of nutritional products specifically formulated to promote and maintain the health of these three essential body features. They are commonly available as capsules, tablets, or gummy supplements, catering to different preferences and making it easy for consumers to integrate them into their daily routines.

The primary purpose of these supplements is to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that contribute to the overall health and appearance of hair, skin, and nails. This is achieved by targeting the underlying biological processes responsible for the growth, repair, and maintenance of these body parts.

Commonly found ingredients in hair skin & nail supplements

Every hair, skin, and nail supplement will be different, but typically they contain a combination of vitamins, minerals, and other botanical extracts that are thought to be beneficial for hair, skin, and nails.

Below, we’ve broken down the most common ingredients found:

Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is transformed into vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A plays a major role in keeping the skin healthy, and when consumed can help support the body in maintaining overall good skin health.

Additionally, research has shown it can help reduce the risk of developing acne and protect the skin against oxidative stress due to its antioxidant properties.

Biotin

Biotin (vitamin B7) is typically one of the star players in these types of supplements, and for very good reason – it’s an extremely important vitamin for keeping the skin healthy and hydrated.

Biotin deficiency (albeit rare) can cause dry, scaly skin and/or facial rashes in some people, so making sure you’re getting enough of it is very helpful indeed.

Additionally, Biotin helps to support and stimulate keratin production, a protein that’s used by the body to create hair and nails, which in turn can help to speed up hair growth.

Collagen

Another very common ingredient within hair skin and nail supplements is collagen, usually in the form of marine collagen or hydrolyzed collagen. Collagen is a protein that’s found in the skin and is responsible for keeping it firm and elastic.

As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, so supplementing it can help keep the skin looking young and healthy. Additionally, collagen has been shown to help prevent wrinkles and improve hydration levels in the skin.

Collagen also plays a role in hair and nail growth too – research has shown collagen contains amino acids that are utilized by the body to create keratin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is extremely beneficial for the skin, as well as hair and nail growth.

It’s common within hair, skin, and nail products because vitamin C plays a role in supporting the formation of collagen. Additionally, it’s an antioxidant that can help protect skin cells and hair follicles from oxidative damage.

Selenium

Selenium is an important mineral that research has shown can help support hair and skin health, however, there’s a major caveat here – too much of this mineral can make your hair worse.

Over-intake of selenium can cause hair and nail loss or brittleness [1], which is why this ingredient is commonly dosed in micrograms in these types of products – to get all the benefits with none of the drawbacks.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that’s very important for keeping your hair skin and nails health optimal. Research has shown that Zinc is required for the growth and maintenance of proteins in the body, which includes keratin.

Not getting enough Zinc can also cause dry skin, sores, rashes, and other problems.

Manganese

Manganese is typically found within hair skin and nail supplements due to the role it plays in the formation of connective tissue.

Copper

Copper is essential for the production and stability of important skin proteins like collagen and elastin.

Furthermore, copper has also been shown to increase melanin. Melanin is a pigment that gives color to our hair and skin. Some research suggests that copper intake may help delay the onset of greying hair.

Other ingredients

Less commonly found ingredients within nail skin and nail supplements include hyaluronic acid, coenzyme Q10, and horsetail extract to name a few.

How well do hair skin & nail supplements work?

Whether or not these products “work” depends entirely on your expectations, but overall, yes they work.

It must be stressed that these are not miracle products; they are nutritional supplements designed to give you an easier method of intaking the vital nutrients required for maintaining your hair, skin, and nail health.

If you’re getting enough of the vitamins and minerals within these supplements in your diet, then they’re not necessary, but if you aren’t, they can be a godsend.

Unlike skincare products that typically deliver fast and noticeable results, the benefits of products like these are subtle and will take some time to show, so have patience.

How Long Does It Take For Hair, Skin, and Nail Vitamins To Work?

The time it takes for hair, skin, and nail vitamins to show noticeable results can vary greatly depending on factors such as individual genetics, nutritional status, and overall health. However, a general guideline can be provided:

  • Hair: Hair growth varies among individuals, but on average, hair grows about half an inch (1.25 cm) per month. With consistent use of hair, skin, and nail vitamins, you might start to see results in as little as two to three months. However, for more noticeable changes, it may take six months or more.
  • Skin: Skin cells have a relatively faster turnover rate compared to hair and nails. It takes about 28 days for new skin cells to reach the surface. You may start to notice improvements in skin texture and tone in as little as four to six weeks of consistent use of hair, skin, and nail vitamins. However, for more significant changes like reducing fine lines or wrinkles, it might take three to six months.
  • Nails: Nails grow at an average rate of 0.1mm per day. Depending on individual factors, nail growth can vary. You might begin to see stronger and healthier nails in about two to three months of consistent use of hair, skin, and nail vitamins. For more significant changes, it may take six months or longer.

It’s important to remember that these timeframes are approximate and can vary between individuals. Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and practicing good skincare and hair care routines can contribute to the effectiveness of these vitamins.

How to choose a good hair skin & nail supplement

When it comes to choosing a hair, skin, and nail supplement, there are a few key factors to consider. With so many products available, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to choose. However, rather than recommending specific brands, it is helpful to understand the ingredients that are most beneficial for promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails.

One of the most important ingredients to look for in a supplement is biotin, also known as vitamin B7. Biotin is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails. It is believed to help strengthen hair and nails, and also promote healthy skin by improving the body’s production of keratin, a protein that is essential for skin, hair, and nail health. When choosing a hair, skin, and nail supplement, look for products that contain at least 1,000 mg of biotin per serving.

Another important ingredient to look for in a hair, skin, and nail supplement is collagen. Collagen is a protein that is found naturally in the body, and is important for maintaining the structure and elasticity of the skin, as well as promoting healthy hair and nails. When choosing a supplement, look for products that contain at least 400 mg of collagen per serving.

Copper is also an important mineral to look for in hair, skin, and nail supplements. Copper is essential for the production of melanin, which is the pigment that gives hair and skin color. It also plays a role in collagen production, making it an important nutrient for maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails. Look for products that contain at least 1 mg of copper per serving.

In addition to these key ingredients, some other nutrients and minerals can also be beneficial for promoting healthy hair, skin, and nails. Some of these include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Iron

When choosing a supplement, look for products that contain a range of vitamins and minerals that are known to support overall health and well-being.

It’s important to note that while hair, skin, and nail supplements can help promote healthy growth and appearance, they should not be relied on as a sole source of nutrition. It’s important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle to support overall health and well-being.

Conclusion

Overall, hair skin and nail supplements are a great way to ensure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals for healthy-looking hair, skin, and nails.

The ingredients Biotin, Collagen, and copper are key in promoting hair, skin, and nail health, but it’s important to remember that they will take time to show results.

Keep in mind that they’re not miracle products, so set your expectations accordingly, and don’t believe outlandish claims that these products can give you some sort of “nutritional makeover”.

References & Sources

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