These dermatologist-approved hair growth vitamins will give you the best hair of your life.
Maybe your recent dramatic chop was a little shorter than you had envisioned. Or, perhaps you're hoping to give your naturally thin hair a volume boost. While smart lifestyle strategies can help keep your hair in top shape so it's less prone to breakage (think: eating a healthy diet, not over-washing, applying a heat protectant before using hot tools, and keeping strands moisturized with a protein treatment), you may want to invest in a hair growth vitamin or supplement that will give your mane a little extra oomph.
Vitamins for hair growth "can help provide the hair follicles with the necessary building blocks for healthy activity," says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "This means that hair follicles can function to the best of their ability."
And believe it or not, hair growth pills can make a noticeable difference, experts say. Hair contains some of the fastest-dividing cells in the body, but they are non-essential for living, explains dermatologist Lamees Hamdan, MD, founder and CEO of Shiffa. As a result, "what usually happens is that hair cells are the last to get nutrition," she says.
Another benefit? Hair vitamins can make hair healthier and stronger in addition to longer. "There will be an increase in hair production, yes, but more importantly, there will be an increase in hair quality," says Julie Russak, MD, a dermatologist and founder of Russak Dermatology Clinic in New York City. "You can have a lot of hair, but if it's thin and brittle, what good does that do?"
In other words, while hair growth vitamins are no substitute for a healthy diet, they may help ensure that your strands are getting everything they need to look their best.
What vitamins are good for hair?
Experts say that over-the-counter vitamins for hair growth and thickness often contain B complex vitamins, iron, protein, and vitamin D. "We know that low levels of these vitamins are associated with hair thinning," Dr. Zeichner explains.
As with any supplement, you should be mindful of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of each ingredient. This is especially important if you're taking vitamins that contain iron or vitamin A, both of which can trigger adverse side effects if taken in excess. When in doubt, the National Institutes of Health has a handy guide for dietary supplements.
How long does it take hair growth vitamins to work?
Hair vitamins can live up to their claims to give you long, lush locks, but you shouldn't expect overnight results. "As we all know, it takes time to grow hair," says Lilly-Rose Paraskevas, MD, CEO and director of Rose Dermatology in New York City.
Dr. Hamdan tells us that if you're consistently taking a hair growth vitamin (and don't have any underlying hormonal or medical issues) you should notice that you're losing less hair within two months. By month six, "you should be able to feel your hair becoming thicker," she says.
Here, dermatologists share the best hair vitamins on the market that will help you achieve longer, thicker strands.