Have you ever heard of biotin shampoos and wondered if they’re worth the hype? Well, you’re not alone. In the world of hair care, these shampoos have gained quite a reputation for their potential to promote healthier and stronger hair.
Biotin, a B vitamin also known as vitamin H, has been associated with hair health for years. It’s often claimed that biotin shampoos can help combat issues like hair thinning and brittle strands. But do they really live up to the promises? Let’s dive into the world of biotin shampoos and separate the facts from the marketing buzz.
Table of Contents
What is Biotin?
Biotin, also called vitamin B7, is a widely available supplement known for its essential role in several metabolic processes in the body. One of its key functions is promoting keratin growth, vital for maintaining healthy hair, nails, and skin.
We obtain a significant amount of biotin from our diet, as it is present in various natural food sources such as eggs, fish, bananas, avocados, broccoli, and legumes. 
Many people use biotin supplements for hair growth, but biotin shampoos are also used for the same purpose. Biotin shampoos can be found in drugstores and are applied to the hair and scalp. However, the data collected on biotin shampoo’s effectiveness is limited.
Currently, there is limited evidence to support the idea that biotin shampoos or any other type of biotin applied topically can enhance hair quality, growth, or look. This was reported by Alyoussef A. in a comparative study of online over-the-counter hair loss products published in the Journal of Dermatology Research and Therapy in 2020. 
Keep in mind that when using these shampoos, they are not left on the scalp for very long and are rinsed away quickly. As a result, it is unlikely that the skin will have enough time to absorb the ingredients and have an impact on the hair follicles.
However, this does not mean that these shampoos are not beneficial. They may improve the thickness and overall health of your existing hair, but do not expect dramatic results.
Benefits of Biotin Shampoos
If you are dealing with hair thinning, it is advisable not to wait until the eighth day of not washing your hair. Although it may seem convenient to use dry shampoo and skip the usual wash-and-dry routine, doing so may not be suitable for your scalp health.
Helps with Hair Growth
While some advocates argue that biotin-infused products can improve hair strength and appearance, scientific evidence only supports the use of biotin for hair growth in cases where hair loss is caused by a confirmed biotin deficiency. 
According to experts, hair regrowth can depend on multiple factors, and biotin supplementation may not necessarily be the primary factor. 
A study conducted in 2012 involved women who experienced thinning hair and were given a hair growth supplement containing biotin or a placebo for a duration of 6 months. 
People who took the hair growth supplement noticed a noticeable boost in their overall hair volume, as well as thicker hair and better scalp coverage during the treatment period. On the other hand, those who were given the placebo did not experience any significant changes.
Nonetheless, the study’s outcomes cannot be solely attributed to biotin as the hair growth supplement comprised of various components that are also vital for hair growth, such as zinc and iron.
Additionally, the research involved a limited number of participants, and it is plausible that some of them lacked certain nutrients found in the supplement that contribute to the condition of hair. These deficiencies could have been rectified during the study duration, leading to increased hair growth.
Biotin Shampoos Side Effects
Although biotin is generally well-tolerated, it can interfere with laboratory work and potentially affect the results of specific lab tests:
- Vitamin D levels
- Cardiac tests
- Thyroid Levels
- Immunosuppressive drug tests
The utilization of biotin has been linked to the misidentification of hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease, which is a severe autoimmune thyroid disorder. This is attributed to the influence of biotin on thyroid laboratory tests. 
It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before commencing any supplement routine. Your healthcare provider may recommend discontinuing the use of biotin before undergoing laboratory tests.
What Does Biotin Have To Do With Hair Loss?
It’s uncommon for people to have a biotin deficiency since they typically get enough of it from their diet. Nevertheless, thinning hair or hair loss can signify biotin deficiency. Although there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence on the subject, a study of women with hair loss discovered that 38% of them had a biotin deficiency. 
Does Biotin Shampoos Really Work?
Biotin is a type of B vitamin that has a significant impact on the creation of keratin. This particular protein is what provides hair with its structural foundation. When someone takes biotin supplements, their hair may become more resilient and stronger.
This can be beneficial in preventing hair from breaking and thinning. Biotin shampoo can also contain other ingredients, such as keratin, collagen, panthenol, and amino acids. These additional ingredients can provide hair with more elasticity and strength.
However, it is important to note that biotin shampoo is not a complete solution for hair loss or thinning.
There are various non-prescription options available that can be helpful in addressing hair thinning and shedding. Out of all these options, a type of Vitamin B called biotin has been found to offer proven benefits in enhancing hair growth, health, and texture.
Research indicates that biotin can help combat hair thinning and promote regrowth, although the evidence is somewhat limited. It’s generally safe to use biotin, but if any adverse effects occur, it’s advisable to stop using it and seek medical advice immediately.
It’s usually suggested to use it every other day or 2-3 times per week. Using too much shampoo, regardless of the type, can cause dryness, irritation, and damage by removing natural oils from the hair and scalp.
While some individuals may notice improvements in the strength, thickness, and overall health of their hair after a few weeks of regular use, others may need to use biotin shampoo for several months before seeing any significant changes.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- National Institutes of Health. Biotin fact sheet for health professionals. Accessed February 16, 2023.
- Alyoussef A. Comparative study of the online over-the-counter hair loss products. J Dermatol Res Ther. 2020;6(1). doi:10.23937/2469-5750/1510077
- Patel DP, Swink SM, Castelo-Soccio L. A review of the use of biotin for hair loss. Skin Appendage Disord. 2017;3(3):166-169. doi:10.1159/000462981
- Glynis, A. (2012). A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Efficacy of an Oral Supplement in Women with Self-perceived Thinning Hair. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 5(11), 28-34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3509882/
- Bowen R, Benavides R, Colón-Franco JM, et al. Best practices in mitigating the risk of biotin interference with laboratory testing. Clin Biochem. 2019;74:1-11. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2019.08.012
- Trüeb, R. M. (2016). Serum Biotin Levels in Women Complaining of Hair Loss. International Journal of Trichology, 8(2), 73-77. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-7753.188040