Biotin is an unofficial hair growth supplement that people all over the world are testing out. Many ladies within the natural hair community use biotin supplements with the hope of speeding up their hair growth or regrowing their hair after hair loss (or hair thinning).
Whether you’ve just started using biotin supplements or are considering increased biotin intake, we’ll bet you’ve got a lot of questions. One of the most common questions people ask about it is, “How long does biotin take to work?” We can help.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into taking biotin supplements. Soon, you’ll know for sure whether biotin influences hair growth and if it’s an overnight miracle or not.
Table of Contents
- 1 Internet and Social Media Claims about Biotin Supplements
- 2 How Long Does Biotin Take to Work?
- 3 3 Factors that Affect When You May See Results With Biotin
- 4 Benefits of Biotin for Hair
- 5 How Much Biotin to Take for Hair Growth
- 6 Dermatologist Recommendations for Biotin
- 7 How Much Biotin Is Too Much?
- 8 How Long Can You Take Biotin?
- 9 Maximizing Hair Growth on Biotin
If you do an internet search on biotin results, you’ll see some very outlandish claims about what the vitamin can do. One blog writer states that within one week of starting a biotin regimen, they saw noticeable hair growth.
Hair influencers often say that their hair grew several inches in a month following biotin use and biotin manufacturers often assert that their product can transform your hair in as little as a couple of weeks.
Moreover, if you go to the top social media sites and scroll through biotin before and after pictures, you’ll see some eye-opening success stories.
Usually, there’s a picture on the left of short hair and a photo on the right with much, much longer hair. The poster often claims that biotin is the reason for the dramatic hair growth.
Can You Trust Biotin Claims?
Before and after pictures are very often doctored, so we urge you to take them with a grain of salt. In addition, seedy supplement manufacturers partner with influencers and everyday folks and encourage them to exaggerate their experience with the product.
Since we can’t always trust ads, which may be completely biased, it’s important to look at the science – we’re going to do that in the following section.
How Long Does Biotin Take to Work?
It takes months to see results on biotin. According to The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (source), biotin takes around 90 days to begin to work. Contrary to some of the claims you may have heard, biotin is not an overnight remedy that will magically give you 5 inches of hair growth in 24 hours.
You’ll need to take the vitamin for an extended amount of time if you hope to see any results.
During the first couple of months of taking biotin, you may not notice any difference in your hair. It may grow at the same rate as it did before you started the vitamin. But, for many people, it begins to work around the third or fourth month, and that’s when the results get encouraging.
So, if you are looking to grow more hair quicker on biotin, you’ll need to devote at least three months to taking the medication without any expectations.
Note: Biotin is not guaranteed to work on everyone (or anyone – more on that later). Your body composition and makeup are different from the next person, and you can’t expect the same results as someone else. Some people experience positive results on biotin, while others simply do not.
3 Factors that Affect When You May See Results With Biotin
We’ve given you a general guideline for how long you should wait to see results on biotin. But the truth is that the exact amount of time you can expect biotin to work will depend on several different factors.
- The form of biotin you take. If you get biotin through food versus a supplement, your biotin levels may not be consistent enough for you to see results. Conversely, if you take a biotin supplement, you’re more likely to see results from the vitamin in as little as 90 days.
- How consistent you are. If you are diligent about taking your biotin every day, you’re more likely to see results in a timely manner. On the other hand, if you’re consistently skipping or missing doses, you may not see the results you’ve been looking for.
- The brand of biotin you use. When you get your biotin from a reputable company, you can usually trust that the vitamin is potent. But if you’re using a supplement from a shady company, you could be taking biotin that’s not at its peak effectiveness. This could mean that you won’t see results in a timely manner, or at all for that matter.
Benefits of Biotin for Hair
Biotin is another name for vitamin B7, which assists in the metabolization of proteins, carbs, and more. When taken internally, it has many effects on the body, including better-looking nails and healthier skin and hair.
The benefits of biotin include much more than hair growth help, though. And if you want to know whether the biotin is working for you, you need to know all the benefits it could bring.
Here are the perceived benefits of biotin for hair.
- Strengthen hair – Biotin-containing products are thought to strengthen the hair to reduce shedding and breakage. This benefit comes in handy especially for curly hair, which tends to be naturally prone to hair dryness, weakness, and breakage.
- Prevent hair loss – It’s believed that an ongoing biotin regimen can help prevent hair loss. The idea is that because the vitamin strengthens your hair and reduces hair shedding, you’re less likely to experience hair fallout.
- Increase hair growth rate – One of the most widely publicized benefits of biotin is increased hair growth. There’s some uncertainty surrounding the validity of this particular benefit. However, supplement companies and enthusiasts all over claim that the vitamin can produce considerable hair growth over the course of months.
- Increase shine – If your hair looks dull, biotin is thought to help with that. After a course of biotin, you may notice that your strands catch the light with a beautiful shine.
Since your hair and chemical makeup are unique, there’s no telling how substantial these benefits may turn out on your hair. Also, you could experience some of the benefits and not others.
Biotin is thought to work because of its ability to restructure keratin in the hair. It’s also believed to speed up the creation of keratin in the hair follicles.
Does Biotin Work at All?
Studies examining biotin only are very few, and evidence pointing to biotin as a hair growth remedy remains scarce. There are even studies that outright conclude that biotin does not affect hair growth.
According to the National Institutes of Health, there isn’t sufficient evidence to prove that biotin can improve the health of your nails, hair, or skin.
At the same time, everyday people and influencers everywhere credit the vitamin for their newfound hair growth, strength, and beauty. If you do an internet search on whether biotin works, you’ll find that reviews are mixed.
Some state that the vitamin transformed their hair, some assert that they did notice some growth (but nothing major), and others disappointedly state that they did not see any positive results.
So, it’s essential to drive the point home that biotin is not guaranteed to give you any results at all. Still, if nothing else has worked for you, a biotin supplement may be worth a shot.
How Much Biotin to Take for Hair Growth
If you want to maximize your chances of seeing timely results with biotin, you need to make sure that you’re taking the right dose. Though, when it comes to biotin, there is no universal dose that produces hair growth.
According to the National Institutes of Health, humans have a very minor need for biotin – 30 mcg for adults and 25 mcg for teens, but when people take the supplement for hair growth, the dose is much higher.
You’ll often see biotin hair growth supplements with doses of 5,000 – 10,000 mcg or even more. So, if you want to take biotin for hair growth, you should purchase a supplement with at least 5,000 mcg of biotin.
Be on the lookout for supplements that contain other vitamins and minerals. – unless you’re looking for a multivitamin, go for a biotin-only supplement.
Dermatologist Recommendations for Biotin
Even though evidence related to biotin is spotty, some dermatologists do recommend biotin as a remedy for hair loss. Perhaps it’s because they’ve seen good results after prescribing the treatment to their patients.
On the other hand, it could be because biotin is a low-risk remedy that “just might” work.
According to Dr. Lipner, a New York dermatologist, many skin and hair treatments aren’t clinically proven to work as believed. But, she states, since the treatment could work and won’t cause direct harm to a patient, many professionals give patients the go-ahead to try it.
But according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, biotin supplements are only necessary in two cases:
- When you were born with a biotin deficiency.
- When you develop a biotin deficiency at some point in your life.
Because biotin deficiency can lead to hair loss and other unfavorable hair issues, replenishing the vitamin will correct them.
The AAD does not recommend biotin supplementation for hair issues unrelated to a biotin deficiency. The reason, of course, is that there haven’t been any clinical, peer-reviewed studies that prove that biotin improves hair, skin, or nails.
If you go to your dermatologist with a hair loss concern and they put you on a biotin supplement, you can give it a try. But be prepared in case it doesn’t work.
How Much Biotin Is Too Much?
Biotin overdoses are rare, and this is because of the nature of the vitamin. It is soluble in water, so when you take too much of it, the excess comes out in your urine.
Still, if you double up your dose to try to accelerate hair growth, you could experience some symptoms, like the following:
- Unquenchable thirst
- Tendency to wake up early
- Inability to sleep at night
- Frequent urination
Another significant consequence of taking extraordinarily high doses of biotin is lab test issues.
Say you’re going in for a lab test of your urine or blood – if you’ve got a high level of biotin in your system, your results may be inflated or reduced, masking your actual health status.
If you want to avoid these symptoms and consequences, you should not go over the 10,000 mcg dose and always tell your doctor that you’re taking biotin.
Also, studies have not given us concrete evidence that biotin results in hair growth, so there’s no reason to take the vitamin in very high doses. There’s no way to tell whether taking more biotin than recommended by supplement manufacturers would do you any good.
How Long Can You Take Biotin?
If you’ve been taking the vitamin for several months (5 months or more) and haven’t seen any degree of improvement in your hair growth, it’s probably safe to say that the supplement is not going to work for you.
But even if you see good results by then, you’ll need to put the pills down after six months. According to WebMD, biotin supplementation is safe for up to 6 continuous months. If you would like to take it longer than that, we recommend speaking to your doctor.
Maximizing Hair Growth on Biotin
If you want to give biotin a try, you might as well do it right! Yes, there’s a right and wrong way to take biotin for hair growth, and that’s what we’re focusing on in this section.
Here are some tips to maximize hair growth on biotin:
- See a doctor first. If at all possible, see a doctor before starting a biotin regimen. They will help you choose the correct dose for your body chemistry and educate you on the vitamin. They may even recommend a specific type of biotin or dietary changes instead of supplemental vitamins.
- Choose a legitimate biotin supplement. This means not going with a no-name brand at a shady retailer or online shop. Go for a well-known brand with lots of reviews and, preferably, dermatologist endorsements. We strongly urge you to ignore celebrity and influencer endorsements – these may be biased and can result in a waste of your own money if the pills are not legitimate. Reputable biotin supplements include Nature’s Bounty, Vitafusion, or Nature Made. These brands have been around for a long time and are trusted by medical professionals and customers alike. Also, each of them contains biotin only.
- Explore different forms of biotin. Biotin is available in many forms, and the way you get your biotin may determine the results you ultimately get. The most common way people get their biotin is from supplemental pills and gummies. These are relatively expensive and often come in a one or two-month supply. You’ll also find biotin in some hair products, like shampoos, conditioners, leave-ins, and oils. The nutrient is also found in a select number of foods, including egg yolks, bananas, and nut butters. When a physician prescribes supplemental biotin, they may also encourage you to prioritize biotin-containing foods in your diet.
- Go for at least 5,000 mcg of biotin. Though our biological biotin needs are minimal, a dose of 5,000 to 10,000 mcg of the vitamin is generally preferred when using it to stimulate hair growth. This doesn’t mean that supplements with less than 5,000 mcg are guaranteed to be ineffective. If you’re unsure about the dosage you should be taking, reach out to your primary care physician or dermatologist. They’ll give you a science-based recommendation based on your medical history and current health status.
- Stay on schedule. For biotin to have any chance of working for you, you need to be consistent with it. Take it at the same time each day – in the morning is best. While you’re on the supplement, make it a point to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
- Massage. If you want to help things along, you can also do a scalp massage once a day with your favorite scalp oil. All it takes is your fingertips and five minutes. Coat your fingers in oil and massage your scalp in circular motions for up to 5 minutes. Be gentle and never use your nails.
Note: If you experience worrisome side effects after starting a biotin supplement or biotin-containing hair product, stop using it immediately and get an opinion from a doctor in your area. There are other healthy hair growth remedies out there that are proven to work and may better mesh with your body chemistry.
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To sum things up, you should be able to see some results from a biotin supplement after about 90 days of continuous, daily doses. Though, for some people, it could take a bit longer.
So, you’ll need to be patient with the remedy and keep your expectations in check just in case it doesn’t end up working for you. We hope that this article has been helpful to you and wish you the best with your hair growth goals.