The water-soluble vitamin, biotin (vitamin B7) is found in various foods: bananas, soy, yeast, cauliflower, liver, and salmon, to name a few. In addition, our bodies also produce this vitamin. What is interesting is that biotin is added to various cosmetic products with the aim of enhancing the appearance of nails, skin, and hair. However, what is so special about biotin and how does it enhance the appearance of skin, hair, and nails?
What is special about biotin? Biotin acts like a coenzyme. It metabolizes fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids. Vitamin B7 is needed to convert these food elements to energy, which our body uses to function optimally. However, this vitamin also offers the benefits of a more youthful appearance, amplified by strong-looking hair, healthy-looking skin, and strong nails.
Biotin can make your nails stronger
Researchers have found that biotin can help to strengthen and heal damaged nails. For those suffering from thin, brittle nails, biotin assists in growing stronger and thicker finger and toenails.
Biotin can promote hair growth
A lack of biotin will make hair brittle and could lead to hair loss. Consuming more biotin cannot regrow hair, but it can offer the optimal chance of hair growth. Stronger and faster growing hair is the benefit of this vitamin. Some studies have shown that, within 90 days, the overall hair volume, thickness, and scalp coverage can increase. After 180-days, the hair will start to shine. Furthermore, vitamin B7 helps to keep the scalp healthy. It does this by keeping the scalp free of dry skin flakes. When the hair follicles are free of skin flakes, hair growth is no longer impeded. For this reason many shampoos and other scalp products introduce biotin into their formulas. Taking 300 mcg of biotin daily can help to speed up hair growth.
Biotin can improve skin disorders
Infants may be born with a biotin deficiency. Those sufferers under the age of 10 could take 10 to 30 mcg biotin daily as a supplement to overcome this problem. Biotin can also help treat cradle cap, which affects infants, causing yellow-white patches on the head, eyebrows, scalp and the areas behind the ears. A biotin deficiency can lead to dermatitis, leaving the skin dry and irritated. Another benefit of biotin for the skin is the treatment of acne, rashes, fungal infections, and severely cracking or dry skin. Taking biotin over several months can increase the moisture retention in the skin, encouraging smoothness of the skin.
When your hair becomes brittle, your nails break, and your skin is dry, there is a good chance that you may have a biotin deficiency. This type of deficiency is rare, since you should be able to absorb sufficient biotin from your food; and from production within the gut. However, certain circumstances such as the taking of antibiotics may lead to a biotin deficiency. Taking a vitamin B7 supplement can help, although there is still a lack of solid scientific evidence to support this advice.