Back in 2016, the Kardashian-Jenner clan posted selfies on their Instagrams popping blue gummies for hair growth into their mouth. And that’s how this sensation took the internet by storm.
It wasn’t long before social media influencers were seen with these, and these gummies came in more colours like pink, purple, green, and orange. It was all trendy enough, but since these gummies aren’t as pocket-friendly, many people wanted to know if they even worked.
The reason why hair vitamins became so popular in the first place was that they were very “marketable.” For one, they were gummies. Adults had something yummy candy-like to eat without feeling any guilt. Unlike taking medicine for their hair health, they had these fun gummies to look forward to.
Second, you cannot ignore the packaging and colours. Celebrities were just the final push. But the question remains, are these only social media good or do they actually deliver on all their promises? But first, let’s find out what really is in them.
What Are Gummies For Hair Growth?
Remember those health supplements that came in the form of pills? Hair gummies are just gummy forms of those supplements. These are chewy jelly-like, so you can just bite into them without needing any water.
Companies marketing their hair gummies claim that it would make their skin, hair, and nails stronger, better, and shinier.
But the problem is that hair gummies are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). So, the companies can say whatever they like about their products, which is rarely anything bad.
Usually, these gummies contain folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, zinc, biotin and other minerals. They may also contain vitamin B-5, iodine, choline, inositol, and sugar.
Good Housekeeping outlines the full list of ingredients of popular hair gummies, which includes “glucose syrup, sugar, water, pectin, citric acid, sodium citrate, natural flavours, titanium dioxide, Blue 1, and carnauba wax.”
You only have to take two gummies a day for them to work (any more may cause health issues). A lot of these gummies are also gelatin-free, made from pectin. You can also find gluten-free varieties online. Vegan hair gummies are also available.
Much of the “research” done on the benefits of hair gummies is funded by the companies themselves, which means that they are not completely reliable.
Do Hair Gummies Actually Work?
While you can find a range of gummies in the market, some of them are on the more expensive side, costing as much as $30 a jar. No one can say for sure how good actually the product is. That’s because of the lack of independent, unbiased research on them.
Hair gummies are composed of ingredients that you find in the food you eat daily, fulfilling your nutritional needs. So, unless you’re deficient in the ingredients in the gummies, they won’t do much for you. And you certainly don’t need them for better health.
Before buying any hair gummies, make sure that you go through the ingredients list. Suppose you have iron deficiency, and the gummy doesn’t contain iron; if you take it, it won’t stop your hair loss.
Why you’re losing your hair is the first question that needs to be asked and answered.
Some popular gummies for hair don’t contain iron and calcium. It means they won’t fulfil the nutritional requirements of those individuals who have this particular deficiency.
Gummies are made for hair, skin, and nails, and since they contain vitamins and minerals, companies bank on these ingredients to make tall claims like “best hair growth”, “zero hair loss”, “improved hair health”, “no more thinning hair”, “stronger hair”, and whatnot.
The Main Ingredient At Work – Biotin
According to ConsumerLab.com, gummies’ main ingredient is biotin. The reason why biotin takes centre stage is that some studies suggest that biotin can improve the health of hair and nails. However, they were “not approved for quality.”
One study published in Cutis in 1993 showed that the intake of biotin supplements increased the nail thickness of the participants by 25%. It was a small study comprising 35 patients. 22 of the 35 participants showed an improvement in the thickness of nails.
However, another review suggests that there is no need for healthy people to take biotin gummies for hair growth. If biotin deficiency makes the hair all tangled and makes your nails brittle, biotin supplements can help.
Only the thing is that biotin deficiency is very rare. So, you can see any noticeable change in the quality of your hair, nails, or skin if you’re truly deficient in the vitamin.
Are Hair Growth Gummies Safe?
Buzzfeed’s As/Is tested hair gummies with the help of Labdoor to find out if the labelling of a very popular gummy was accurate. Testing found that there was actually 70% more biotin in the gummies than what was claimed on the bottle.
One gummy had almost 8,500 mcg (micrograms) of it. And since two servings are recommended, you’d be ingesting 17,000 mcg of biotin/day just from the gummies alone.
Although the FDA has not provided a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for biotin, the recommended intake by the National Institute of Health for people above the age of 19 is just 30 mcg.
NIH also reports that high levels of biotin can interfere with lab tests, resulting in misdiagnosis. So, that can cause safety concerns, especially if the diagnosis is delayed. You may also have to incur extra costs on testing and medicines.
In addition, Labdoor’s testing found that if you take more than two hair growth gummies a day (as is suggested on the packaging), you’d be ingesting more lead than what’s considered a safe limit in California.
Lastly, there isn’t sufficient research on the safety and efficacy of this drug. As a result, it is impossible to predict what the long-term effects of gummies will be.
It’s important that even though these gummies are marketed as some kind of magic pill, you shouldn’t take them without consulting with your doctor.
Can Gummies Cause Acne?
This concern mainly stems from the presence of biotin in the gummies. And many people who’re taking biotin supplements do report that they ended up with a bad breakout as a result of it.
There’s no way to predict whether or not you’ll end up with an acne flare-up because of these gummies. However, it may be the reason for a sudden breakout or worsening of the existing acne problem.
It isn’t exactly known what causes it. One explanation given for it is that due to a large amount of biotin in the body, vitamin B5 is underutilized, leading to skin problems.
Interestingly enough, there are some studies that suggest that biotin can be used for treating acne.
In one study, published in the Italian Journal of Dermatology and Venereology in 2018, males and females struggling with acne were given oral supplements containing “biotin, probiotic, vitamin E, zinc, nicotinamide.”
12 weeks after their consumption, it was noted that their acne had significantly improved. However, here the problem is that you cannot exactly say that it was biotin that helped clear the acne because there were other ingredients that could’ve helped with it.
StatPearls report that no matter what the packaging says, there’s no clinical trial proving that biotin (alone) can improve hair and/or nails.
Other Side Effects of Gummies For Hair Growth
According to WebMD, multivitamin gummies can cause:
- upset stomach
However, these side effects are only temporary. Other than that, you may have an allergic reaction to these hair gummies, although it is rare.
Are There Any Alternatives To Gummies?
Gummies for hair growth work in the same way any supplement pill does. Biotin, iron and zinc tablets are alternatives to these (if you need to take them due to a deficiency).
If you don’t want to use 2-3 different pills each time, you can also buy multivitamins that contain all of the required vitamins. You can also get important dietary nutrients from what you eat in a day.
Hair gummies are a marketing gimmick in most cases.
It’s understandable that when celebrities endorse gummies, they are giving other people the idea that “this is exactly what’s making us look flawless. And if you want that for yourself, you should also get it.”
This is what prompts many people to buy these gummies or other fad supplements even when they have absolutely no need for them.
They only truly work if you truly have a deficiency of any of the vitamins or minerals found in them.
Mainly they’re made of biotin (vitamin B7), and it is rare for people to be deficient in it. So, they do not have anything that your body truly needs.
If you’re experiencing hair loss, you need to speak with your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis. Treatments (like gummies for hair growth) should come after that since, at the end of the day, they may not help you in any way.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.