THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF FOOD ADDITIVES AND VITAMIN-MINERAL COMPLEXES that promise to improve the condition of nails and hair, and if you follow the advertising claims, it seems that from such tablets and capsules useful substances go directly to the right places, bypassing the intestines, bloodstream and liver. We figure out why hair and nails can suffer at all, whether it is possible to make them shiny and strong by drinking a course of vitamins, and what is the reason for hair loss after pregnancy.
What “beauty vitamins” contain
The typical composition is B vitamins (in particular biotin), C and E, zinc, selenium and silicon, with slight variations. In principle, such a formula differs little from the usual “undirected” multivitamins. Here is a description of one of the drugs designed to improve the condition of hair and nails: “Beta-carotene, vitamins C, E, selenium, which have antioxidant activity, protect the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals, UV rays and environmentally harmful environmental factors.” In the description of the vitamin complex intended “for older people”, vitamin C is already described as a substance that “provides immune protection, increases the body’s resistance to infections, reduces the permeability and fragility of capillaries.”
“Zinc and silicon, participating in the metabolism of connective tissue, normalize the condition of the skin and nails,” – another quote from the description of the “beauty vitamins”. At the same time, connective tissue is one of the most widespread in the body, it is the basis of bones, and cartilage, and tendons, and subcutaneous tissue, and “membranes” of organs, and even bone marrow. Can vitamin C be made to protect the skin from one tablet and increase resistance to infections from the other? Or so that zinc and silicon are directed directly to the hair roots and nails? The answer is no, not to mention the fact that not all of these effects work at all in humans, especially when it comes to low doses.
It turns out that the abundance of food additives with different “focused” action is nothing more than marketing positioning. In the presence of huge competition, each manufacturer seeks to find a new niche – so multivitamins “for hair”, “for nails”, “to improve mood”, and also “organic” or “natural” appear.
and nails get worse
If the condition of the skin and its appendages, which include nails and hair, has changed against the background of complete health and well-being, it is likely that the care needs to be revised or adapted to the current season: it is one thing when the hair is dried out by the sun and sea water, and another – when they became brittle due to the constant wearing of a hat in the cold. Single grooves or white spots on the nails can appear, for example, due to too aggressive exposure to tools during manicure. Unfortunately, it is sometimes easy to panic after searching on the Internet – the same grooves are touted as a sign of psoriasis, heart failure, and even sepsis; but it should be understood that only changes in the nails, with general good health, these states do not manifest themselves.
According to Oksana Porshina, deputy chief physician of the Moscow Scientific and Practical Center for Dermatovenerology and Cosmetology of the Moscow Healthcare Department, a change in the quality of hair and nails can indeed be a manifestation of systemic disorders, and then an examination by a dermatologist or trichologist is required. If common diseases are identified, then you need to start treating them – taking vitamins prescribed by a doctor may become part of it. But most healthy people do not need to take complex supplements at all, with rare exceptions – for example, folic acid is necessary in preparation for pregnancy and in its first trimester, vitamin D is really shown to many, and WHO insists on taking iron supplements for all women with established menstrual periods. cycle.
What to do if hair falls out
In general, the normal is the loss of about a hundred hairs per day – since the life cycle of each hair includes several phases, at the same time in the phase of loss every day there are 50-150 of them. Sometimes the cycle of growth and shedding becomes synchronous in more hairs, and shedding becomes more noticeable – in women, this is closely related to hormonal changes, in particular, the state after pregnancy and menopause. During pregnancy, the duration of the resting phase, when the hair remains in place, lengthens – but two to three months after giving birth, a large number of hairs simultaneously begin a phase of loss. This should not cause panic, because less often than before pregnancy, the hair will not become – only those that have “accumulated” during this time will fall out.
The same situation can arise after a serious illness with a very high fever or severe stress; these are temporary conditions that need not be treated, but simply endured. If there were no serious physical or mental stress, and the hair began to fall out, it is worthwhile to be examined for endocrine and autoimmune causes and, of course, to deal with nutrition. Hair loss can be associated with a lack of protein and iron in the diet (vegetarians are at risk), a deficiency of zinc, fatty acids and a number of vitamins – while it is important that an excess of selenium, vitamin A and vitamin E can also contribute to hair loss, therefore, independent taking vitamin supplements can even make the situation worse.
So, the algorithm of actions: if hair falls out after childbirth, a serious illness or treatment with methods such as radiation or chemotherapy, then nothing special needs to be done to restore them. If there were no such factors, then you should consult a doctor for examination and revise the diet: a varied and balanced diet is important for the health of all organs and systems, including skin and hair. Drinking vitamins, if their deficiency is not confirmed, is not necessary – and only a specialist can identify the deficiency; for example, a lack of biotin, one of the most popular ingredients in beauty vitamins, was reported in only 38% of women with hair loss in one study .
How to strengthen your nails
As Oksana Porshina notes, the quality of nails (like hair) is largely determined by genetics, but it also depends on the nature and diet or characteristics of the work performed. Of course, it is worth remembering the basic principles of hygiene: do not use other people’s files or nail scissors, wash your hands and use moisturizers, and if there are obvious changes, do not rely on traditional medicine, but talk to a doctor. According to studies , people with nutritious meals, no special nutritional supplements to improve the condition of the nails are not shown.
Taking biotin often helps people with increased brittle nails – but this condition develops for a variety of reasons, and you need to try to eliminate them or reduce their influence. The list of these reasons is huge: they are injuries during work or manicure, constant work with toxic substances such as solvents, an insufficiently balanced diet, systemic diseases and infections. It is unlikely that it will be possible to strengthen the nails without changing anything in the diet or lifestyle – and again it becomes obvious that it makes no sense to take “special” vitamins if their deficiency has not been identified.