The 6 Best Supplements To Take If You Have Dry, Damaged Hair 

Contributing writer By Korin Miller
Contributing writer
Korin Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, relationships, and lifestyle trends with a master’s degree from American University. Her work has appeared in Women’s Health, Prevention, Self, Glamour, and more.
Medical review by Keira Barr, M.D.
Board-certified dermatologist
Keira Barr is a dual board-certified dermatologist and founder of the Resilient Health Institute.
The 6 Best Supplements For Dry, Damaged Hair

Image by Javier Díez / Stocksy

Shiny, hydrated hair can be hard to achieve with just a good conditioner alone. That's why it's so important to pay attention to not only what you're putting on your hair but what you're putting into your body—including supplements. Experts say these six nutrients have good research to support their role in healthy hair growth:

1. Biotin

Biotin is a B-complex vitamin that's known to be important in hair and nail growth. "When patients have a biotin deficiency, they suffer from thinning, dry hair and dry skin," says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a New York City–based dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. "Supplementing biotin may help in supporting dry scalp and dry hair."* While dry hair, hair loss, and skin rashes are good indicators of an issue, as with most deficiencies, the only way to tell for sure is by getting a blood test from your doctor.

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2. Collagen

"Amino acids are the building blocks of cell membranes and keratin. Keratin is the material that hair is made of," Zeichner explains. One way to get more amino acids in your diet is through collagen.* It is the most abundant protein in your body that can strengthen hair and prevent hair follicle damage.* "As collagen is digested by your gut, it is broken down into its individual amino acids that circulate throughout the body," Zeichner says. Those amino acids can then be turned into keratin to form healthy hair at the follicle.

"Hair is made up of keratin protein, and it requires a complete diet in order to grow to its maximum potential," explains trichologist Shab Reslan. Supplementing with collagen can support your hair's natural growth and health.*

For best results, look for a grass-fed bovine collagen supplement, which contains collagen Types I and III, the types of collagen that are vital in promoting hair health.* "Grass-fed collagen is the way to go," says Ariane Hundt, M.S., a clinical nutrition coach in New York City.*

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The ultimate trifecta: Beauty enhancer, gut-healer & protein booster, featuring biotin and vitamin E.*

grass-fed collagen+

The ultimate trifecta: Beauty enhancer, gut-healer & protein booster, featuring biotin and vitamin E.*

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3. Silica 

Silica is a mineral that's often found in nature and in the body and is commonly used as a food additive, Zeichner says. Research has discovered that silica can be found in the bones, tendons, aorta, liver, and kidneys. "The exact mechanism is unclear, but silica is thought to be needed by the human body for proper production of skin, collagen, bones, and hair," he says.

"Silicon supplements have been shown to promote hair strength, brightness, and thickness and decrease hair breakage," says California-based holistic dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, M.D., a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology.* While it's not entirely clear why this can happen, Bailey says that one theory is that it may interact with keratin, the protein found naturally in hair, which gives hair its structure. 

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4. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is "full of nutrients and is one of the best vitamins for the scalp," says Reslan.* Vitamin E is believed to work by calming inflammation on your skin and scalp, slowing free radical damage around your hair follicles that can lead to premature graying and hair damage, Zeichner says.* Keep in mind that it can take a little time for vitamin E to work on your hair: It takes a week for the vitamin to help manage the sebum and oily secretions that help keep your hair and skin moisturized, Bailey says.* If you want to look for hair products with the vitamin along with supplementation, "when applied topically, vitamin E helps produce collagen and healthier skin cells for your scalp," Reslen adds.

5. Omega-3s 

Omega-3 fatty acids are oils that are naturally found in foods like walnuts, soy, and fatty fish, Zeichner says. While they're thought to have a slew of health benefits, including reducing bodily inflammation and improving heart health, the effect of this supplement is less clear. However, Zeichner says, some research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can support your skin and hair health when they're taken along with other supplements like antioxidants.*

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6. Iron

Iron deficiency is a common nutritional deficiency, and it can lead to hair issues, including dryness and hair loss, says Bailey. It's not entirely clear how iron affects the hair, but hair follicle matrix cells are some of the fastest dividing cells in the body. Without the proper iron intake, hair follicles may not function properly, and you can end up with dryness and hair loss. Iron supplementation isn't for everyone—as taking the supplement can cause digestion and stomach issues if you're not deficient—so talk to your doctor to see if you need to be tested for a deficiency.*

The bottom line: 

What you put into your body is important for fueling the growth and health of your hair. If hair dryness is an issue for you, a supplement can help to support your hair's health naturally.*

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