Niacin for Hair Growth: Benefits and How to Use
If you're focused on supporting the health of your hair shaft from the inside out, there are a few supplement options, including niacin. Commonly used in hair treatments and skin moisturizers, niacin could help support the growth of thicker hair, reduce scalp inflammation and improve blood circulation to support overall hair health.
Here's what you need to know about the niacin and hair growth connection and how niacin-rich foods and beauty products can help promote healthy hair. Plus, discover the products you need to support a healthy scalp for your best-looking hair yet.
What Is Niacin?
Niacin is one of the essential hair growth vitamins. It's critical in supporting internal and external health and maintaining the function of your vascular and circulatory systems. Still, many people have never heard of it.
"Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is an essential nutrient that plays a role in many different bodily functions," explained certified dermatologist and beauty product expert Dr. Alpana Mohta. "One of these functions is supporting hair growth. Niacin helps to keep the scalp healthy and can encourage new hair growth. It can also help to prevent hair loss."
How Does Niacin Support Hair Growth?
According to clinical dermatologist Dr. Enrizza P. Factor, niacin improves blood circulation and brings oxygen to the hair follicles, which results in hair development.
Poor blood circulation might be a culprit if you suffer from hair thinning. Nutrient-rich blood is critical to maintaining the moisture balance within your hair cells. When your blood flow is restricted, scalp dryness and damaged hair can result, as well as excessively dry skin throughout the body, resulting in skin disorders. Promoting circulation at the scalp will help nourish your hair follicles through the blood vessels at the scalp.
"Niacin is often recommended to those who have alopecia, with the goal of fuller, thicker hair," explained Dr. Factor. "Niacin aids in the stimulation of hair growth, and in one key study, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, the researchers showed that niacin increased hair fullness. By improving blood circulation to the scalp, niacin aids in faster and thicker hair growth. It also has other benefits for your body."
Aside from supporting the growth of thicker-looking hair, vitamin B3 keeps your digestive system, nervous system and skin healthy, which is why it is often included in daily multivitamins. It can increase skin proteins, nourish your skin cells and could even reduce some types of skin cancer.
Niacin promotes hair growth and is an essential ingredient for overall health, whether or not you suffer from thinning hair.
The Warning Signs of Niacin Deficiency
If your body is low in niacin, thin hair is likely the least of your worries. If you're not getting enough vitamin B3 in your diet, lack of this water-soluble vitamin might lead to severe symptoms such as a disorder called "pellagra," which includes symptoms throughout your skin, digestive and nervous systems.
However, this severe deficiency is uncommon in people who eat balanced diets. If you're just a little low on niacin, you might not experience these symptoms (although your thin, dry hair might still be a giveaway).
To ensure you're helping your hair look its best, Dr. Mohta recommends introducing niacin-rich foods to your diet wherever possible. "To use niacin for hair growth, it is important to get enough of the vitamin in your diet," she said. "Good sources of niacin include nuts and legumes."
If you want to increase your niacin intake with whole foods, stock up on goodies such as carrots, brown rice, asparagus, potatoes and nutritional yeast. For a niacin-rich snack on the go, grab a handful of unsalted raw or roasted peanuts. Whole wheat bread also makes for a perfect easy-to-access niacin source. Double-check the label of any packaged food to see how much of your daily niacin content it contains and top it with an avocado spread for an extra niacin boost.
Adding a general hair health-supporting gummy that contains all the essential building blocks for hair health to this niacin-rich diet can help give you the extra nutritional boost you need to ensure your hair is adequately nourished from the inside out.
However, a word of caution before you supplement your diet with additional niacin. If you start to experience a burning or tingling sensation after introducing niacin supplements to your diet, you might be experiencing a "niacin flush," a sign that your body is overloaded with the good stuff. If these symptoms occur, cut down on the niacin and check in with your doctor.
The Best Way to Add Niacin to Your Hair Care Routine
Aside from ensuring you're eating a balanced diet, the experts recommended incorporating hair health-supporting beauty products that include ingredients rich in nicotinic acid.
"There are also daily hair products with niacin that can help to support hair growth," explained Dr. Mohta. "Niacinamide, a form of niacin, is commonly used in these products. Niacinamide can help to improve the appearance of the scalp and hair. It can also help to reduce inflammation and redness."
Dr. Factor said using hair products with natural niacin content, such as the red clover in VEGAMOUR's cult-favorite GRO Hair Serum, can help support healthier, stronger, thicker, more luscious hair. "When applied topically to the scalp and hair, it can significantly improve the look, feel and health of your hair."
To ensure your scalp and roots are getting the good stuff, apply a dropper full of your niacin-rich serum or product of choice each morning, massaging in to ensure the product is fully absorbed before going about your day. You'll nourish your scalp's natural blood flow, supporting the health of hair follicles and encouraging your body to produce thicker-looking, more lustrous strands naturally.
If you don't notice an immediate change, keep it up! Like any beauty regime that works from the inside out, niacin needs time to be absorbed fully into your body, but you should start seeing results within a few months of regular daily use.
Using hair care products that include niacin is a great way to ensure your hair gets the nutritional support it needs to thrive. By eating a niacin-rich diet and using products that nurture hair from the inside out that support critical cellular function, you'll experience your thickest and healthiest-looking hair ever, the natural way!
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