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Which vitamins are good for hair and nails*

5 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Hair and Nail Vitamins

It seems like every day, some new beauty influencer or celebrity is on social media talking about the “amazing” supplements they take for stronger, thicker, shinier, and every-other-adjective hair and nails And after being inundated with a billion of these images, day after day, you’ve probably been tempted to join the crowd and pick up a few bottles of vitamins, too We know we have

But before we raided the shelves of GNC, we talked to an expert—you know, the kind with an actual medical degree who saves lives and stuff—about whether or not popping a few pills can really give you the gorgeous hair and nails of your dreams like social media promises And yes, she had a lot to say Read on to find out the five things you should absolutely know before stocking up on those mystical, magical vitamins

First, learn your supplements

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Then, ignore (most of) what you hear

Make sure you know how vitamins work

Just like your body doesn’t know to target, say, your thighs when you’re trying to lose weight, your body also doesn’t know that those supplements you’re taking are supposed to help with your nails or hair “There aren’t special vitamins that enter your system and are magically diverted to your hair or nails,” says Phillips “They might help the overall functioning of your body, which, in turn, can contribute to healthier skin and nails, but the same can pretty much be said of a proper diet”

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But be patient—and don’t expect miracles

Sorry, but vitamins don’t work immediately In fact, unless you have a deficiency, they might not work for you at allThese radicals promote aging of skin and other cells, according to the National Institutes of Health. “We simply don’t have studies on the effects of taking vitamins and supplements to boost your hair and nail growth,” says Phillips “But if we did, I can tell you that it wouldn’t be a magical, immediate cure Even if your levels were low, or you had the rare deficiency that would benefit from taking supplements, it would still take several weeks to a couple of months to see results”

We know: bummer But it also makes sense, because clearly nothing you ingest today is going to help the dead hair that’s already hangin’ out in a ponytail on top of your head “Any supplement that you’re going to take right now would only help the next layer of layer or nails that you’re growing next,” says Phillips “So you wouldn’t even really notice results for another four or five months—and that’s if you’re totally consistent with taking them daily”

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Then repeat after us: More isn’t better

So, that being said, take supplements at your own risk Or, better yet, just go to your doctor and discuss everything with her Because as awesome your sister’s hairstylist’s cousin probably is, do you really want to be taking health advice from her?

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