If you’re reading this, there’s a high chance that you’ve come across terms such as keratin, cysteine, PRP, hair botox, and so on. Medical terms are anyway difficult to understand, and it’s further complicated by the fact that there are so many ‘skin influencers’ who post their views (which may not be scientifically accurate) on Dr Google. Let’s try and break down basic terms related to skin and hair from a Dermatologist’s perspective – I promise I’ll simplify it so much that you can become an expert on these topics.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is one of the vitamins which belongs to the B complex, it’s vitamin B7 to be precise. B vitamins are all water-soluble, which means that there is no problem with ‘overdose’ or ‘toxicity’ – you drink enough water, and your kidneys will flush them out *phew*.
What does Biotin do?
It helps nourish the hair from its roots. You think of biotin, you think of hair. It helps give it strength and good texture. That’s why whenever there is a multivitamin deficiency, the hair becomes dull and lifeless, and you may experience massive hair fall. However, it’s unlikely that one will only develop biotin deficiency. In reality, there will be multiple nutrient deficiencies.
People unable to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat a nutritious diet and have a vitamin deficiency, leading to hair fall, should go for biotin supplements.
Where can we get it naturally?
Milk, Nuts, seeds, beans, rajma, Chola, and egg yolk are excellent sources of Biotin. Remember that those who consume raw egg whites can develop biotin deficiency since it won’t be absorbed from the stomach.
What is Keratin?
Keratin is the main protein found in the skin, hair and nails. It is responsible for giving hair its tensile strength. Keratin is the building block of hair, and its concentration and orientation vary between different races, thus giving rise to straight hair, curly hair, and coarse and thin hair.
What is meant by keratin treatment of hair?
Here keratin is applied externally to heat-treated hair to help make them silkier, and stronger and to straighten frizzy uncombable hair.
But keratin treatment has a dark side to it and that’s in the form of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde or formalin is the actual chemical which straightens hair.
In the short term, it can cause skin rash, asthma and watering of the eyes. However, in the long run, it may cause cancer. Of course, if you’re a customer at the parlour, it doesn’t matter much to you because you’ll be getting keratin treatment done occasionally, however, the hair stylists are exposed to it every day, throughout the day, which is a problem.
Even those brands which claim to be 100 per cent formaldehyde free – the chemicals they contain are the precursors of formaldehyde. Once they combine with water, they eventually release formaldehyde.
Biotin vs keratin: Which one is better?
Now that you know what these words mean, it’s pretty obvious which treatment is better – Biotin! Biotin is taken orally either through your diet or through vitamin supplements, and it helps correct vitamin deficiency and strengthens hair from its roots whereas keratin is a temporary treatment as it’s only targeting the hair shafts, and once the new hair forms, it will anyway come out in its natural state.
Simple right? I told you; I will make it easy for you.