Hair loss, whether it be fast, or relatively slow, can be a huge concern, especially with the effects it can have on your general well-being. For many, the first signs of hair loss can lead to desperate attempts to find a remedy that stops it, or at best, slows it down.

If the loss is severe, some opt for a hairline hair transplant before it gets much worse. Others source alternative treatments. A change in diet, a particular hair product, or a change in habits for example.

Something many people look to is vitamin E. It has long been discussed that vitamin E benefits your hair and not only improves its elasticity and shine, but also helps increase its growth.

So, is it a myth, a legend, a fable? We look at Vitamin E and your hair here and find out.

What is vitamin E and where is it found?

Vitamin E is a group of eight fat soluble compounds that protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. It can be found in vitamin supplements but is also naturally present in certain foods. Foods you will find vitamin E in, include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Spinach
  • Pumpkin
  • Avocado
  • Mango
  • Asparagus

What’s a free radical?

A free radical is an unstable molecule that races around your body under the control of antioxidants. Once those antioxidants deplete in number, the free radicals do pretty much what they want. This can lead to illness, ageing skin, and hair loss among many other things.

The antioxidants contain the work of the free radicals, stopping them from causing havoc within your body. Therefore, a lack of vitamin E in your diet could see free radicals taking control where they shouldn’t be allowed to.

Is vitamin E good for your hair?

It is believed to be. There is still somewhat of a grey area over the existence of solid proof that vitamin E is good for your hair.

It is claimed that vitamin E benefits your hair stem due to its properties as an antioxidant. Vitamin E, just like vitamin C, helps to prevent oxidative stress, something that has been frequently linked to alopecia areata.

In addition, capillary circulation in the scalp is increased through vitamin E intake helping to enhance hair growth. However, the results are not 100% equivocal. The evidence to support that vitamin E can prevent hair loss is limited.

A further benefit that stems from vitamin E is the increased shine it can give your hair. Our frequent need to style, wash, dry, and treat our hair can leave it damaged and looking in poor condition.

Using vitamin E, it has been argued, helps restore some of that shine that is lost through constant blow drying and the use of styling products and chemicals. Again though, there is limited evidence to support this claim.

What does vitamin E do for your hair?

As vitamin E is an antioxidant, it kills off the free radicals that damage your hair follicle cells. Free radicals are unstable and highly reactive. As a result, they can cause reactions within your body known as oxidative stress.

It is this stress that causes cellular damage that can lead to your hair thinning. The vitamin E breaks down the capabilities of the free radicals and as a result, can prevent the oxidative stress that could cause hair loss.

However, some of these free radicals are vital for your body and will help kill off disease. Therefore, a balance of new radicals and antioxidants is vital. Vitamin E should help provide this balance.

Are there risks using Vitamin E for your hair?

There are risks with too much or too little of anything, and whilst vitamin E may deliver some benefits, too much may be detrimental to your health. High doses of vitamin E have been known to:

  • Weaken bones
  • Increase the risk of prostate cancer
  • Disrupt thyroid hormone production

It has also been noted that vitamin E supplements can also interfere with chemotherapy treatments.

What types of hair loss can vitamin E treat?

At present, there is no evidence to support a claim that vitamin E can successfully treat any form of hair loss except for alopecia areata. Therefore, it is always important to get a professional opinion before taking any supplements, drastically changing your diet, or taking specific treatments.

The data is still not conclusive and if you have encountered hair loss that is causing a lack of confidence or additional stress, you should speak to an expert about the ideal next steps.