Can Vitamin C Improve your Hair Growth?

The health and beauty industry has realised in recent years that the natural way is popular amongst consumers, which is why there has been an influx of products on the market that include plant derivatives and vitamins. One of the more popular choices in hair products is vitamin C which is essential for hair growth and many other cellular processes in the body. For centuries, it was given to sailors on long journeys to stave off illness and keep the body healthy – whilst scurvy may not be a risk nowadays, it’s still a vital nutrient in our everyday health. Many studies have shown how important vitamin C is in keeping our skin strong and supple, helping to boost the levels of collagen in the skin which help to fight ageing and wrinkles, but what can it do for your hair?


On the surface, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to combat the damage from free radicals that the environment causes. On the skin, this translates into wrinkles and lines, as well as a dull complexion. However, there are limited studies into the effect of vitamin C on your hair, as the complicated cellular processes are less prevalent in the hair. Vitamin C is the more common name for ascorbic acid which is a small chiral molecule – this means that it can occur in two different forms. The types of ascorbic acid which are found in plants, synthesised in animals and used in cosmetic products are left-handed molecules. The right-handed version doesn’t occur in nature, though researchers are unsure why.


Vitamin C is a mild acid and therefore works as a great ingredient in clarifying shampoos. It can be very useful in removing mineral build-up which can build up on the hair follicles. This process can help to enable the hair to absorb moisture, keeping it soft and shiny and stopping it from breaking so easily. When this nutrient is included in conditioners and styling products it works as an antioxidant, much as it is used in skin creams as well. Free radicals lead to damage in the structure of the hair, so using vitamin C can help to reduce the effects of split ends. Free radicals also react to the natural melanin and synthetic dye molecules which can remain in the hair strands – vitamin C can be useful in this regard, helping to keep the colour fresh and bright. In other products, vitamin C is used as a pH adjuster or a preservative, and can have no significant impact on the final effect of the product. If it is low on the list of ingredients, you’ll know that this is the case.


With regards to hair growth, vitamins C can help to repair a damaged or unhealthy scalp. Your scalp goes a long way to determining the health of your hair and while it is true that ascorbic acid is capable of transferring tissue and cells in certain products, this isn’t usually the case in shampoo. This is because the pH of hair care products is usually very high and this can stop the acid from being effective. Most products with vitamin C in them will have little impact on your scalp health. Whether it is possible for hair products to improve your hair growth, it remains to be seen – it won’t hurt to try them, but the effects may only be in moderation. If you’re suffering with severe problems with your scalp, however, speak to your GP in case you’re lacking something in your diet.

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