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Home arrow Beauty arrow Hair arrow Silica for Hair Growth: Key to Healthier and Thicker Hair?

Silica for Hair Growth: Key to Healthier and Thicker Hair?

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: May 22, 2023
7 min read 810 Views 0 Comments
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Silica can strengthen hair and make hair shafts more flexible and shinier. But can it really help you grow thicker hair?

silica for hair growth

If you’ve ever shopped for a haircare supplement, chances are you’ve come across products that contain silica.

Along with argan oil and coconut oil, silica is touted as a powerful haircare ingredient that can even help you grow thicker hair.

But can you use silica for hair growth? Do silica supplements work to reduce hair thinning? Or is silica just another haircare myth?

Learn what science has to say about the trace mineral silica and its role in hair health and growth.

Silica for Hair Growth: A Useful Haircare Supplement?

Silica may prevent hair thinning and support healthy hair growth. If you have fine or brittle hair, taking a silica supplement or eating more foods rich in silica may promote healthy hair.

That said, there’s no scientific evidence that silica can revert hair loss. Your hair needs silica, but silica isn’t a wonder cure for alopecia.

What Is Silica?

Silica (Si) is a common mineral found on the earth’s surface, notably in rocks, sand, and clay. Consisting of silicon and oxygen (SiO2), it most commonly occurs in quartz.

Silica is also called silicon dioxide. But don’t confuse it with silicone, a synthetic compound that’s used as a sealant or for insulation, including to protect the components of digital devices against heat and shock.

Medical research indicates that silica is essential for human health, including collagen production, bone health, and the health of the hair, skin, and nails. It may even lower the risk of heart disease and support the immune system.

Animal studies indicate that when young, our bodies have more silica. This contributes to soft skin, shiny hair, and long lashes. With age, we lose silica.

Silica deficiency has been associated with bone deformities, lower-than-normal collagen in the body, and mineral balance disruption.

However, more research is necessary to understand the biological functions of silica in the human body.

Silica naturally occurs in leafy greens, whole grains, brown rice, and other plant-based foods. It’s also available in supplement form as an extract.

3 Main Benefits of Silica for Hair

Researchers are still investigating the benefits of this mineral for hair growth and hair thinning. Here’s what current science has to say about it.

#1 Balances hormones

Studies show that silicon dioxide plays an important role in improving calcium and magnesium imbalances. Through this, it contributes to a balanced, well-functioning hormonal system. Silica also has an impact on thyroid hormone synthesis.  

This indicates a link not only between silicon and bone health but also between silicon and hair health.

Hormone imbalances in both males and females can influence hair follicle health and growth rate. In some cases, this may contribute to hair thinning or even hair loss.

With that in mind, hormone balance is a complex process that silica alone cannot magically fix overnight. More research is needed to better understand a silica supplement’s impact on hormone balance.

#2 Strengthens hair

A 2007 study investigated the effects of an oral supplement containing an amorphous form of silica on women with fine hair. It found that 10mg of the supplement increased hair tensile strength and elasticity and made hair less likely to break.

What’s more, 9 months later, women who had taken the supplement had thicker hair. The specific form of silica investigated is called choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid.

Don’t let the name discourage you. Research indicates that the oral intake of this supplement is one of the best ways to take advantage of the benefits of silica for hair strength.

#3 Nourishes the scalp

Researchers haven’t established whether silica itself is an essential nutrient for hair. However, studies suggest that choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid can deliver essential nutrients to your scalp.

Hair grows from hair follicles, which are embedded in the skin of the scalp. Unlike the strands of hair, which are dead tissue made of keratin, follicles need protein, iron, magnesium, zinc, and biotin to stay healthy and produce hair.

Silica also appears to stimulate collagen synthesis, supporting the health of the skin on your scalp.

Collagen has essential amino acids that the body uses to build keratin. Keratin, in turn, is the main protein of the connective tissue containing the hair follicles – the dermis. Collagen decreases with age, but silica supports collagen creation.

Nails are also made of keratin. That’s why silica supplements are sometimes marketed to promote the health of the hair, skin, and nails.

Side Effects of Silica

Inhaling crystalline silica dust particles can cause potentially life-threatening lung and kidney conditions like silicosis and cancer.

However, silica dust exposure occurs only in certain environments like mines, pottery manufacturing facilities, stone cutting, or foundry work.

Silica supplements contain non-crystalline chemical forms of the mineral. Taken orally within recommended doses, they are unlikely to cause any side effects.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a daily intake of silica no greater than 2% of your daily food intake, which amounts to 500–1,500 grams of silica a day.

Silica-rich foods contain lower doses of silica, making them even safer than supplements. The body doesn’t store silica. It flushes out the excess amounts through urine.

Good to know: In rare cases, silica may cause allergic reactions, including rashes.

It’s not recommended to take silica or any other supplement if you’re pregnant without first discussing this with your doctor.

Even if you’re not pregnant, stay safe by talking with your doctor about whether or not you should take a silica supplement.

How to Use Silica

Want to increase your daily dose of silica? You can eat food rich in silica, take a silica supplement, use silica-rich hair products, or all of these.

Let’s take a closer look at the different ways to get more silica.

#1 Eat silica-rich foods

The safest way to increase your daily intake of silica is to eat foods that are naturally rich in this mineral. These foods include:

  • Oat bran (23.36mg/100 grams)
  • Oat cake (18.26mg/100 grams)
  • Dried dates (16.61mg/100 grams)
  • Granola cereals (12.25mg/100 grams)
  • Dry porridge oats (11.39mg/100 grams)
  • Wheat bran (10.98mg/100 grams)
  • Kenyan beans, fresh and boiled (10mg/100 grams)
  • Green beans, fresh and boiled (8.73mg/100 grams)
  • Coriander, fresh and raw (8.42mg/100 grams)
  • Brown bread (6.17mg/100 grams)
  • Dried currants (6.09mg/100 grams)
  • Runner beans (5.25mg/100 grams)
  • Spinach, fresh and boiled (5.12mg/100 grams)
  • Pineapple, canned in syrup (4.53mg/100 grams)

Please note that these values may vary according to the food’s place of origin, growth methods, storage, and other factors.

#2 Take silica supplements

Does a busy schedule limit your food choices? Research suggests that choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid is highly bioavailable when taken in powder or liquid form.

However, silica supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Different supplements may offer widely different concentrations of silica.

Since there are no strict guidelines on this, be wary of any claims that specific concentrations produce specific results.

Since you get silica from some of your food, you may want to stay away from silica supplements with high doses of silica.

Most silica supplements are often marketed as collagen builders, hair health supplements, hair and beauty supplements, and anti-aging formulas.

Silica in supplements can be extracted from plants or algae or come in the form of diatomaceous earth, a type of sedimentary rock. It can come in the form of capsules, liquid concentrates, and gels.

#3 Use hair products with silica

Silica is also available as shampoo, hair treatments, sprays, conditioners, or protective serums. Silica-rich hair products promise to deliver silica straight to your hair shafts to strengthen your hair and make it shine.

Some research indicates that silica delivered in this manner may make your hair stronger and brighter, seal in moisture, and act as a UV protector. However, more research is needed to support these claims.

Over the years, users of silica haircare products have raised concerns that silica can build up on the hair shaft. While this can lock in moisture in people with dry hair and give the hair a silky feel, it may also block nourishing ingredients from reaching the hair follicle, leading to dull and lifeless hair.

There’s not enough research to support or infirm these claims. To stay safe, avoid overusing silica hair products.

FAQs

Can silica help with hair thinning?

Silica may strengthen and make more flexible existing hair shafts, but it cannot revert hair loss.

How much silica should you take for hair growth?

There are no clear guidelines, but research suggests that taking 10mg of silica orally for 9 months strengthens hair.

Does silica block DHT?

More research is needed to prove that silica can block the hair loss hormone DHT. However, it may balance other hormones.

Is silica better than biotin for hair growth?

Both silica and biotin may have hair health benefits. Test them separately or find a haircare product containing both.

A Word From a Trichologist

You are born with over 1 million hair follicles on your scalp. On average, hair grows half an inch every month, though this can vary from person to person. If the hair strands growing from these are brittle and break easily, silica could promote hair growth.

The health of a hair follicle depends on the nourishment it receives, both internally and externally. That’s why eating silica-rich foods and taking a silica supplement can be beneficial.

Silica is one of the nutrients your hair needs. But similar to argan oil, silica cannot revert hair loss resulting from the natural death of hair follicles as we age or from alopecia.

Hair loss can have many causes, including genes, hormonal changes, or medical conditions. Silica cannot magically grow hair, but it can give your hair a healthy boost.

Conclusion

In the end, eating silica foods or taking silica supplements may improve the health of your hair, skin, and nails. However, silica isn’t a miracle cure for hair loss or hair thinning.

Eating foods high in silica is safer than taking dietary supplements containing this mineral. Oral intake at doses below 1,500 mg per day of silica is generally considered safe.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: May 22, 2023
7 min read 810 Views 0 Comments
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