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If you’re trying to manage hair loss, you might be wondering what can help. The answer could be silica. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry — here’s everything you need to know.

Silicon dioxide (SiO2), also known as silica, is a natural trace mineral made from a combination of silicon and oxygen. It’s found naturally in many plants, such as leafy greens and whole grains. You can also find it in the form of supplements or extracts.

While there’s no scientific evidence that silica can reverse the effects of hair loss, it has been found to help strengthen hair, among other benefits.

This article explores how silica may help foster hair growth and how it can also benefit your skin and nails.

To determine how silica fosters hair growth, you need to start at the root — literally. It’s been found to deliver essential nutrients to your scalp and hair follicles, according to a 2016 research review.

And while silica hasn’t been found to reverse hair loss, it may help prevent hair breakage. One 2007 study involving 48 women with fine hair found that their hair strands were strengthened after taking 10 mg of silicon for 9 months.

Most people don’t get enough silica in their diet. That’s because the mineral doesn’t accumulate in your body. Instead, it gets flushed out by your kidneys.

The same 2016 review found that taking vitamins and supplements is one of the best ways your body can retain silica. Silica supplements commonly come from bamboo or the horsetail plant (Equisetum arvense).

You can take these herbs in supplement or tincture (extract) form. Another common method of consumption is using dried herbs to make tea. Some people even steep horsetail in hot water, then add it to their shampoo.

There’s a reason silica is referred to as the “beauty mineral.”

In one 2005 study, 50 women with sun-damaged skin saw positive changes in their hair, skin, and nails after taking a silicon supplement for 20 weeks.

Youthful, firm skin

Silica also promotes the production of collagen, which is your body’s most abundant protein.

The 2005 study showed how silica helped the women’s sun-damaged skin. After the women took 10 mg of silica on a daily basis, their skin’s rough texture was improved.

Collagen is responsible for helping your skin maintain its youthfulness by keeping it firm and elastic. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Since collagen production decreases as we age, according to a 2014 study, silica is key to collagen creation.

Stronger nails

Silica also benefits your nails by delivering orthosilicic acid, one of the compounds in silica.

In the aforementioned 2005 study, orthosilicic acid had a positive effect on the brittleness of nails.

Silica doesn’t promote hair growth, but it does strengthen hair and prevent thinning. It does this by delivering essential nutrients to your hair follicles. As a bonus, it can also benefit your skin and nails.

Be sure to speak with your doctor before trying silica for hair loss. They can help determine whether it’s right for you and, if it is, prescribe the proper dosage.