Ok, ok: we finally tried Sugar Bear Hair.
Sugar Bear Hair launched their “revolutionary hair vitamins” in 2015, and almost instantly, Instagram was awash in a tsunami of Influencers with long, luxurious, beautiful hair holding up these now iconic little blue gummy bears.
This was spearheaded by the Kardashians, of course, who were recruited by SugarBear to bring these gummies to the masses.
At the time, we kind of watched from the sidelines in amusement, secure in our own reasonably luxurious mane.
Our Sugar Bear Journey
But! A few years ago, our hair started thinning noticeably 😞.
We were, of course, well aware of the Sugar Bear Hair phenom, having been inundated for years by Influencers at that point.
When we started looking for supplement solutions before we went full Rogaine, we were hesitant to try Sugar Bear Hair: a lot of reviews online reported cystic acne as an unfortunate side effect.
We figured that acne was worse than thinning hair, and it wasn’t a trade-off we were willing to risk.
So instead, we wound up ordering Hum Nutrition’s Hair Sweet Hair, which worked so well that we made a website devoted to gummy vitamins! (Yes, this whole website is basically an ode to Hair Sweet Hair.)
But because we’re curious & have dedicated ourselves to exploring the entire gummy cosmos, we’ve been trying a lot of different hair, skin, and nails gummies lately. Do all hair gummies, including Sugar Bear Hair, basically do the same thing? Or is there something special about Hum?
In the meantime, we have also tried SugarBear’s Sleep Vitamins, which quickly became our favorite melatonin gummy, and their Women’s Multi, which is a pretty decent multivitamin.
So we do have first-hand experience with Sugar Bear Gummies, and figured if their hair gummies were anything like their amazing sleep gummies, we were missing out.
And so, in the name of gummy science, we finally decided to take the plunge into Sugar Bear Hair.
Spoiler alert: we got acne 😑.
Sugar Bear Hair Results
Do SugarBearHair gummies really work?
Well, honestly, we can’t say: we only made it 10 days before we started breaking out and decided to stop taking them.
It’s a bummer, because Hum’s Hair Sweet Hair gave us results within a few weeks, so we wanted to be able to give SugarBear a chance for at least one full bottle in order to give our review!
As soon as we stopped taking them, our skin cleared up within days. SBH was definitely the culprit.
We’re willing to undergo a lot in service to gummy vitamin reviews, but having pizza face for months crosses the line. Sorry, not sorry!
Obviously, not everyone who takes Sugar Bear Hair breaks out, so the question remains: would they have worked if we kept taking them?
There are two ways of trying to answer that question: we can look at other reviews online from people who didn’t have side effects like acne, and we can look at the science behind hair growth supplements.
We can also talk about our experience with other hair gummies, and how the ingredients in those gummies compare to Sugar Bear.
Because here’s the thing with hair gummies: they’re pretty much aways focused on biotin, and Sugar Bear is no exception.
But given how popular biotin is, there’s surprisingly no convincing research that biotin does much of anything for healthy people.
Our personal experience with other biotin supplements bears that out, too: biotin, on its own, doesn’t give us any results.
Of course, there’s more to Sugar Bear than just biotin, so let’s take a detour through the ingredients in SBH before we look at Sugar Bear Hair reviews from other people.
Sugar Bear Hair Ingredients
There are a lot of ingredients in Sugarbearhair! It’s basically a multivitamin with a hair focus, packed with vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, and B12, plus Folate (B9), Pantothenic Acid (B5), Iodine, Inositol, Zinc, and of course, Biotin.
Biotin is the supposed star of the show here, but we’ll also look at each of these ingredients and what the science says around whether or not they’ll help your hair.
Biotin, a B-complex vitamin, is the centerpiece of most (all?) Hair Gummies. But the actual research into whether or not biotin supplements actually do anything beneficial is surprisingly thin!
Basically, biotin is what’s known as a “coenzyme” in your body’s process of producing keratin, which is the protein that your hair and nails are made out of.
Sounds like supplementing biotin could definitely help you grow more hair, right? Well, not necessarily, as it turns out.
To understand why biotin is such a popular hair growth supplement, it’s helpful to know how it was discovered: originally named “Vitamin H,” biotin was first identified in the 1940s, and it’s a weird story.
Scientists found that animals fed a diet high in raw egg started losing their hair, getting skin rashes, and eventually some even died.
In trying to figure out why this was happening, they discovered that there was a vitamin that was getting bound up in a protein from the raw egg, rendering it unusable by their bodies.
This vitamin was biotin.
Essentially, the animals fed raw eggs developed severe biotin deficiency, leading to hair loss, skin rashes and brittle nails.
So, the thinking goes, if a biotin deficiency causes these symptoms, then taking more biotin can produce even healthier hair, skin, and nails!
Do Biotin supplements actually do anything?
There is actually no significant clinical evidence that biotin improves hair, skin, or nail health in people who do not have a biotin deficiency.
Biotin deficiencies are very rare and usually genetic, and if you’re not actually deficient in biotin, it’s unlikely that taking more will actually do anything.
There are only two case studies regarding biotin’s effect on hair, and both were with regards to children with “uncombable hair syndrome.” 1 2 (No, that’s not just your mom insisting you have a “rat’s nest” on your head while you run away from her so she can’t brush it. It’s apparently a condition of dry, frizzy hair among children under the age of twelve, where the hair refuses to lay flat against the head.)
There was one study that found some small but clinically insignificant improvement in nail strength in women who supplemented with biotin.3
And one self-reported case study that found that about 20% of people who used biotin supplements reported improvements in their hair or nails.4
That’s not zero percent, so it is certainly possible that biotin supplements can help improve hair in a small amount of people. But the question is, did these people already have a biotin deficiency, and that’s why they benefitted from supplements? Unfortunately, it’s unclear from this study.
Basically, the upshot is there’s no real clinical evidence one way or another regarding biotin supplementation: the studies just haven’t been done!
This is pretty surprising, given how hard biotin is pushed as a beauty supplement, right??
But unfortunately, that’s how it goes in the supplement world sometimes!
The same goes for a number of the other ingredients in Sugar Bear Hair: a deficiency can cause hair loss, but if you’re not deficient, taking more won’t necessarily help.
In fact, in the case of vitamin A, Iodine, and Zinc, taking too much can actually cause hair loss!
The vitamins in Sugar Bear Hair that might help an otherwise healthy person grow hair are the other B vitamins, plus C, D, and E.
But essentially, here’s the upshot: there’s no ingredient in Sugar Bear Hair that would cause hair growth if you aren’t deficient in that ingredient, at least according to the current state of the scientific research around these supplements.
If you’re getting enough vitamins & minerals from your diet (or other supplements), Sugar Bear is unlikely to do anything for you.
However, given that not everyone has nutritionally complete diets, it’s probably the case that taking Sugar Bear Hair has had some effect for some people!
So, let’s see what the rest of the internet is saying:
Sugar Bear Hair Reviews
Looking around the internet, other reviews are extremely mixed: some people swear by SugarBear, a lot of people complain about the side effects.
Despite having over 28,000 ratings and four & a half stars on Amazon, the actual written reviews are pretty starkly divided, with little middle ground.
To be clear: a lot of people say SugarBear worked for them. Other people say they got the worst acne they’ve ever had.
We don’t think we’ve ever seen such a controversial gummy!
That might be in part due to how famous these are: SugarBearHair as a victim of its own success (or at least its own successful Instagram marketing).
People get their hopes up from miracle claims, and then if the gummies don’t do much, they get angry.
But most of the controversy seems to come from the Dark Side of the Sugar Bear: the side effects.
SugarBearHair Side Effects
This is the big one. We are first-hand casualties of the SugarBearAcne.
Biotin and acne
There are some supporters of the idea that high dose of biotin can cause acne, but that claim doesn’t seem to be supported by any research.
The prevailing theory is that supplementing too much biotin can interfere with your body’s absorption of vitamin B5, aka Pantothenic Acid (which is also included in Sugar Bear Hair).
Since B5 helps maintain your skin barrier, not getting enough might cause acne, or at least make you more susceptible to breakouts.
But if this were the case, we’d be breaking out from every biotin gummy, and we don’t. So far, SugarBear is the only biotin supplement that gives us breakouts.
Although it is interesting that a 2016 analysis by LabDoor found 70% more biotin in SugarBearHair than the label says there is, which would make SugarBear a megadose of biotin at 8670 micrograms, instead of the 5100 listed on the label.
It’s possible that getting such large daily dose of biotin is giving us acne, whereas other biotin gummies don’t because they have less biotin. (For reference, Hair Sweet Hair has 5000 micrograms of biotin, Nature’s Bounty Hair Skin & Nails has 2500.)
On the other hand, these biotin gummies by “NutraFaza” apparently have 10,000 micrograms of biotin per serving, and yet no reviews complaining about acne.
The same report from LabDoor found that SugarBearHair also had 75% more vitamin B5 than the label said, which it seems might help offset some of the interaction between biotin and B5.
Curiouser and curiouser.
(We should also point out that that LabDoor was from 2016, which was 5 years ago at this point, so we imagine Sugar Bear has had plenty of time to tweak their manufacturing process. We’re unaware of any current lab analysis that would give us a current peek into what’s in them!)
Let’s look at some of the other ingredients in SugarBear that might be linked to acne.
B12 and acne
There’s a fairly well established link between vitamin B12 and acne. We won’t go too deep into the science, but there’s a fascinating theory that high doses of B12 causes higher levels of B12 in your skin, which causes some beneficial microbes on your skin to stop making their own B12, resulting in the whole microbiotic ecosystem on your face getting out of balance, and poof: acne.
The LabDoor study did find that SugarBear has 72% more B12 than labelled (10.3 micrograms) and 73% more B6.
High doses of B12 cause acne in about X% of people who have been studied. So this could be a culprit for some SugarBear eaters.
But personally, not only have we gotten actual B12 injections in the past with no breakouts, we also regularly take Olly’s Laser Focus gummies, which have 50 micrograms of B12. And that’s on top of our daily Hiball!
Basically, we’re always loaded up with B12 and our skin is still clear as day.
That is, until we start supplementing with… vitamin D.
Vitamin D and acne
We started taking vitamin D supplements earlier this year, and also started noticing that within a couple days we’d start to break out. When we stopped with the D, our skin cleared up. If we stick to about 1000 IU per week, we’re in the clear. Above that, acne.
This is our personal theory: the vitamin D in SugarBearHair is making us break out.
The weird thing is that almost everything we can find online suggests the opposite: vitamin D deficiency is linked to acne, to the point where vitamin D is regularly recommended to treat acne.
The theory seems to be that vitamin D supplementation might increase testosterone, leading to breakouts, although the research on this is pretty thin as well.
Is vitamin D the culprit for everyone who gets acne from SugarBear?
Probably not. The connection between vitamin D and acne seems to be a pretty understudied subject! So we have to imagine that it’s either a rare phenomenon that hasn’t seemed significant enough to warrant a study, or not a lot of people have picked up on the connection.
Also, it does seem like there are reports of acne from other hair gummies, most of which don’t contain vitamin D (including our beloved Hair Sweet Hair!). So the biotin = acne theory could prove true for some people, even though that isn’t the case for us personally.
Here’s our takeaways:
Biotin supplements are unlikely to result in any improvement in your hair, unless you have a biotin deficiency. The same goes for the other ingredients in Sugar Bear Hair.
Why does Sugar Bear Hair apparently cause acne in a lot of people who take it, including us? There isn’t a clear link between any of the ingredients and acne, sooo, the mystery remains.
What’s been your experience with hair gummies? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!
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