MSM (Sulfur) for hair growth: how does it work?

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) is a colorless chemical compound derived from sulfur, a nutritional mineral which occurs naturally in many types of food and drink. It is also available as a dietary supplement and can be purchased over the counter. Due to the sulfur in its chemical makeup, MSM has a number of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Sulfur is also involved in the synthesis of glucosamine – an amino sugar that helps strengthen your bones and joints.
MSM cream for hair

How does MSM work for hair growth?

The hair shaft is primarily made of a protein named keratin. Your body needs sulfur to make collagen and keratin, which are essential for any type of tissue and cell repair in the human body. Collagen thickens the hair shaft. Moreover, as you may already know, there are three phases of hair growth:

  1. Anagen phase (growth)
  2. Catagen (resting)
  3. Telogen (shedding)

Apart from providing the chemicals that nourish hair follicles, MSM was found to naturally increase the length of your hair’s growth phase (anagen) by stimulating scalp circulation. A longer growing phase leads to longer hair, something both men and women generally aim for in terms of hair health.

How is MSM used?

MSM cream is generally used for skin repair (collagen) or joint pain relief, and online reviews suggest it might not be as comfortable and effective if applied directly to the scalp. Dietary supplements, on the other hand, may be used to treat the very cause of the problem from the inside – e.g. a possible nutrient deficiency.
MSM hair skin and nails supplement

Hair vitamins with MSM

MSM is generally very safe to take as a hair growth supplement, but you must speak to a licensed medical professional first. You may need a recipe to get higher concentration supplements (more than 1500 mg a day), if they are suitable for you. OptiMSM®, Hairfinity and Doctor’s Best Best MSM Tablets are some of the most trustworthy brands praised by online reviews. Hair vitamins with MSM can be taken in the form of pills, capsules or powder. Last, but not least, remember to keep yourself well hydrated while taking MSM supplements in order to flush out toxins and ensure optimal circulation.


MSM is naturally found in milk, tea and coffee, so it shouldn’t be a hassle to incorporate these in your diet – without overdoing it. However dairy is not advised due to its effect on hormonal balance. Drinking too much coffee and tea may also be bad for you. Lean meat (chicken and turkey) is a great source of natural MSM, although the compound also results from cooking at high temperatures. Remember any sort of adjustment or treatment should be allowed a few months to start working, so try to be patient!

How to take MSM powder

Here’s a good video explaining an unusual but effective way of consuming MSM powder: