Collagen promotes strong hair by supporting the scalp and the hair follicles. Here’s why taking collagen for hair loss might be working.
One of the most abundant proteins your body makes is collagen. It’s the element that helps develop your tendons, ligaments, and skin, according to the National Center for Biotechnology.
While much of your collagen comes from your body’s production, you can also find protein in foods.
While collagen has many benefits, one of the reasons it’s sought most out is for its role in fostering strong, healthy hair.
Skin aging is defined by external and internal factors, with the decline of the production of collagen and other proteins. Young and healthy skin is tested to exceed 75% of the genetic makeup being collagen.
As you age, your skin produces less collagen; thus, hair thinning, hair loss, and gray hair occur.
Genetics also plays a huge role in your hair and skin health and development.
Lifestyle factors also play a massive role in the aging of your skin. Sunlight, pollution, alcohol abuse, and lack of nutrients can slow down the production of collagen, leaving your skin to expand, causing wrinkles and fine lines.
How Can Collagen Help With Hair Loss?
Here are the most important benefits of taking collagen for hair restoration:
1. Amino Acids
Hair is primarily configured of one protein: keratin. For your body to build keratin, it needs several amino acids that can also be found in collagen. This means your body can produce a portion of the necessary amino acids through its production of collagen.
However, your body can also consume foods with collagen that can help with keratin growth, including bone broth, chicken, fish, egg whites, shellfish, citrus fruits, and more.
“Evidence suggests that the health benefits of collagen peptides support the principle that incorporating such functional components in the daily diet would enhance whole body collagen turnover and other aspects of health more effectively than the current average mix of proteins in common Western diets,” according to the NCBI.
Collagen peptides are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and are available as tiny, unique peptides characterized by a Hyp-Pro containing sequence after intake.
These peptides act as essential signal molecules to stimulate cells and build blocks supporting the connective tissues and musculoskeletal health.
2. Prevents Hair Thinning
Approximately 70% of your skin’s middle layer—the dermis—is comprised of collagen. This is the layer of skin that roots hair follicles, and it’s the collagen that determines your skin’s elasticity and strength.
As your body ages, it has a harder time producing collagen, which results in a weaker dermis, thus, leading to hair loss and hair thinning.
While you can eat foods rich in collagen, another option is microneedling.
This process is said to “stimulate the release of growth factors and induce collagen production. The epidermis remains relatively intact, therefore helping to limit adverse events. The indications for micro-needling therapy have grown significantly, and it is becoming a more widely used treatment in dermatology.”
3. Easy To Consume
In addition to foods and micro-needling, to increase your collagen, you can also take supplements.
Studies have shown that collagen can help with the reversal of aging through oral means, including supplements.
Typically, collagen supplements are composed of peptides with special amino acids, which ties us back to where we started.
How much collagen to take varies depending on your height and weight. So, while you may be on this journey with a friend or loved one, following their regiment to a T might not do the trick for you as it would with them.
However, it’s always best to consult with your physician about a dose that is right for you.
4. Necessary Antioxidants
Antioxidants are crucial when it comes to the health of your hair. The good thing is that you don’t have to worry about taking too many antioxidants because adding more is never detrimental.
Free radicals are what typically damage hair, which can be stopped by antioxidants that produce the hair follicles.
Balancing “free radicals and antioxidants are necessary for proper physiological function. If free radicals overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate them, a condition known as oxidative stress ensues. Free radicals thus adversely alter lipids, proteins, and DNA and trigger several human diseases. Hence the application of an external source of antioxidants can assist in coping with this oxidative stress”, according to NCBI.
For hair health, what protects hair follicles from damage are antioxidants. The dangers are primarily free radicals. As collagen production slows with age, the defense against free radicals also reduces.
Free radicals attack proteins, DNA, and lipids that compose cells. Being collagen is a protein, it is susceptible to such an attack by free radicals.
Our body always produces some free radicals, and with age, we make more. In addition, UV rays and air pollution also force the free radicals into our bodies. The danger is the detriment they cause to hair follicles.
5. Fibroblast Production
While taking collagen supplements can help fill the gap of the amount of collagen your body needs, it can also help boost your body’s collagen production. This happens because the increase of collagen also increases your body’s fibroblasts.
So, what are fibroblasts? Fibroblasts control our natural collagen production.
So, when you consume collagen, you’re boosting your body’s natural production of collagen, which then boosts your body’s fibroblasts. This, in turn, boosts your body’s collagen. It’s a symbiotic cycle of production.
The Science On Collagen For Hair Loss
At the end of the day, the studies on collagen and its role in hair care are limited. While there are many theories about how improving your intake of collagen can help with the growth and thickening of your hair, it’s not exactly proven. Understanding collagen and how it works in your body’s cycles is the first part.
While we can look at how our bodies produce less collagen with age, in addition to the damages caused by UV rays, pollution, smoking, and more, we can’t know for sure if we can balance hair issues with a supplement.
Could it hurt taking a supplement regardless? Not necessarily! Collagen supplements are still wonderful at keeping your skin strong and healthy—it’s just that there are not many studies when it comes to bettering your scalp skin for better hair.
In a study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, 26 women who experienced hair loss took four capsules containing collagen and other nutrients daily for six months. At the end of the trial, they experienced more hair growth than the 14 other women who took placebos.
This isn’t to say that collagen was what helped promote hair growth, though, being as the pills contained more elements than collagen alone. The supplement included herbs, keratin, and capsaicin, in addition to collagen. It could be one of the ingredients that helped or even the combination of them all.
Many theories focus on what increasing your collagen intake can do for your hair, its growth, and its texture, either through foods or supplements.
While there is research that confirms collagen helps with hair, whether it aids in growth or prevents thinning or damage remains inconclusive.
What To Note When Choosing Collagen For Hair Loss?
When it comes to using collagen, it’s important to note that not all collagen powders are the same. What works for your skin may not do the trick for your hair.
For hair growth and strength, opting for a hydrolyzed collagen peptides powder would be the fit.
As for the argument of whether biotin or collagen is better for your hair, both produce similarly positive results. It just depends on what your body needs most.
Biotin helps with reducing skin sensitivity, dandruff, and sebum production. Meanwhile, collagen enhances your hair from the structure by improving protein levels.
While you can take either, you can also take both for added benefits.
For even more hair and skin goodness, you can include vitamin D and folic acid supplements in your daily intake.