What makes your hair strong and your skin elastic?
Collagen for hair growth and skin is touted as the latest solution. Everyone is chatting about it as the fountain of youth — names like Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian are putting it in their coffee and releasing a line of collagen products.
And it’s all to “help you look and feel younger and grab a hold of that coveted glow”, as Kourtney’s website says.
But, while it’s no secret that collagen is great for skin, collagen for hair isn’t as commonly talked about.
The tragedy is that as we get older, collagen levels begin to decrease dramatically, and a reduction in collagen may be a contributing factor to hair loss.
Hair loss is primarily thought to be a male disease, but according to the American Academy of Dermatology, 40% of women in the US are said to experience visible hair loss by the age of 40. Hair loss can be devastating, causing higher levels of self-doubt and lower levels of self-esteem.
If you’re scared about your luscious locks becoming brittle, or slowly thinning as the years go by, then this list is for you.
We’re going to dive into understanding collagen for hair, along with the best collagen supplements for skin and hair that you can take to potentially sidestep hair loss, or strengthen the locks you’ve got.
Understanding Hair Loss and Collagen for Hair
So, what’s the link between collagen and hair loss? There are many different types of collagen we produce, yet all of them are made up of several amino acids. Some of these amino acids are also used by the body to create keratin — the protein that forms hair.
However, having lower levels of keratin is not the only factor to thinning hair and hair loss, as your age, a medical condition, hormones, nutrient deficiencies, genetics and a range of factors combined can create the right conditions.
The research is ongoing. Thankfully, some studies are beginning to better understand the reason behind hair loss in the first place.
Could this study solve the secret to hair loss?
Recently, scientists uncovered a new mechanism behind hair loss.
In 2016, researchers showed that in mice the aging of hair follicle stem cells causes hair follicles to shrink, which eventually results in hair loss. This study leads scientists to believe that the hair loss process occurring in mice may also apply to humans!
It’s somewhat of a stretch, but nonetheless very important for understanding why hair loss occurs in aging.
But the question remains:
Is there a way to prevent hair loss? Or rather, is consuming collagen good for hair?
With all the new collagen supplements appearing in the media and on the shelves, we’re going to reveal if they have any value, and overall, if the benefits of collagen for hair are real.
Science: Is Collagen Good for Hair?
According to research, collagen has been shown to support and increase our hair building proteins, offering the potential to prevent hair loss. Here are 5 important findings that show collagen for hair could work for you.
1. Collagen for hair thickness and strength
The effect of ingesting 14 grams of gelatin (a type of collagen) daily for scalp hair was studied in a normal adult population. After a period of time, researchers found that hair thickness and strength increased in subjects, and within 6 months after stopping daily gelatin intake, it was revealed that hair diameter reversed back to its original level. Could there be a strong link between gelatin and increased hair thickness?
2. Collagen can benefit hair volume and scalp coverage
Studies like this in 2012 looked at women experiencing hair thinning. It showed the potential benefits of taking an oral collagen supplement as a way of combating hair loss (the supplement was derived from a blend of shark and mollusk powder). In just 90 days, subjects reported an improvement in hair volume, hair thickness and scalp coverage. After 180 days, hair shine, skin smoothness and skin moisture retention improved.
3. Evidence of marine complex supplements helping hair growth in women
This study looked at the effectiveness of an oral collagen supplement (marine-based) for promoting hair growth in adult women with thinning hair. The results? It found that a collagen supplement mixed with other natural ingredients can safely and effectively promote hair growth while decreasing hair shedding in women and men with thinning hair.
4. The link between thinning hair in males and a marine complex supplement
This double-blind, placebo-controlled study was designed to analyze the effects of a similar marine complex supplement in adult male subjects with thinning hair. Healthy adult male subjects with thinning hair either received the drug or a placebo twice daily. Incredibly, results showed that a dietary supplement containing a marine complex can decrease hair shedding and promote hair growth in men with thinning hair.
5. Collagen VI may help hair loss
This 2015 study found that the relationships between the extracellular matrix and hair follicle regeneration. The study suggests that collagen could be a “potential therapeutic target for hair loss and other skin-related diseases”.
How To Take Collagen for Hair Loss
So, what are the best collagen supplements for hair? Or is a collagen hair treatment a way to go for hair loss?
Although some science exists, there is no scientific consensus stating that taking collagen supplements for hair will work. Research is in its infancy and much more needs to be done.
But if you’re thinking about taking collagen supplements, be careful as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate them, so you can’t know if the supplement matches what it’s claiming. Try going through a dietician or health care professional to find a supplement known to be credible.
For the general health of your hair, skin, joints and nails, we recommend you adopt a healthy diet filled with collagen-rich foods.
As for our philosophy to great skin, hair and a natural appeal? Prevention is the most effective way to work against aging, and one sure way is through a combination of a balanced diet and physical exercise.