If you’ve found your way to this article, we’re guessing you’re aware to some extent that collagen has a lot of benefits. Perhaps you’ve heard that it can improve your skin and nails, but does collagen help with hair loss too?
Collagen is a complete protein that ensures our body has the tools it needs to stay healthy, inside and out. While we produce collagen naturally, our body’s natural production slows down drastically as early as age 25.
With decreased collagen production at such an early age, it is no wonder that many people start to see things like brittle nails, wrinkles, and even hair loss earlier than they’d hope.
Is hair loss and thinning just a natural part of aging then, or is there something we can do about it?
Could collagen help with your hair loss or thinning?
Our hair’s thickness is often associated with genetics, but our diet has a lot to do with our overall hair health and appearance. When collagen production slows, our body naturally redirects the remaining collagen to more vital parts of our body, like our organs. That leaves our hair to fend for itself.
There’s no question that collagen is a vital protein and a crucial building block for major parts of our body like our bones, cartilage, skin, and hair. According to the available published research, it is theorized that certain collagen supplements could improve our hair health.
Collagen has shown promising results and is widely accepted as a way to strengthen hair and even possibly prevent hair loss.
Here are a few reasons why it helps grow healthy locks:
1. Collagen has plenty of antioxidants
Adding more antioxidants to your diet is never a bad thing.
When it comes to hair health, antioxidants protect our hair follicles from damage often created by free radicals. Just as our collagen production slows, our body’s natural defense against free radicals also decreases as we age.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that directly attack proteins, our DNA, and lipids that make up cells in our body. Since collagen is a protein, it is susceptible to a free radical attack.
Our body is always making a small number of free radicals, and we tend to produce even more of them as we age. Plus, free radicals can enter our bodies via a variety of pollutants like UV rays and air pollution. These free radicals can wreak havoc on our hair follicles.
Our hair follicles are the tube-like structures under the first layer of our skin that our hair grows out of.
Since our skin is mostly made up of collagen, it is even more important to have defenses against free radicals. There is also some speculation that free radical attacks on our hair follicles may contribute to graying hair. The reason is that free radicals attack proteins and cells, which include the cells that produce our hair color.
The good news is that our body also naturally produces antioxidants. However, while free radical production increases with age, our natural antioxidant production decreases. And our body needs antioxidants to protect our proteins and cells from attack.
We can get antioxidants from many different sources, including fruits like berries and proteins like collagen. Since we are targeting our hair follicle health, choosing to get antioxidants directly from collagen supplements may be the best choice. This is because it directly replaces the collagen that is being attacked by free radicals in our bodies.
2. Collagen promotes healthy hair roots
While collagen is actively defending and rebuilding the outer layers of our skin, it can also improve the health of deeper layers.
The middle layer of our skin, the dermis, is what holds our hair in place. So, if our dermis or our scalp isn’t healthy, it is harder for our hair to stay in place. As we lose out on necessary collagen to build up and repair our skin, it becomes easier for hair loss to begin.
The dermis that is holding the roots of our hairs in place is made up of 70% collagen. No wonder hair loss and balding increase as we age, because our collagen production is decreasing.
While collagen is contributing to the elasticity of your dermis, it is also replenishing dead or damaged cells. The continually supported structure of the dermis keeps hair roots in place, making it possible that an increase in collagen could prevent age-related hair thinning.
3. Collagen contains amino acids
You may be wondering, "how can amino acids help my hair grow?"
Our hair is primarily comprised of a protein called keratin, which is built using several amino acids. Some of the amino acids essential for keratin growth are found in collagen.
Collagen contains 3 nonessential amino acids: proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. Although the word “nonessential” can make us believe we don’t need those amino acids, what it actually means is that our body can produce them naturally.
Essential amino acids, on the other hand, can only come from the food we eat.
While we may be able to produce these nonessential amino acids, it doesn’t mean that we are producing enough to build proteins like keratin that promote healthy hair.
As with other proteins we consume, when we ingest collagen, our body breaks down the protein into amino acids. We can then use these amino acids to build new proteins, compounds, and tissues.
So, when taking some collagen supplements, our body is converting them directly into amino acids that we need. The added boost of proline from collagen supplements essentially provides the necessary tools for our body to construct keratin and build up healthier hair.
4. Collagen can increase the production of fibroblasts
As if collagen supplements weren't amazing enough already, taking collagen supplements can actually boost your own natural collagen production! That's because collagen is thought to increase the production of something called fibroblasts as well.
Fibroblasts are what control our natural collagen production. This means that we are strengthening our hair follicles, but we are also potentially boosting our natural collagen production in the process!
While we can see the benefits of taking collagen, it’s important to know what types of collagen supplements we should look for when trying to treat hair loss.
The best collagen supplements for hair loss
We must remember that collagen benefits for women will differ according to the source of collagen itself. Not all collagen supplements are created equal, and not all collagen is as easy for us to digest and absorb. As with all protein supplements, it is also possible to consume too much. Be sure that when you add collagen to your diet, you follow a medical professional’s guidance.
Beyond collagen supplement brands, there are also different types of collagen. In fact, there are over 28 different kinds of collagen.
To make things easy, we found the best type of collagen to target your hair health: type 1 collagen.
Luckily, type 1 collagen is the most potent and widely used type of collagen when it comes to supplementation. It specifically targets the health of bodily tissues like skin. Type 1 collagen is seen as the most effective collagen for hair loss prevention because of its ability to target and restore structure to our scalp and dermis skin layers.
The different types of collagen all have slightly different concentrations of amino acids. Type 1 collagen has a higher concentration of hydroxyproline and proline, making it easier for our bodies to convert those acids into tissue-building proteins and compounds.
Now that we know that type 1 collagen is the best kind of collagen to use, let’s talk about the best way to use it.
Does collagen help with hair loss when used topically?
Since we are actively trying to improve the health of our hair, it is natural to gravitate towards collagen shampoos, conditioners, or other topical creams. After all, putting it directly onto our scalp should provide a more targeted result, right?
Unfortunately, there is very limited research on the effectiveness of topical collagen when it comes to promoting hair growth.
One thing that we do know is that our body’s ability to utilize collagen supplements is highly dependent on the molecule size. This goes for both topical and liquid collagen supplements. When we apply a collagen cream to our skin, it must go through multiple layers of skin before it can be used by our body.
The first layer of skin (the epidermis) alone has multiple layers of protection to prevent toxins from entering our bloodstream. If any collagen is able to penetrate deeper to the second layer of skin, the dermis, then it has a higher chance of being used by the body.
The problem is that most of the collagen isn’t even getting that far.
A far better approach to using collagen for hair loss is to use a liquid collagen supplement. When we take collagen orally, it has a better chance of being circulated and distributed to areas of high need in the body, making it far more effective than topical collagen.
The best collagen for hair loss prevention
While the type of collagen is an important factor in how well your collagen supplement will prevent hair loss, how well our bodies can absorb may play an even more significant role.
Even if we take a collagen supplement, if our body cannot absorb or break down the amino acids or antioxidants, it won’t do any good.
You’ll still be scratching your head and asking yourself, “does collagen really help hair loss?”
To really see results and prevent hair loss, the best kind of collagen is hydrolyzed collagen. And, even better, nano hydrolyzed collagen, such as our ProT Gold.
The reason nano hydrolyzed collagen is so effective is because of the size of the molecules. During the hydrolysis of collagen, the molecules are broken down into smaller and smaller pieces that are easier for us to digest. This makes the collagen supplement more bioavailable for our bodies and helps us get the most out of the benefits.
If you are struggling with or trying to prevent, thinning hair, see if collagen for hair loss could be the answer to your problems.