Maintaining a healthy and beautiful head of hair is no easy task, which is why there are so many different answers to the simple question of what you should do to keep your hair strong and resilient. Thankfully, as scientific research continues more potent options will become commercially available, and one of those might just be collagen.
In this article, we will take a look at what collagen is. We will also consider why supplementing it could be highly beneficial for your hair!
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein that makes up the majority of all protein within the human body. It provides structural integrity to many internal organs. It is responsible for the elasticity, strength, and beauty of the skin, hair, and nails. For it to reach its full potential, try combining collagen with vitamin C or another powerful antioxidant.
When it comes to hair, the main protein which makes up around 95% of it is keratin. For some, this may beg the question, why supplement collagen if keratin is the main protein of it? When we take a deeper look, the answer is simple. Our bodies need specific amino acids in order to produce their own protein like keratin.
For the sake of producing its own keratin, the body requires primarily the amino acid called proline, which collagen has in abundance. That is how, supplementing collagen, which is a mix of several amino acids including proline, contributes to the synthesis of keratin. This yields stronger hair.
Collagen and hair growth
Research surrounding the application of topical collagen and collagen supplements for hair growth is still very much in its infancy. Time will tell how beneficial it truly is. Still, individual success stories give reason to believe that it can truly help with hair growth.
Studies have shown that micro-needling, a technique used for the reversal of hair loss, induces collagen formation in the scalp, which shows promise that such non-invasive techniques could increase hair quality, hair density, and thickness, especially when used in tandem with other hair growth protocols.
Similarly, when collagen was combined with other compounds it was shown to promote wound healing as well as hair follicle regeneration, which gives validity to the potential that collagen has in promoting hair growth.
Collagen and health of the scalp
Various skincare routines are recommended in order to effectively reach the scalp and influence the health of the hair follicles. However, the positive effects of collagen supplementation on skin health may outweigh the need for any complicated skincare routine.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study has shown that less than 12 weeks of oral collagen supplementing contributed to skin hydration, elasticity, and a lesser appearance of wrinkles. Many other studies back up these claims, which is why collagen is becoming increasingly common in skincare
Collagen against graying of the hair
Graying hair is a natural process that occurs as we age as the melanin-producing cells die off. Moreover, there are several additional factors that contribute to the graying of the hair and its occurrence sooner than expected.
A poor diet, stressful living, and even environmental pollution can contribute to free radicals that damage the hair and lead to premature graying. The melanin-producing cells suffer as the result of this oxidative stress.
So how do you combat oxidative stress?
The simple answer is antioxidants. Board-certified dermatologist Hadley King M.D. claims that collagen is “full of antioxidant properties that can help neutralize free radicals from UV and pollution”, while also adding that “collagen may help protect hair follicles and decrease graying of hair as well”.
Even so, most of what we know regarding the impact of collagen on graying of the hair is theoretical. Thus, more studies must be carried out in order to understand exactly how beneficial it might be.
The Bottom Line
More research needs to be conducted before a definitive answer is given. Some recent studies appear to indicate that collagen may have a beneficial effect on hair growth and overall hair quality.
Because of its ability to provide elasticity, hydration, and youthful firmness to the skin, collagen may be beneficial to overall scalp health. Its use will result in healthier hair follicles and stronger roots. Moreover, it may contribute to the resilience of your hair and its ability to fight off all of the sources of oxidative stress which make it take on a gray color as you age.
If you do opt for a collagen supplement to improve the health of your hair, do some extra research on the specific brands in order to see the exact amounts of amino acids you would be getting, and try combining collagen with vitamin C for faster results.