This post may include affiliate links. See our affiliate policy for more details.
Last modified on November 17th, 2022
The collagen craze is still in high gear, and people often wonder what the benefits of these supplements are. Specifically, what about collagen benefits for hair? Below, we discuss five potential YouTheory Collagen benefits for hair and answer common questions on the topic.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is our body’s most abundant protein. We have collagen in our muscles, skin, bones, and tendons. Sometimes, collagen is described as a scaffold, providing structure and strength within our bodies. It is essential in keeping all of our cells together, giving our skin strength and elasticity.
Endogenous collagen is what our body synthesizes naturally, and exogenous collagen is synthetic, coming from an outside vital proteins marine collagen.
When we have healthy collagen levels, it promotes joint health, protects our kidneys and other organs, gives our skin elasticity, and helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
Around one-third of the protein in our body is collagen. There are 28 types of collagens, all with different structures.
As we age, our collagen levels decline, and our collagen fibers get weaker and thinner, playing a role in skin aging.
Other causes of collagen loss aside from aging include:
- Hormonal changes because of menopause, pregnancy, and other conditions
- Oxidative stress from factors like diet and smoking
- Too much sun—ultraviolet rays cause collagen to break down in your skin
- Low levels of vitamin C
Some people take a collagen supplement to replace what they’ve lost.
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
Potential health benefits of collagen supplements include:
- Better skin health: Collagen supplements can help reduce dryness and wrinkles, slowing the signs of aging. Neocell collagen supplements might stimulate your body to make their own, and they can promote the production of other proteins that help your skin’s strength and elasticity.
- Joint pain relief: Collagen maintains the integrity of your cartilage, which protects your joints. As your collagen levels go down with age, you’re more at risk for degenerative joint disorders like osteoarthritis. Supplementing collagen can help with osteoarthritis symptoms like joint stiffness.
- Preventing bone loss: Bones are made mostly of collagen, giving them strength and structure. As the collagen in your body goes down with aging, so does bone mass, and that loss of bone mass can lead to conditions like osteoporosis. Collagen supplements may prevent bone breakdown leading to osteoporosis.
- Boosting muscle mass: Collagen, the most abundant protein in our bodies, is a component of our skeletal muscle. Studies show supplementing with collagen can help improve muscle mass, including in people with sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass stemming from age.
- Heart health: Based on research, Collagen supplements may reduce the risk of heart conditions because they provide structure to your arteries. The arteries are the blood vessels carrying blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
- Gut health: Some people feel collagen supplements can help with symptoms of leaky gut, also known as intestinal permeability.
- Brain health: There is some evidence that collagen supplements improve mood and can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Weight loss: Collagen supplements may help speed up your metabolism and can promote weight loss, although more research needs to be done looking at the topic.
Collagen Benefits for Hair
The following are some of the specific collagen benefits for hair growth and health that you may be interested in.
1. Collagen Contains Amino Acids That Are Hair’s Building Blocks
Hair is mainly made up of keratin; your body uses key amino acids to build keratin. Some of these amino acids are found in collagen.
When you have collagen and other types of protein, your body will break them into amino acids.
These are then used in building new proteins and compounds. Collagen is made up primarily of three amino acids—proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline. Proline is keratin’s main component, so having collagen rich in proline can provide your body with what it needs to create hair.
2. Combats Damage to the Follicles
Collagen can be an antioxidant, which can fight free radical damage. Free radicals develop in your body because of alcohol, diet, stress, pollution, and other environmental factors.
According to research, free radicals can damage hair follicles. Your body’s defenses against free radicals go down with age. As you get older, then as a result, you’re more susceptible to damage to your hair. You need antioxidants to fight against free radicals and have healthy hair.
Marine collagen, in particular, may be good because of its antioxidant benefits.
3. Reduces Thinning Related to Aging
If you take a collagen supplement, it can help thinning hair associated with aging. Collagen makes up around 70% of the dermis. The dermis is the middle layer of skin that has the root of each of your hairs.
Collagen helps your dermis stay strong and elastic. As we age, our bodies get less efficient at producing collagen and replenishing dermis cells, which may be one of several fundamental reasons our hair tends to get thinner.
Collagen supplements can improve elasticity and may counteract aging effects on your hair growth and thickness.
4. Slows Graying
Because of the antioxidant properties of collagen and its ability to fight cellular damage, it might also slow graying. Graying of the hair is influenced by genetics and free radical damage to the cells that produce the color of your hair.
As you age, the cells producing the pigment that gives your hair color start to die. Free radicals from environmental factors can also damage the cells that produce melanin and give your hair color.
Your hair may become gray if you don’t have enough antioxidants to combat damage by free radicals.
Since collagen can fight free radicals, it may prevent or slow graying.
5. Thicker Hair
Again, adding collagen to your routine will provide your hair with the amino acids it needs.
Collagen can improve your skin’s elasticity, including the skin around your hair. The layer of skin that serves as the root of your hair follicles can get damaged over time, leading to thinning. Collagen can help thicken it and restore health to your hair.
We touched on this above when discussing age-related thinning, but collagen could be helpful even if your thin hair isn’t necessarily related to aging.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the questions that are commonly asked about collagen for hair growth.
What does collagen do for hair?
Collagen can have a number of benefits for your hair. It can help your hair grow thicker and stronger. It provides amino acids that your body needs to produce hair.
Can collagen thicken hair?
There is some evidence that, yes, collagen can thicken hair by helping strengthen the skin around it and giving your body the essential nutrients it needs for hair growth.
How long does it take for collagen to work for hair growth?
If your goal in taking collagen is to fuel growth, give it at least three to six months before you expect results. This is in line with the natural hair growth cycle.
How much collagen is needed for hair growth?
The general recommendation for how much collagen for hair growth is around one to three servings a day, or anywhere from 10-30 grams per day. If you’re very active, you generally use more protein, so you might want to increase your collagen intake.
If you opt for collagen powder, add it to your coffee, smoothie, water, or beverage.
You can also take collagen in capsule form. Below, we link to some of our favorite collagen brands for hair growth, health, and wellness. Our top collagen picks include:
- Ancestral Supplements Collagen
- Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein
- Great Lakes Wellness Collagen Peptides
Does collagen regrow hair?
Taking collagen can improve your hair and scalp health, and it may promote some hair growth. You need to take collagen supplements long-term because your body produces an enzyme that constantly breaks it down.
Collagen might not directly regrow hair, but it provides your body with some of the important things it needs to do so, including keratin. Your body needs amino acids to make keratin, and collagen is rich in amino acids.
As your hair is in a growth phase, known as anagen, the collagen levels surrounding the bulb of the hair increase and thicken. As your hair follicle goes into the catagen stage, it sheds two collagen layers surrounding it. As our bodies can create more collagen, these layers regenerate, which helps our hair follicles re-enter the anagen phase.
When you consume collagen, your body can produce more amino acids that protect your follicles from oxidation and improve your hair follicle productivity.
What type of collagen is best for hair?
If your primary goal is hair growth, you should look for a supplement with type II collagen. It’s also the best for skin health, and it’s found in marine and bovine collagen sources. Type II collagen is high in hydroxyproline, which helps build keratin.
Type II collagen is also the major type found in cartilage. Supplements made of bone broth or multi-collagen proteins usually have type II collagen.