Should You Use Collagen For Your Hair? What experts recommend (2023)

collagen and your hair

Collagen plays a role in building keratin - the primary protein in your hair. So it makes sense if you want tohealthier, thicker and shinier hair, you can reach for a collagen-enriched shampoo and conditioner and apply a collagen-formulated leave-in conditioner, or finish with a collagen hairspray for added dimension. And if you're coloring your hair at home, some brands' included collagen conditioners promise protection from damage and messy hairGray hair.

Unfortunately, it's a bit more complicated. Here's everything you need to know about taking collagen supplements for your hair. (And that's what you should knowcollagen for your skin.)

What is collagen?

To understand howCollagencan affect your hair, you must first understand how naturally occurring collagen works. This is the stuff our bodies make, and its critical role is why so many manufacturers are jumping on the collagen supplement bandwagon.

Collagen is a fibrous, supportive protein that makes up bones, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, and skin. Its strong and flexible structures support and anchor cells to one another. Collagen cushions the joints and plumps the skin.

Our bodies make collagen by breaking down protein from food into amino acids. Dairy products, eggs, and cheese are all good sources of collagen-boosting proteinvegetable proteinsfrom foods like beans, nuts, seeds, quinoa, tempeh, and tofu. And don't forget the other key players in collagen production:Vitamin C, zinc, copper and sulfur.

What is in collagen supplements and lotions?

While natural collagen is made in your body, supplements and lotions get collagen from an outside source. And all products come with big promises.

Shampoos, conditioners and other hair products enriched with collagen tout the benefits of shinier, healthier and stronger hair. Then there are the all-in-one collagen pills and powders, which promise everything from younger-looking skin to joint pain relief, muscle building and — you guessed it — thicker hair.

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Collagen is available from three different sources:

  • Animal Collagenis made from the skin, muscles, bones and tendons of cows, pigs or chickens.
  • marine collagenis obtained from the scales, skin and bones of various fish, including jellyfish and sponges.
  • Vegan Collagenis made without animal by-products. They are genetically engineered yeast and bacteria with human genes that code for collagen and digestive enzymes.

(Learn more aboutThe Collagen Pill.)

Why collagen is so attractive to hair

When you are younger, collagen production is plentiful. It works quietly in the background, keeping our skin tight and wrinkle-free, our muscles strong and our joints flexible.

The catch: Collagen production slows down as we age. Other factors that contribute to the decline in production are sun exposure, smoking, and othersoxidative stress, such as B. Exposure to harsh detergents and chemicals, pollution, diets high in fat and sugar, and drinking too much alcohol.

Once you hit your 20s, collagen begins to decline at a rate of 1 percent per year. In your 40s, you're probably aware of the signs of lower collagen levels: wrinkles, looser skin, less flexibility in the joints, and possibly thinning and graying hair. That's when collagen supplements start tempting us. They promise to plump up the skin, eliminate wrinkles, improve joints and slim down,dry or brittle hair.

Should You Use Collagen For Your Hair? What experts recommend (1)Galina Zhigalova/Getty Images

The role of collagen in hair

So where do the promises of collagen-enriched products come from — and how can they claim to turn lackluster hair into shampoo commercials? There are a few theories.

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The middle layer of your skin (called the dermis) is approximately70 percent collagen, which is a source of the allegations. A healthy dermis might produce healthier hair — but that's a theory. And don't forget that hair roots are in the dermis, not in the strands you shampoo, condition and color.

"Collagen is not a component of hair," says dermatologist Shari Lipner, MD, associate professor of clinical dermatology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City. "The main component of hair is keratin - about 95 percent."

This leads to the second theory, which is that your body borrows some amino acids from collagen to make keratin. Having plenty of collagen available would theoretically help your hair, but again, there's no evidence that swallowing collagen improves or increases keratin production.

What Science Says

Here's what the science says so far, albeit limited, about taking collagen for hair.

(Here are someCollagen Powder Benefitsto know.)

Can It Improve Hair Growth?

In a small study published in theJournal of Drugs in Dermatology26 women with hair loss took four capsules of collagen and other nutrients daily for six months. At the end of the process, they had itmore hair growththan 14 other women who took a placebo.

However, this does not mean that collagen promotes hair growth. Since the pills contained more than just collagen, there's no way of knowing which ingredient helped. (The supplement also contained herbs, keratin, and capsaicin.) It may be that the combination led to growth. It's also worth noting that the study was sponsored in part by the manufacturer of the collagen supplement used by the participants.

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Another important caveat: collagen in products is broken down into amino acids, which the body absorbs like any other protein or amino acid—they don't necessarily get to the areas where they might be needed. "The amino acids may contribute to hair growth, but there is limited evidence," says Dr. Lipner.

Can it protect aging hair?

Collagen products often promise to support collagen levels that decline with age. Although collagen is not a direct part of the hair, it is found in the hair roots, which is what thehair too thinas we age. In theory, collagen products could supercharge the cells in the dermis to support the roots, which can lead to less hair loss. But again, this is a theory - not exactly reality.

"Collagen is a large molecule, and while you could try applying it to the skin, there's no evidence that it could be absorbed through the skin or hair," says Houston-based dermatologist Rajani Katta, MD, of the also serves as a volunteer clinical faculty at Baylor College of Medicine and McGovern Medical School at UT Health.

When to the doctor

Before you reach for a collagen product, it might be wiser to ask your doctor or dermatologist why your hair is thinning or falling out. A protein deficiency can cause hair loss, although this is rare. More common reasons fordilution, difficult-to-grow, or brittle hair are undiagnosed medical conditions or nutritional deficiencies.

"We will often check for thyroid disorders and can check iron, zinc and vitamin B12 levels," says Dr. ring-tailed lemur If you find outhair loss, flaking orscalp pain, consult your doctor or dermatologist. (Determine whetherCovid-19 can cause hair loss.)

Should You Use Collagen For Hair Growth?

Neither Dr. Lipner nor Dr. Ring-tailed lemurs recommend collagen products due to a lack of evidence supporting their use. A better solution, says Dr. Ring-tailed lemur: Add protein to your diet. "The amino acids found in collagen supplements are also found in many foods, which means there are other ways you can help your body get those amino acids," says Katta

If you still want to try collagen hair supplements, do some research on the company that makes them. In general, experts agree that most supplements are safe, but supplements — including collagen supplements — are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. There is no guarantee that you will receive pure or high-quality ingredients.

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Check the labelfor verification by third parties, e.g. B. from UL, United States Pharmacopeia (USP) or NSF International.

Tips for healthy hair

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure healthy hair and scalp without using collagen. Determine firsthow often to shampooyour hair. If yourHair and scalp tend to be greasy, you should wash it daily. If it's dry, wash it less -- two to three times a week, says Dr. Lipner.

You may find that your scalp gets drier as you age, which is perfectly normal. Chemical treatments (like masking those grays) can also make hair drier.

"When you wash your scalp, focus the shampoo on your scalp, not your hair, for maximum shine," says Dr. Lipner. “It's important to use conditioner after every wash. Conditioner improves shine, reduces static and increases strength.”

Apply conditioner to the ends, not your scalp, which will make your hair limp. And if you're a swimmer, fightchlorine damageby moisturizing and conditioning your hair before immersion.

Yulia Lisitsa/Getty ImagesWhat is collagen powder?
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via vitalproteins.comI Tried Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer


Is collagen recommended by doctors? ›

The bottom line on supplementing your diet with collagen: The body needs amino acids to build the protein collagen. Collagen supplements may provide these nutrients, but there is limited evidence that they are particularly effective in improving skin, hair or overall health.

Is taking collagen good for your hair? ›

Collagen supplements have been shown to increase the body's hair building proteins, which can result in longer, thicker hair. Collagen may help reduce the appearance of gray hair by supporting the healthy structure of the hair follicle (where the pigment that gives hair its color is produced).

Can collagen damage your hair? ›

Collagen supplements cannot cause hair loss, though too much collagen in the skin can cause another condition called scleroderma. While some collagen supplements can cause mild side effects depending on the patient, any hair loss is unrelated and can be symptomatic of a more serious issue.

Which is better for hair growth collagen or biotin? ›

So which supports hair growth more: collagen or biotin? Based on scientific studies, it seems that collagen has a better claim to improving the condition of your hair. However, both can actually be used together for well-rounded nutrition and countless health benefits, aside from promoting hair regrowth.

What do Dermatologist say about collagen? ›

"Collagen is what keeps our skin from sagging, giving us that plump, youthful look," says dermatologist Dr. Ohara Aivaz. Your body naturally makes collagen, but this production decreases with age. "Starting in our mid-20s, we slowly begin to lose collagen," Dr.

Is there a downside to taking collagen? ›

Collagen supplements may lead to mild side effects such as bloating, heartburn, and feelings of fullness. If you have food allergies, make sure to purchase supplements that don't contain your allergens.

Can collagen help regrow thinning hair? ›

Since hair grows out of your skin, the potential of collagen to counteract the effects of skin aging may contribute to better hair growth and decreased thinning.

Is collagen good for thinning hair? ›

Not only does collagen help with hair loss, collagen also helps for hair growth! As we mentioned before, collagen can help to improve scalp circulation and deliver essential nutrients to the hair follicles. In addition, collagen can help to strengthen the hair shaft and prevent breakage.

What is the best collagen for thinning hair? ›

What is the best collagen for growing new hair? Collagen type I and, to a lesser extent, type III are essential for hair and skin health. Marine Collagen, sourced from wild-caught fish, has more collagen type I than bovine collagen and is better for hair regrowth. Aim to take between 5 - 10 grams of collagen per day.

What happens to your hair when you stop taking collagen? ›

One significant cause for hair loss is the lack of collagen produced by the body. When there is a decline in collagen, the hair begins to lose its suppleness and thickness, including the health of the scalp.

How long does it take for collagen to work for hair growth? ›

So how long does it take for collagen to start working? Tangible results for skin, hair and nails are seen in as soon as four weeks. And with consistent, daily supplementation, the best results are achieved from 12 weeks.

Does collagen increase hair thickness? ›

Collagen is not only known for assisting your hair with becoming thicker but it is also said to help with hair regrowth. Your body uses amino acids to build keratin that makes up your hair. Luckily, collagen is a rich source of these amino acids, which can help your body promote new hair growth.

Do dermatologists recommend biotin for hair growth? ›

If you find yourself browsing the hair care aisle or searching the internet for hair treatments, one thing that might pop up is biotin. This B vitamin has a reputation for helping your locks stay healthy, and it's frequently recommended by dermatologists to help with hair loss.

Should I take biotin and collagen together? ›

Yes, it is ok to take biotin and collagen together. Collagen supplements and biotin supplements are both safe supplements and in some cases may actually complement each other with their benefits involving your hair and nails. Biotin is typically taken as a pill, whereas collagen comes in many forms.

Is biotin just as good as collagen? ›

The Bottom Line

The big difference is that collagen is a protein and the body can naturally make it, while biotin is an essential vitamin that is one of the B vitamins and the body cannot naturally produce it.

What problems can collagen cause? ›

Collagen is a protein that makes up connective tissues, such as the skin. When you have too much collagen, your skin can stretch, thicken, and harden. It also can cause damage to internal organs, such as the heart, lungs, and kidneys.

What is the healthiest collagen to take? ›

Collagen peptides are usually considered the best form of collagen for ingestion. Hydrolyzed collagen should be taken if a person wants to take a collagen supplement. Hydrolyzed collagen means the collagen has been broken down into small peptides, which are easy for the body to digest.

Can collagen reverse sagging skin? ›

Does Collagen Tighten Saggy Skin? Studies have indicated that supplemental collagen is beneficial for skin health, including tightening sagging skin (known as elasticity), boosting hydration, and lessening the appearance of wrinkles.

Can collagen cause blood clots? ›

Collagen is a structural protein of the blood vessel wall, which is normally concealed beneath the cells that line the blood vessel inner walls. When the blood vessel becomes injured, collagen is exposed and attracts cells called platelets from the blood which causes blood clotting.

Is it worth taking collagen? ›

Some studies show that taking collagen supplements for several months can improve skin elasticity, (i.e., wrinkles and roughness) as well as signs of aging. Others have shown that consuming collagen can increase density in bones weakened with age and can improve joint, back and knee pain.

What type of collagen is best? ›

Type I or type 1 collagen is the strongest type of collagen. If you're looking for a collagen for supporting skin health, type 1 is a top choice since it's literally a building block of the skin.

How much collagen should I take for thinning hair? ›

How Much Collagen to Take for Hair. A general recommendation is for adults to consume between 1 and 3 servings of collagen protein powder daily, or about 10 to 30 grams of collagen per day.

How much collagen should I take daily for hair growth? ›

Hair and nails: Participants in studies often saw enhanced nail strength and thicker, more luscious-looking hair with 5 grams of collagen per day.

What form of collagen is best for hair growth? ›

Type II collagen is considered one of the best types for skin and hair, and it is found in both marine and bovine sources of collagen. This type of collagen is rich in hydroxyproline, which helps build keratin and is essential for skin health.

What I noticed after taking collagen? ›

Improvements in skin, nails, muscle and joint health may become noticeable after three to six months of regular collagen supplementation, but results varied across scientific studies. Results may take longer depending on personal factors including age, nutritional status and overall health.

How long does it take for collagen to make hair thicker? ›

Any significant changes in your hair health routine, including collagen supplementation should be observed over a period of at least 3-6 months to incorporate the natural timing of hair growth cycle.

What do dermatologists recommend for female hair loss? ›

Finasteride tends to be more effective if you begin taking it when you first notice hair loss. A dermatologist may also prescribe this medication to treat a woman who has hereditary hair loss and cannot get pregnant. If finasteride works for you, you will need to keep taking it to continue getting results.

What's the best vitamin for hair loss? ›

The 5 Best Vitamins for Hair Loss Prevention, Based on Research
  1. Biotin. Biotin (vitamin B7) is important for cells inside your body. ...
  2. Iron. Red blood cells need iron to carry oxygen. ...
  3. Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for your gut to absorb iron. ...
  4. Vitamin D. You might already know that vitamin D is important for bones. ...
  5. Zinc.
Nov 18, 2020

What hair vitamin do dermatologists recommend? ›

Some of the most common additives that dermatologists recommend are: Biotin: This vitamin helps to strengthen hair and nails, but it also gives the skin a healthy glow. You can find biotin naturally in eggs, salmon, and avocados.

What doctors say about collagen peptides? ›

It's unclear whether collagen peptides actually help, but studies show that taking them typically doesn't cause any harm. That said, it's always important to consult your doctor before taking any new supplement.

Why do doctors prescribe collagen? ›

“Collagen peptides can help protect your ligaments and tendons,” Czerwony says, “So they're worth a try for anybody who has arthritic pain or who works out a lot.” In studies, collagen peptides are shown to significantly reduce joint pain among athletes, the elderly and people with degenerative joint disease.

Is it worthwhile taking collagen? ›

Some studies show that taking collagen supplements for several months can improve skin elasticity, (i.e., wrinkles and roughness) as well as signs of aging. Others have shown that consuming collagen can increase density in bones weakened with age and can improve joint, back and knee pain.

Is collagen really necessary? ›

In fact, you don't need to take collagen supplements to produce collagen — your body does this naturally using amino acids from whichever proteins you eat. Yet, some studies suggest that taking collagen supplements may enhance its production and offer unique benefits ( 10 ).

Is there anyone who shouldn't take collagen peptides? ›

Collagen supplements may not be safe for: People with fish, shellfish, or egg allergies (collagen supplements may contain these allergens as ingredients)16. People with a Kosher or Halal diet. People with a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Is it better to take collagen or collagen peptides? ›

Although the end goal may be collagen, the best way to get there could be through collagen peptides. Because of the low bioavailability of collagen and the relatively high bioavailability of collagen peptides, the latter may be more beneficial for people looking to reap the benefits.


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