Collagen is an abundant protein in our body. It has various roles to play and may also boost hair health. But how do you use it to stimulate hair growth? How can you use it the right way? Here, we answer these questions and also look at the benefits of collagen for hair. Take a look.
In This Article
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It accounts for one-third of the body’s protein composition. Collagen also plays a major role in building bones, muscles, skin, and ligaments. Collagen can also be found in blood vessels, cornea, and teeth.
Collagen is found in the body in 4 types, with each type having a specific role to play:
- Type I: This type of collagen accounts for 90% of the body’s collagen. It is made from densely packed fibers and helps provide structure to skin, bones, and teeth.
- Type II: This type of collagen is made from loosely packed fibers that help cushion your joints and constitutes the cartilage.
- Type III: This type of collagen helps support the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries. It forms the main components of the reticular fibers and is commonly found alongside type 1 collagen.
- Type IV: This type of collagen is found in the skin layers. It forms the basal lamina and offers mechanical stability to the body.
- Type V: This type of collagen contributes to the bone matrix, corneal stroma, and the interstitial matrix of muscles, lungs, liver, and placenta.
Collagen is believed to promote hair growth. The following section highlights the benefits of collagen for hair.
Benefits Of Collagen For Hair
1. May Boost Hair Volume
Collagen in the hair follicles keeps your hair thick and healthy. It also has antioxidant properties that may help boost hair volume.
2. May Fight Hair Damage
Stress, pollution, poor diet, and bad lifestyle habits can cause hair damage. They may also create free radicals that could further harm the hair (1). However, antioxidants like collagen may help fight these free radicals. Collagen, especially that obtained from fish scales, has shown to have strong antioxidant activity (2), (3), (4).
3. May Reduce Hair Graying
Hair may prematurely turn gray due to reactive oxygen species (ROS) (5). Antioxidants like collagen may fight these effects of ROS.
4. May Prevent Hair Thinning
Anecdotal evidence suggests that collagen may help prevent hair thinning. However, more research is needed in this regard.
The body produces collagen by itself. However, this capability diminishes with age, leading to thinner hair as time passes. Hence, taking collagen supplements and other foods rich in collagen can help.
How To Use Collagen For Hair
Including collagen supplements in your everyday diet can boost collagen levels in your body. Most collagen supplements available on the market include collagen extracted from fish, cows, and hens.
2. Dietary Collagen
You can also have collagen-rich meals to increase the collagen levels in your body. Bone broth is one such dish high in collagen. If you cannot add fish or bone broth to your diet, you may use bovine collagen supplements. These come in a powder form and are derived from pasture-fed cows.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also known to boost collagen production in the body (6). You can consume vitamin C-rich foods that help your body produce collagen (7). Adding oranges and strawberries to your diet can help.
In addition to taking foods that boost body collagen, you also need to avoid certain practices that may reduce collagen levels. We have discussed them below.
What May Diminish Collagen Levels In Your Body
- Sugar and refined carbs may interfere with the ability of collagen fibers to repair themselves (8). Hence, reduce their intake.
- Exposing yourself to direct sunlight may reduce collagen production in your body due to high UV radiation (9). You can limit your sun exposure or wear a sunscreen.
- Smoking may reduce collagen production (10). Continuous smoking can also lead to premature wrinkles.
How Much Collagen Should You Take Daily For Hair Growth?
Collagen requirements could differ from person to person. There is limited research on the amount of collagen one needs to boost hair growth. But including the right food sources can help. You may consider collagen supplements after talking to a nutritionist.
Fish, egg whites, citrus fruits, and berries are some good sources of vitamin C that boost collagen levels. While these sources are generally safe, intake of collagen supplements may cause certain side effects. We have discussed some of them below.
Side Effects Of Collagen Supplements
These are based on anecdotal evidence. Direct research in this aspect is lacking.
- Collagen supplements may leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
- They may also cause bloating in some individuals.
- They may cause heartburn.
- They may also lead to allergies in some individuals.
Collagen may promote hair health and thickness. It also may strengthen hair follicles. Consuming foods that boost collagen or taking collagen supplements may help resolve certain hair issues. However, more research is warranted to further understand the benefits of collagen on hair.
- The impact of oxidative stress on hair
- Biochemical and radical-scavenging properties of sea cucumber (Stichopus vastus) collagen hydrolysates
- Isolation and Characterization of Collagen and Antioxidant Collagen Peptides from Scales of Croceine Croaker (Pseudosciaena crocea)
- The anti-photoaging effect of antioxidant collagen peptides from silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) skin is preferable to tea polyphenols and casein peptides
- Hair cycle and hair pigmentation: dynamic interactions and changes associated with aging
- Effect of vitamin C and its derivatives on collagen synthesis and cross‐linking by normal human fibroblasts
- The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health
- Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation
- Mechanisms of Photoaging and Cutaneous Photocarcinogenesis, and Photoprotective Strategies with Phytochemicals
- Smoking affects collagen synthesis and extracellular matrix turnover in human skin