People are always looking for a magical supplement or oil that will make their hair grow thicker and healthier than ever. Does such a thing exist? While there is no cure for baldness, some supplements and medications can make a difference in hair growth, and one thing that has grown in popularity is using collagen for the hair.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a type of structural protein that’s found naturally in the body, making up 30% of your body’s entire protein levels!  It’s a huge part of your connective tissues, skin, and bones and plays a role in the reproduction of brand-new cells.
The problem is that your collagen levels deplete as you age, leading to the production of wrinkles, sagging skin, and thin hair. Due to this depletion, many people like to top up with supplements and a collagen-rich diet to defy ageing skin, which makes a lot of sense. The question here is, is collagen good for hair? Does it make any difference to the thickness of your locks at all?
Does Collagen Help Hair Growth?
There is evidence suggesting that collagen might help with hair growth, with one study indicating that collagen peptides could enhance both hair and skin health.  However, there currently aren’t enough studies to say for definite that collagen causes the reversal of hair loss. Plus, it’s worth keeping in mind that a lot of the studies linking collagen and hair growth are funded by industries that have a vested interest in proving this link (i.e., their own profit).
Still – the intake of collagen may help your hair, especially if you are getting older and your natural collagen production has slowed.
The Ways Collagen May Boost Hair Growth
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what collagen does for the hair, as more studies are needed. However, we can theorise how it might help in some ways.
Collagen and the Slowing Down of Ageing
It’s known that collagen slows down as you age, leading to the loss of elasticity in your skin. In turn, this contributes to thinner hair. There are studies showing that taking collagen to boost collagen levels can help with skin ageing,  suggesting that it could also help slow down hair loss as you get older.
Collagen and the Essential Amino Acids
Collagen is naturally made up of building blocks of amino acids. We know that keratin – the protein that helps strengthen the skin and hair follicle – is made up of 551 amino acids.  That suggests that the intake of more collagen (and therefore amino acids) could contribute to the strengthening of your hair over time.
Collagen and its Antioxidant Properties
Collagen has antioxidant properties, which are great for the skin, with antioxidants known to fight free radical damage and even greying hair. That indicates that taking collagen to supplement depleting levels could help fight that free radical damage while slowing down the greying of the hair. Those who are getting older are likely to see more benefits from this than those who are younger and already produce collagen copiously within them.
As you can see, there is some theoretical evidence to show that, yes – taking collagen for your hair makes a lot of sense. It’s still important to remember that there haven’t been enough studies done to show hard evidence that it can prevent or slow hair loss. Protein might strengthen your hair, but the chances of it regrowing after experiencing male or female pattern baldness are slim.
Collagen Hair Growth Before and After
As there has been a lack of studies to show the effectiveness of collagen on hair growth, there aren’t any photographs from studies to show the collagen treatment’s before and after hair images. However, there are photos from people on social media who say they have taken collagen to regrow their hair or make it stronger. Keep in mind that these might be promotions for collagen supplements.
The Other Benefits of Collagen
Most people don’t take collagen for hair loss. Instead, it’s commonly used for a wide range of other potential benefits, which include:
- Stronger Bones
- Increased Muscle Mass
- Easier Digestion
- Gut Heating
- Lowered Joint Pain
- Boosted Brain Health
- Healthier Nails
- Improved Skin Elasticity
- Fewer Wrinkles
- Faster Wound Healing
As you can see, there are a lot of potential benefits to taking collagen – it might just work for you.
Is Taking Collagen Worth it?
So, is using collagen for hair loss worth it? What about the other potential benefits? That’s really up to you. If you’re getting older and you’ve noticed wrinkles, sagging skin, and thin, greying hair, then collagen supplements might be able to help you. There are also certain medical conditions that cause a loss of collagen, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, which would make taking collagen supplements more than worth it. However, if you’re young and healthy and have plenty of collagen in your skin already, these supplements might not make much of a difference.
When it comes to serious hair loss, collagen isn’t recommended as the remedy of choice, as there isn’t enough evidence to show that it helps with female or male pattern baldness.
How to Take Collagen
If you choose to take collagen, you should only take between 2.5 to 15g of it daily.  There are a few types of collagen supplements – you can choose the one that most suits your lifestyle and preferences.
Arguably, the most convenient way to take collagen is in capsule form. You can buy collagen capsules from most wellness retailers (such as Holland & Barrett) for a fair price. All you’ll need to do is take the recommended dosage once a day with water, and you’re good to go.
Collagen powder is a popular way to increase collagen levels. As the name suggests, it comes in a powder form, which you can put into any number of beverages. Some people might put it into their morning cup of coffee, whereas others add collagen powder to their smoothies.
You can also buy collagen in liquid form. To take this, you would either drink a small amount of the collagen on its own or mix it with water. For those who struggle to swallow large pills, this option is often recommended.
Of course, you can also get your daily collagen from food, with bone broth being one of the richest sources of protein. Some people swear by drinking bone broth every day to increase their collagen levels. There are other good sources of collagen, too, including chicken skin, sardines, fish, berries, and egg whites.
Are There Side Effects to Taking Collagen?
You likely won’t experience any adverse side effects from taking collagen – it is a very safe supplement to consume. Be aware that collagen supplements often contain other ingredients (such as other vitamins and minerals), so you must always read the label before use.
Need a More Effective Hair Loss Treatment?
Without the hard evidence to show that collagen is good for the hair, you may want a more direct approach to hair loss, especially if you’ve experienced a lot of hair thinning and balding. Sometimes, supplements aren’t enough.
Hair transplants are a popular, tried-and-tested method for regrowing your hair after losing it. It works for those who have experienced androgenetic alopecia, as it takes hair follicles from the healthy section of the hair and then transplants them to the area experiencing hair loss. After the procedure, you would then start to regrow hair naturally from that area, with full results appearing about a year after the surgery. Some people like to take certain vitamins after a hair transplant – vitamins such as vitamins A, E, C, and D are particularly helpful for strengthening hair.
Hair Transplants: A More Direct Solution
Hair transplants have been around for many years and provide a direct solution to hair loss. They aren’t typically used for those who have experienced slightly thinning hair over the years. Instead, they are recommended for those who have seen significant hair loss. For example, a good candidate for a hair transplant would be a man who has a receding hairline at the temples but a good amount of hair at the back.
So, if you’re looking for a way to strengthen your hair and make it thicker, collagen might be a good route to take. However, if you have male pattern baldness and need a more direct solution to regrow your hair, a hair transplant could be the way to restore your confidence.
To Summarise: Does Collagen Help Hair Growth?
Everybody naturally has collagen within their skin, nails, hair, and bones. However, this protein depletes as you get older, which is what makes so many people turn towards collagen supplements. While some evidence shows that it can help strengthen the hair, studies have yet to show that it can reverse hair loss – especially significant hair loss. If you’re looking for a solution to hair loss, other treatments, such as a hair transplant, are much more effective.
Ready to take the next step in your journey towards hair restoration? At Harley Street Hair Clinic, we offer consultations with only the best surgeons in the business, so get in touch today to discuss hair transplants.
- Hair-Growth-Promoting Effects of the Fish Collagen Peptide in Human Dermal Papilla Cells and C57BL/6 Mice Modulating Wnt/β-Catenin and BMP Signaling Pathways
- Oral Collagen Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Dermatological Applications
- Structure and functions of keratin proteins in simple, stratified, keratinised and cornified epithelia
- Should you take collagen supplements?