You don't have to be a natural Rapunzel to have long, healthy hair. All it takes is a few must-haves in your hair care routine, such as investing in the right products, using deep-conditioning masks and being a little less scissor-happy.
There is also collagen, the not-so-secret hair secret. As the body’s most abundant protein, collagen gives structure to many parts of the body, including the hair, skin, nails and ligaments. But since collagen production in the body slows down significantly as we grow older, adding collagen supplements to your diet is recommended. Keep reading to learn all about collagen for hair, including whether it helps with hair growth.
does collagen help hair growth?
Much like biotin and daily scalp massages, collagen is a buzzword you may have seen thrown around with hair growth. "Collagen is a natural antioxidant that regenerates the hair follicle," explains Dr. Renee Moran, Owner of Dr. Renee Moran Medical Aesthetic. "Free radicals (think: stress, air pollutants, smoking, alcohol, etc.) can damage hair follicles, which can lead to hair loss." Guess what helps neutralize these free radicals? That’s right, collagen. "This then allows the hair to grow," she says.
Collagen helps with hair growth in other ways. "Collagen is broken down into amino acids that are used to build new proteins and compounds," says dermatologist Dr. Olivia Anderson. Since your hair is primarily made up of a protein called keratin, your body uses several amino acids to build it.
But here's the key: "Many of these amino acids are found in collagen," says Dr. Anderson. This means that collagen helps foster hair growth by nurturing hair health.
Which collagen is best for hair?
Not all collagen powders are the same. What's good for your skin may not offer the right fit to the hair. So when looking into which collagen is best for hair, Martino Cartier, celebrity hairstylist, CEO and Owner of Martino Cartier Salon in Washington Twp., NJ, says to opt for hydrolyzed collagen peptides powder: "It helps our cells inside of our body work better." Nikki Goddard, certified hair stylist and makeup artist with an associate degree in cosmetology, agrees. "It seals moisture in cells, improves hair structure and health and makes it elastic and shiny," she says, recommending collagen Types 1 and 3 (yes, there are different types). "These are the primary ‘building blocks' of hairs."
How much collagen should I take for hair growth?
Cartier explains that the amount of collagen you should take for hair growth depends on several factors. This largely includes height and weight. Please note that collagen supplementation varies from person to person since needs are different. To help give you a better idea of your specific needs, check out our Collagen Calculator™.
Is biotin or collagen better for hair?
In the case of biotin vs. collagen for hair, both can help with improving hair health. Starting with biotin, you may have heard about this B vitamin that gets an A+ for its beauty benefits. "Biotin, or vitamin B7, is an essential water-soluble vitamin," explains Goddard. "It helps the formation of fat cells and regulates sebum production." If you're not getting enough biotin, she says that you might experience these symptoms: increased skin sensitivity, dandruff and excessive sebum production. Collagen, on the other hand, improves hair structure by increasing protein levels. If you're having a difficult time choosing between the two, the good news is that you don't have to! Goddard recommends taking both for maximum benefits (extra benefits if you include other hair-healthy nutrients, such as vitamin D and folic acid).