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Collagen for Hair Growth

Collagen is an important component of health and function of scalp and hair follicles. Some believe collagen supplements can stimulate hair growth, prevent hair loss and slow graying, but more research is needed.

Last Modified: July 18, 2022
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Why Is Taking Collagen for Hair Growth Popular?

Collagen has become a popular hair growth supplement thanks to media attention and personal reports from consumers, despite a lack of scientific evidence linking collagen to hair growth.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and it helps build and repair bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, hair and skin, including skin on the scalp.

Some studies have shown that taking collagen improves hair growth, but most of these studies were funded by the cosmetic and supplement industries.
According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, this presents a conflict of interest because most of the research on collagen supplements is funded by related industries that may benefit from positive results.

People have claimed that collagen supplementation can help regenerate hair follicles to regrow hair, thicken hair density, stop hair loss and possibly impact hair graying.

More objective and controlled studies are necessary to determine whether collagen supplementation may live up to these claims.

What Do We Know About Collagen and Hair?

Collagen plays important roles in the health of the scalp and hair follicles, and it contains amino acids used to build keratin, which is the protein that hair is primarily made of.

Collagen is the primary component of the dermis, which is the connective tissue layer that contains hair follicles. Collagen plays a role repairing the dermis and the skin on the scalp at the base of the hair follicle, and it may impact age-related hair growth.

The following studies reported no conflicts of interest or suspicious funding sources.

An August 2021 study published in Aging investigated the role collagen may play in hair follicle regeneration. Tests showed that younger cells at the base of hair follicles upregulated (used more) collagen, while aged cells downregulated (used less) collagen. The young cells also aggregated together, which promotes hair follicle growth, while the aged cells had difficulty aggregating.

These results suggest that collagen helps younger people regenerate hair follicles, which lead to hair growth. As people age and collagen levels drop, there is less hair follicle regeneration and subsequent hair loss.

According to a 2018 study published in Experimental Dermatology, collagen type 17 is an important part of the microenvironment that promotes hair follicle stem cell health. Hair follicle stem cells become active during a new hair cycle, which is when new hair growth occurs.

The study also reported that people born with an inability to make collagen type 17 develop junctional epidermolysis bullosa, which is a genetic condition that causes skin to be fragile and blister. Patients with this condition develop serious hair loss and hair graying early in life.

Mice genetically altered to be deficient in type 17 collagen also develop hair loss and graying. Researchers reported that graying is believed to occur after collagen breakdown around hair follicle stem cells.

A 2016 study published in Science evaluated the effects of supplementing type 17 collagen in aged mice with hair loss. Results showed that maintaining levels of type 17 collagen helped aged hair follicles use collagen again to restore cell function and health.

Type 17 collagen is not available in supplement form but supplementing with different types of collagen may provide a wide range of amino acids the body needs to produce type 17 collagen.

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.

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Should I Take Collagen Supplements for My Hair?

Taking collagen may improve the health of your scalp and hair, but there isn’t much objective evidence that it will result in hair growth for everyone who takes it. Other potential collagen benefits include improvements in the health of skin, joints and bones.

Supplementing with collagen powder may promote the health and function of the scalp and hair follicles, but it must be taken on a long-term basis because the body produces an enzyme that constantly breaks down collagen.

Dietary supplements, including collagen supplements, are not reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before they reach the U.S. market. It is important to look for a third-party verification seal on supplements before you buy them.

Examples of third-party verification organizations in the U.S. include the U.S. Pharmacopeia and NSF International. U.S. Pharmacopeia ensures that the ingredients have been verified, and NSF International certifies that a product’s ingredients match the label.

Make sure to discuss any new supplement with a doctor to review possible side effects, drug interactions and allergies. Collagen may be sourced from fish and eggs, which are common allergens.

Ask your doctor if any digestive problems could result from recommended dose and whether you should try a particular form of supplement first.

While there are no known drug interactions with collagen, some collagen supplements contain other ingredients, such as vitamin C, that may interact with drugs. Vitamin C should not be taken with bortezomib or deferoxamine.

Please seek the advice of a medical professional before making health care decisions.