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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: September 5, 2023
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Why Is Taking Collagen for Hair Growth Popular?

While there is limited scientific evidence suggesting collagen can encourage hair growth, collagen has become a popular hair growth supplement thanks to media attention and personal reports from consumers. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and it provides strength, structure and flexibility to bones, tendons, ligaments, muscles, hair and skin, including the scalp.

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

Consumers 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 contains amino acids used to build keratin, which is the protein that hair is primarily made of. As a result, collagen plays an important roles in the health of the scalp and hair follicles.

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 and their findings shed light on the relationship between hair and collagen:

  • Hair follicle regeneration: Tests showed younger cells at the base of hair follicles used more collagen, while aged cells used less. This suggests declining collagen levels as people age may contribute to subsequent hair loss.
  • Collagen type 17: According to a study in Experimental Dermatology, people born with an inability to make collagen type 17 develop junctional epidermolysis bullosa, a genetic condition causing fragile and blistering skin, serious hair loss and  graying.

Type 17 collagen is not available in supplement form. 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.

Consumers are advised to approach taking supplements with caution. The FDA does not classify collagen supplements as pharmaceuticals. They are instead regulated as foods. As a result, manufacturers do not need to go through the same level of testing and transparency as would be required for medications.

Because dietary supplements are not FDA-reviewed before they reach the U.S. market, it’s important to look for a third-party verification seal on supplements before you buy them. 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.

Supplementing with collagen powder may potentially 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.

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.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, for example.

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