Everybody uses cosmetics and personal care products, and you might have noticed that a few claims to have collagen in their products. Have you ever considered why this component is essential? Collagen is a protein that is abundant in the human body, making up 75% of the skin’s dry weight and up to 30% of the body’s total protein mass. Collagen production gradually decreases as we grow old, leading to signs like wrinkles, saggy skin, roughness, dryness, and fragile skin.
Some opt for age redefining products containing collagen to make them look younger and have clear, supple skin and hair. Few studies suggest that the collagen supplement products have improved the skin elasticity, apart from increasing the hydration.
So, do collagen-infused products help us fight hair loss or prevent greying hair?
We are here to break down some of the propositions made on Collagen supplements or products.
Hypothesis 1: Collagen products containing amino acids protect thick hair
Collagen itself is produced by amino acids, especially glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. It is a myth that amino acids containing collagen supplements help produce more keratin (a protein majorly responsible for hair growth). Keratin present in our hair strands consists of proline, helping for which itself is a part of amino acid. The collagen supplements which many consume, are usually broken down into peptides of 2 or 3 amino acids, which further helps in processing for the body. Hence, more research has to be done to know whether collagen-rich foods or collagen supplements will actually help acting as barriers for thicker hair.
Hypothesis 2: Peptides in collagen fight free radical damage to hair follicles
Free radicals are the reactive components that directly damage lipids, proteins, and DNA and can also damage hair follicles, thereby leading to hair loss. Due to the battle between antioxidants and free radicals, we generally lose the quality of our hair. Apart from producing free radicals ourselves, they are also found in our surroundings like UV rays, cigars, and other pollutants. This makes collagen more susceptible to free radical attack. Antioxidants can prevent or reduce its effect to an extent. Thereby, it is believed that oral consumption of collagen supplements can help stimulate the natural collagen generation in the body.
But detailed research has to be done in order to confirm if collagen supplements will really help fight those free radicals which damage your hair follicles.
Hypothesis 3: Peptides in collagen slow down greying hair
With the above point discussed, we know that free radicals damage the hair quality, thereby leading to grey hair too. When the antioxidants fail to fight the free radicals, the cells in the follicles and strands are destroyed, causing hair to turn grey. According to this theory, consuming collagen supplements could slow down the greying process in the hair strands. We suggest that more experiments and studies should be carried out to note the effect of antioxidants on the hair colour and how the supplements can help in it.
Hypothesis 4: Peptides in collagens can avoid hair thinning
With age and other factors like pollution and genetic issues, our dermis gets weaker, leading our hair follicles to grow thin and brittle. This problem can also result in hair loss, which is the cause of baldness. Since consuming collagen supplements has resulted in enhancing the elasticity and hydration of the skin, it is believed that it can also help prevent hair thinning. To add on, it is interesting to know that there is no valid proof or experiment done on this factor.
What do we conclude?
There are many suggestions available across the internet regarding various problems, but few of them are just theories, and a few are the experiments that produced results, thereby forming the solutions to the cause. Collagen could be a primary component in our body, but the theories regarding it needs more valid research and proof to be implemented widely. The side effects it causes, the amount to be consumed, how long it has to be consumed, and many more are yet to be answered. We suggest you consult a good dermatologist regarding any hair issue or before starting any dosage or supplement on your own.
Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP