What people think of as the most striking sign of youthfulness is made up of dead cells. Any woman who has ever asked her hairstylist for the kind of sunny blonde found on a preschooler’s head can attest to that. Even men are not immune. Many balding men have looked at the full head of hair on a teenager and sighed wistfully. Like it or not, a head full of beautiful hair is a sign of youth.
Hair isn’t the only sign of youth. A 2009 study regarding youthfulness found that skin wrinkles, lip height, and hair graying were significant universal signs of aging. As people age, the skin loses its elasticity. Much like how a rubber band fails to spring back to its original shape after it’s been tugged at for a while, over time, the skin loses its ability to maintain its original form. Our lips also start to deflate and flatten out over time. And our hair starts to fall out, change its color, and lose its luster. Skin wrinkles, deflated lips, and dull hair all have one thing in common — a lack of collagen.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a collection of proteins that are in connective tissue like skin and cartilage. About a third of all the protein in the human body is some type of collagen. Our internal organs, skin, tendons, parts of our bones, lymph tissue, and hair and nails either contain or rely on collagen for their sturdiness and elasticity. If you have ever cooked a soup with bones in it and let it sit, the result would be a gelatinous film in the soup. This gelatin consists of collagen. Its bouncy texture is what makes collagen so important.
Think of a mattress. Collagen is either the spring within the mattress that provides the bounce. Or the material around the mattress that keeps everything together. Without either the springs or the material surrounding it, the mattress sags and loses its firmness–the same thing occurs with the loss of collagen in human skin and hair.
Typically, the body can obtain collagen through proteins in the diet. These proteins can include animal proteins like beef, chicken, or eggs. Plant sources can consist of legumes, whole grains, fresh produce, and nuts. When the body is young, it utilizes the collagen to build the body. However, after the age of 30, the body no longer creates collagen as efficiently as it did when it was younger. The existing collagen tends to degrade with age and exposure to the sun, pollutants, smoking, and a poor diet.
Collagen is so essential to the function of bones and muscle that it has become a treatment for osteoarthritis, a painful condition of the joints. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Arthritis highlighted how collagen supplements are a safe medication to use against the pain related to osteoarthritis.
Do Collagen Supplements Work for Hair Growth?
According to several studies, collagen works as a supplement for hair growth. In a 2018 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, collagen supplements were a safe and effective way to grow healthy hair. In the study, collagen helped to address oxidative damage, micro-inflammation, and stress on hair, leading to less thinning.
It’s difficult to understand how collagen works to grow healthy hair if dead cells are what hair is made of. Collagen, however, works on hair by targeting the hair follicles, which are alive. Because hair grows out of hair follicles in the skin, ensuring that hair follicles and the scalp are healthy helps hair grow strong. Collagen’s antioxidant capabilities can heal some of the damage pollutants, and aging does to the scalp and follicles.
Collagen supplements are great for boosting the remaining collagen in our bodies, especially when age and the environment starts to affect us. Research studies have demonstrated that collagen from the ocean— from fish scales or seaweed— can combat free radicals in skin and hair.
How to Use Collagen for Hair
Thankfully, collagen can to improve the appearance of hair through either the ingestion of collagen or applying it directly onto the hair follicles. Collagen supplements can be taken by capsule, liquid, or powder to make up for the collagen that the body fails to produce on its own. Hair masks can easily be applied externally onto the hair itself, making the existing hair shiny and bouncy.
How Long Does it Take for Collagen to Grow hair?
When it comes to collagen, hair growth can take time. With collagen supplements, it may take up to four weeks to a few months of consistent use to see results. The rate of hair growth may also depend on genetics, as some people simply grow hair faster than others.
When used externally, like a hair mask, collagen can change the luster and look of the hair immediately after use…but making new hair growth may also take some time. When waiting for hair growth, a little patience goes a long way.
What is Biotin?
Unlike collagen, biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin. Biotin is known as coenzyme R, vitamin H, and vitamin B7. Because biotin assists with the breakdown of fatty acids and carbohydrates, it plays a large part in keeping skin and hair healthy through cell growth.
Just like collagen, however, dietary sources of biotin hold protein, such as eggs, legumes, nuts, and meat. Surprisingly, biotin is also known for stabilizing blood sugar.
Because the body produces its own biotin and can obtain it through food, biotin deficiency is very rare. On the rare occasion it does happen, a person low in biotin will show hair loss, thin and brittle nails, and skin rashes. Biotin deficiency may sometimes occur during hormonal changes like pregnancy or excessive alcohol use. Biotin deficiency can also happen when the body undergoes a severe dietary or nutritional shift.
Does Biotin Help Hair Growth?
Research has shown that biotin can help prevent hair loss and promote healthy hair in two ways. First, biotin acts as a cargo ship that carries oxygen to the skin, scalp, and hair follicles. Secondly, the body utilizes biotin to make keratin.
Keratin can be found at the root of a strand of hair—and it’s also what makes up 80% of each strand. It’s what gives hair its density and strength. Because biotin is necessary to feed the scalp oxygen and create keratin, it’s an integral part of healthy hair growth.
Best Collagen for Keto Hair Loss
For people who are on keto diets, hair loss can come with weight loss. The dietary changes that occur with the keto diet can result in nutritional and caloric deficiencies — like a decrease in collagen and biotin — that trigger hair loss.
Some keto dieters may fail to consume enough protein while consuming too much fat. This decrease in protein sources can trigger a biotin and collagen deficiency. Others may find that they require nutritional supplementation of collagen and biotin during a keto diet, regardless of their protein intake. Dietary supplements can help boost hair growth. The following are three supplements that can help prevent keto hair loss and promote growth.
Perfect Keto protein powders with collagen mix smoothly into any drink or dessert. It satisfies your sweet tooth without compromising your hard-earned weight loss. Perfect Keto was specifically made with keto dieters in mind, making the formula work seamlessly alongside a keto diet. Added MCT ensures efficient protein absorption into the body without compromising your diet. Perfect Keto’s hydrolyzed collagen formula works to combat the hair loss that can occur on the keto diet, keeping your hair healthy and strong.
Multi-Collagen Plus is Keto friendly and contains five types of collagen to address all your needs. The formula ingredients are Non-GMO, free of artificial excipients and heavy metals, and without any sugars, soy, gluten, dairy, and allergens. For people who have food sensitivities or allergies, this formula might be worth a try. Multi-Collagen Plus also contains a blended black pepper extract to help with complete absorption, making sure you get all the collagen you need.
Best Collagen Hair Mask
Elizavecca CER-100 Collagen Coating Hair Protein Treatment provides rich collagen conditioning treatments in just 5 minutes. Its fragrant and silky formula nourishes the hair, drenching it in nutrients. The formula contains a Ceramide 3 and collagen combination, softening and strengthening your thin and dry hair.
Luseta Biotin and Collagen hair mask contain a one-two punch of biotin and collagen to target all the causes of hair loss. This combination addresses all phases of hair growth, from the scalp and follicles to the hair shaft. Its rich blend of oils and vitamins provide immediate nourishment to nutrition deficient hair. Not only does this product provide long-term benefits, many people see a difference immediately after use.