In recent years, collagen has gained significant attention in the beauty industry as a potential solution for various beauty concerns, including hair growth.
The idea that collagen supplements can promote stronger and healthier hair has become popular, but what does science say about this claim?
In this article, we will delve into the relationship between collagen and hair growth, examining the scientific evidence behind its effectiveness.
Understanding Collagen’s Importance for hair growth:
Collagen is a protein that serves as a fundamental building block in the human body, making up a significant portion of our connective tissues.
It is the most abundant protein, accounting for approximately one-third of the total protein content in our bodies.
Collagen is responsible for providing structure, strength, and elasticity to various tissues, including the skin, bones, tendons, and hair.
- Role in supporting Tissues:
Collagen's primary role is to provide structural support to tissues throughout the body. In the skin, collagen provides elasticity and helps maintain firmness and resilience.
It forms a network that supports the growth and maintenance of skin cells, contributing to a youthful and healthy appearance.
- Nourishment for Hair:
Collagen is an essential component of hair, contributing to its strength, structure, and overall health. It is found in the hair follicles and the extracellular matrix surrounding them.
Collagen supports the growth and development of hair follicles, providing structural integrity and nourishment.
- Control hair ageing due to a decline in collagen:
Although collagen is produced naturally by the body, its production decreases with age. This decline in collagen synthesis can lead to various signs of ageing, including hair thinning and loss.
As collagen levels diminish, the hair follicles may become weaker and less efficient in producing healthy hair strands.
- Prevent Hair Thinning and Loss:
Hair thinning and loss can occur due to various factors, including genetic predisposition, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and environmental factors.
The reduction in collagen production contributes to these changes by weakening the hair follicles and disrupting the hair growth cycle.
The Hair Growth Cycle:
The hair growth cycle is a continuous and repetitive process that involves three distinct phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen.
Understanding this cycle is crucial in comprehending how hair grows and the factors that can affect its growth and appearance.
- Anagen Phase (Growth):
The hair follicles' active growth period is known as the anagen phase. In this stage, hair follicle cells divide quickly and produce new hair strands. During this stage, the hair's length and thickness are mostly decided.
Anagen can last anywhere between two and seven years depending on the individual. Longer anagen stages are more common in those with longer hair.
- Catagen Phase (Transition):
The hair follicles go into the catagen phase, which is a brief phase of transition, after the anagen phase. The hair follicles contract at this stage, and hair growth stops. Typically, this phase lasts two to three weeks.
- Telogen Phase (Resting):
The resting stage of the hair growth cycle is known as the telogen phase. During this stage, the hair follicles are dormant, and the old hair strand is forced out by the new hair that has started to develop under it.
On average, 10-15% of the scalp's hair is currently in the telogen phase. It takes two to three months to complete this phase.
The cycle is repeated when the hair follicles enter the anagen phase again after the telogen period. It is common for people to shed between 50 and 100 hairs every day on average.
The Role of Collagen in Hair Health:
Collagen, as a key structural protein in the body, plays a vital role in maintaining the health of hair follicles and promoting overall hair health.
It is a major component of the extracellular matrix that surrounds the hair follicles, providing structural support and contributing to the integrity of the hair shaft.
- Structural Support:
Collagen provides structural support to the hair follicles, which are small cavities within the skin where hair grows. It helps to maintain the structural integrity of the follicles, ensuring that they remain healthy and functional.
This structural support is crucial for the proper growth and development of hair strands.
- Hair Shaft Strength:
Collagen helps to strengthen the hair shaft, which is the visible part of the hair that extends above the scalp. It forms a protective layer around the hair fibres, making them more resilient and less prone to damage.
Stronger hair shafts are less likely to break or become brittle, resulting in healthier-looking hair.
Collagen improves the elasticity of the hair, allowing it to stretch and recoil without breaking easily. This elasticity is important for preventing hair damage from daily activities such as combing, brushing, or styling.
When hair has optimal elasticity, it can withstand tension and manipulation without experiencing excessive breakage or damage.
- Scalp Health:
Collagen also contributes to the overall health of the scalp, the foundation for healthy hair growth.
Collagen helps to maintain the health of the scalp by promoting proper blood circulation and nutrient delivery to the hair follicles, which is essential for their growth and function.
In addition to its direct effects on hair health, collagen indirectly supports hair growth by promoting skin health.
The scalp, being an extension of the skin, can benefit from the positive effects of collagen on skin elasticity, hydration, and overall health. A healthy scalp creates a conducive environment for optimal hair growth.
It is important to note that collagen is naturally produced by the body. However, as we age, collagen production decreases, which can impact the health of hair follicles and contribute to hair thinning or loss.
This is one reason why collagen supplementation or topical treatments are popular among individuals seeking to enhance their hair health.
While collagen is undoubtedly an essential protein for maintaining healthy hair and skin, the direct impact of collagen supplements on hair growth is still a topic of ongoing research.
Current scientific evidence is limited, and more robust studies are needed to establish a clear link between collagen supplementation and hair growth.
However, collagen supplements may still have potential benefits for overall hair health by supporting the scalp and the production of other essential proteins.