Collagen has often been heralded as a top-tier ingredient for hair growth. But does it really work? And, does it work for every hair type? Often, we see a hot new hair growth ingredient hit the market with claims it will give you Rapunzel-long locks, but they sometimes don’t actually do what they’re supposed to do, nor do they work for everyone. We wanted to do a little extra research on collagen to discover if it was right for, well, everyone. So, we reached out to Nutrafol ND Dr. Melissa Anzelone, along with Face Med Store part-owner and aesthetic medicine specialist Dr. Lanna Cheuck to learn more about collagen’s effectiveness. Scroll below to read their expert advice on the matter!
So, Does Collagen Really Work for Everyone?
The short answer is yes. Both Dr. Anzelone and Dr. Cheuck note that the supposed benefits of collagen do indeed check out. Collagen really does work.
“Collagen is a great source of proteins and amino acids to make keratin, the protein that makes up your hair,” shares Dr. Anzelone. “This vital protein is key to providing strength to the hair, which allows the hair to grow and lengthen.” Dr. Cheuck points out that “oral collagen has immense benefits for overall collagen-building,” which is advantageous for your skin and hair.
Now, does collagen work for every hair type? Also yes. It doesn’t favor one hair type over the other. “Regardless of the type of hair you have, all hair is constructed in the same way,” says Dr. Anzelone. “Hair follicle stem cells create hair from small pieces of protein called amino acids. These stem cells work underneath the surface of the skin to ‘glue’ amino acids together with special chemical bonds, producing keratin. This keratin protein is then made into a hair strand to create strong hair we see on our heads and scalp.”
Apart from working to improve hair growth, collagen offers a number of benefits. “In addition to hair strength supportive benefits, collagen supports many other things throughout the body,” Dr. Anzelone states. “Fun fact! Joints, skin, and nails are all a form of tissue that benefit from collagen. This essential protein promotes elasticity in the skin of the scalp and skin all over the body. In other words, collagen can make your skin healthier and younger-looking. Just like your hair, nails and skin are also made of keratin protein, so they need essential collagen to be healthy too.”
Are There Hair Types That Will Benefit From Using It More Than Others?
We wanted to be extra sure collagen works for everyone and the experts assuaged our fears once again. “All hair types will benefit as collagen is an essential protein involved in strengthening hair so it can grow longer and healthier,” shares Dr. Anzelone.
Dr. Cheuck does note that “as long as there is no metabolic/hormonal reason for hair loss/alopecia, collagen can benefit all types of hair follicles.”
Should Any Hair Types Avoid Using It Altogether?
Now, what about hair types that should avoid using collagen? It works for everyone, but does it really work for everyone?
Dr. Cheuck notes “there is no downside to taking collagen. If collagen is taken in the form of protein building, then you have to be careful with those who are recurrent kidney stone formers. However, there is no real downside of adjusting collagen intake because it gets metabolized.” She does mention that those who may experience a “specific reaction to either marine collagen or collagen from bone broth” should stay away from collagen.
Other than that, Dr. Anzelone shares she can’t think of a reason why someone shouldn’t use collagen for hair growth. The pros definitely outweigh the cons of this vital protein. Be sure to check with a dermatologist before you start taking collagen, however.
What Are the Best Collagen Products to Use for Hair Growth?
As far as choosing the right collagen for you, Dr. Anzelone notes “you want to make sure the collagen is hydrolyzed or broken into small pieces. This process maximizes collagen absorption in the digestive system. The more collagen you can absorb, the more likely it will work to support healthy hair, skin, and nails.”
Dr. Anzelone also mentions that there are a number of factors that can impact hair. “Research shows that there are several underlying factors that can affect hair including stress, hormones, metabolism, environment, and nutrition. It is important that a hair supplement targets all of these factors as each factor (or combination of factors) can shorten the growth phase of hair, delay new growth, and/or cause new hair to grow thinner,” she says. This is why she suggests Nutrafol. “Nutrafol combines key ingredients including sustainably sourced collagen from wild-caught codfish scales. This ingredient plus curcumin, ashwagandha, tocotrienols, saw palmetto, target all of these factors ensuring the best support for hair growth.”
Dr. Cheuck shares that she loves “bone broth by celebrity nutritionist Dr. Kellyanne Petrucci.” For stronger collagen supplements, she recommends seeing a dermatologist. “As far as prescriptive, you would have to see a dermatologist so that we can do a full evaluation and be able to order you prescription-strength medical ingredients,” she notes.