Why Collagen is Great for Your Hair and Skin
With products claiming to have found the fountain of youth being advertised left and right, and procedures to reduce the visible signs of aging increasing year after year, it’s no surprise that as we age, so does our skin and hair. Around the age of 25, our body’s natural collagen production starts to slow down and then continues to decline for the rest of our lives. When these collagen levels decrease, the signs of aging that we’re collectively fighting such as wrinkles, joint pain, brittle hair, and sagging skin, only become increasingly more apparent. Of course, there is no way to halt the aging process altogether, but there are ways in which we can slow it down. Quite simply, a lack of collagen can speed the effects of time, while boosting your collagen production internally may actually achieve the opposite.
So what is collagen? Collagen is a critical part of the body and a protein that we depend upon to function properly. It is often referred to as a “complex protein,” and contains a notable 19 essential amino acids (including arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline). And because collagen is utilized literally everywhere in the body and is so vital to digestion, skin, hair, bone, joint, and tendon strength, it’s even referred to as “the glue that holds the body together.”
At one point in time, our diets were rich in collagen. We utilized every part of an animal possible while cooking and the boiling process of making broths is extremely rich in both collagen and other nutrients. They say that it most likely wasn’t chicken soup that cured the common cold, but rather its bone broth base. Our diets now, on the other hand, are low in collagen, which is why many choose to restore levels via proper supplementation.
It may seem counterintuitive to consume something internally to help with the external, but when it comes to collagen, it is vital to replenish our production from the inside out. See, wrinkle creams may promise the fountain of youth, but collagen molecules are too large to pass through the outer layer of skin. This is why it is far better for both our skin and hair to consume it. That said, with so much out there, how do we know that we’re getting the best collagen and supplements that will optimally perform? Make sure to look for hydrolyzed collagen, which is easiest for our bodies to absorb, as well as a supplement that contains Types I, II, III, IV, and V for the utmost benefit.
Increasing the collagen in our diet through both food intake and supplementation is beneficial for our skin and hair in a number of ways. It may reduce wrinkles, increase hydration, prevent acne, fade scars, heal wounds, improve hair health, encourage strand growth, reduce graying, smooth cellulite, and is easy to incorporate into our daily lives. Continue reading for why and how:
Collagen is a major component of our skin
Collagen makes up 70% of our dermis, the middle layer of our skin, that contains the root of each individual hair. Within the dermis lies the fibers that are the foundation for the growth of our cells and blood vessels. Collagen acts as a support structure for the skin and can also be found in the hypodermis, which is a layer of fat and connective tissue that contains larger blood vessels and nerves. Because it plays such a prominent role in our skin’s structural makeup, collagen contributes to both the elasticity and strength of our dermis. As described above, our bodies produce less collagen over time and become less efficient at replenishing cells in the dermis, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, density loss, and the thinning of hair. Providing our bodies with collagen may reverse some of these visible signs of aging by helping to restore and maintain a healthy dermis. Which brings me to my next point:
Collagen may reduce wrinkles and dryness
Taking collagen supplements may promote the production of other proteins that help structure your skin, including elastin and fibrillin. One 8 week study involving 69 women aged 35 to 55 found that taking collagen supplements led to a “statistically significant improvement” in skin elasticity compared to a placebo. The women took 2.5–5 grams of collagen daily and experienced less skin dryness and a significant increase in elasticity as a result.
Another study found that women who drank a beverage mixed with a collagen supplement daily for 12 weeks noticed increased skin hydration and a significant reduction in wrinkle depth compared to a control group. Collagen is said to support healthy moisture levels within our skin, keeping it looking supple and youthful. Boosting our natural production of collagen will also have the beneficial side effect of triggering the production of hyaluronic acid, which is responsible for our skin’s natural hydration levels and its ability to retain moisture.
Collagen may be helpful in preventing acne, fading scars, and curing other skin conditions
Although there is currently no scientific evidence to back it up, many anecdotal claims across the internet advocate for collagen as a cure all for troublesome skin. This includes cystic acne, scarring, and even the sagging skin that leads to the selfie-crushing double chin. Unfortunately, the bacteria which causes acne can also damage the structural matrix of our skin. Collagen may aid in the process of healing wounds caused by acne, which leads me to my next point:
Collagen heals wounds
Collagen assists in migrating numerous types of cells, including fibroblasts and keratinocytes, to the wound, which plays a key role in catapulting tissue growth in a wound bed. These properties of collagen may help clinicians with the removal of damaged tissue or foreign objects from a wound and encourage natural growth to occur.
Collagen may prevent hair loss, encourage hair growth, and keep your strands healthy
Our hair is made of keratin, which is a protein that needs amino acids, primarily proline, to build. Collagen contains proline. Putting the pieces together, consuming proline-abundant collagen would provide your body with the building blocks necessary to create strong and healthy hair, stave off breakage, as well as prevent thinning and shedding.
Marine collagen (a Type I Collagen found in fish), particularly, can also act as an antioxidant, fighting off the free radicals that damage hair follicles. Free radicals are present throughout our environment, but compound in the body due to poor diet, stress, alcohol, and other pollutants. Antioxidants as a whole, including collagen, can help combat this inevitable evil that comes along with living in modern society.
Collagen may also reduce hair graying
Speaking of antioxidants, collagen is thought to fight cell destruction, due to its antioxidant properties, and slow down graying as a result. While our hair losing its pigment is certainly influenced by genetics, free radical damage to said melanin-creating cells can also play a large part. One study found that the antioxidant activity of gray hair follicles was much lower than that of hair follicles which still maintained pigment. Collagen is a crucial part of the healthy structure of a hair follicle, where pigment is produced.
Collagen may prevent and improve cellulite
As we age, we all know that our skin loses its elasticity. It essentially stops stretching and starts rolling. Cellulite, or the persistent subcutaneous fat causing the lumping or dimpling of the skin, especially on the thighs, hips, buttox, and belly, increases as a result. Although its exact cause is unknown, cellulite is said to be caused by fat pushing the skin’s connective tissue out of shape. Collagen naturally strengthens the connective tissue of the skin and assists in hydration of the skin from the inside out (see above). This elasticity, plumpness, and firmness that the complex protein touts in its long list of benefits may prevent or improve dreaded cellulite, when very little is said to actually help.
Collagen is easy to take and incorporate into our daily lives
The beneficial effects of collagen supplements have been attributed to their ability to stimulate our body to produce natural collagen all on its own. When it comes to beauty, despite claims of fountain of youth collagen creams and serums, it is vital to replenish our production from the inside out. As described earlier, collagen molecules are too large to pass through the outer layer of skin.
What your body does do is break down collagen in the digestive system into amino acids that it then transports and uses wherever and whenever it’s needed. When searching for the right supplement, look for hydrolyzed collagen or collagen peptides (the same thing), meaning they’re already broken down into smaller proteins and easier for the body to digest and absorb.
It’s great to find a supplemental powder that can be seamlessly added to smoothies, coffee, and other hot or cold liquids to easily incorporate collagen into your daily routine.
If you’re looking for one to try, Omax Collagen Complete contains the best bioavailable, hydrolyzed peptides and collagen types I, II, III, IV, V to renew vitality and performance by replacing and rebuilding lost collagen. It’s also unflavored, quickly dissolved, and keto-friendly, which makes it incredibly convenient to enjoy in hot or cold beverages, soup, or other soft food.
There are also other ways to naturally boost or maintain your collagen levels.
Collagen production may decrease as we age, but that doesn’t mean we can’t incorporate collagen into our daily lives in other, natural ways. It also doesn’t mean that our hair and skin must visibly show the effects of time that has passed long before it actually needs to. Hydrolyzed collagen, easiest for our body to absorb, provides many benefits when consumed from the inside out and is great for our hair and skin health.