Collagen is one of the biggest buzzwords when it comes to things like dietary supplements and skin care products. These days we even see flavored collagen drinks alongside fruit juices and energy drinks in cafes and convenience stores. Many people associate collagen with skin and anti-aging skin care products, but what about collagen hair treatment. Can collagen supplementation really slow down the aging process and even improve the condition of your hair? Before I try to answer these questions, let us first take a look at some interesting facts relating to collagen.
5 Facts about Collagen
Contrary to what some people believe, collagen does so much more than only keeping your skin firm and youthful looking. Yes, when we start to age, our bodies start to produce less and less collagen, and as a result, our skin starts to become loose and we start to see fine lines and wrinkles appearing. However, collagen plays an equally important role throughout your body. Here are some interesting facts about collagen:
- The term “collagen” comes from a Greek word meaning glue. Our bodies contain an almost infinite number of cells, tissues and other parts, and it is essentially collagen that binds everything together and keeps everything in place.
- Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, and because collagen is as important for animals as it is for us, it is also the most abundant protein in the entire animal kingdom.
- Aging is the only thing that can stop or reduce the incredible qualities of collagen. Aging has a profound impact on the collagen in our bodies. Not only does aging cause our bodies to produce less and less collagen, but the quality of the collagen we produce also deteriorates once we start to age.
- Brace yourself! Collagen production and collagen quality do not only start declining once you reach your forties, fifties or sixties. The declining process actually starts when you are in your twenties or early thirties if you are lucky.
- The natural production of collagen in our bodies is a two-part process, and it is a process that is extremely reliant on the presence of vitamin-C. Without this vitamin, your body simply cannot produce collagen.
Collagen is an amino acid with a triple helix structure. In other words, it is like three individual chains that are twisted around each other. This is what gives collagen its amazing strength. In fact, on a gram-for-gram basis, collagen is stronger than steel. In short, it really is impressive stuff.
Collagen Hair Treatment
The topic of collagen hair treatment is actually quite a controversial one. Many people swear by it, while many others dismiss it as being nothing more than a money-making gimmick. Of course, when you consider just how much demand there is for collagen skin care products and collagen supplements, it was inevitable that companies would start making and selling collagen hair treatment products. After all, there is a considerable amount of money to be made. Before you invest any of your money in collagen hair treatment, let us take a look at a few facts.
It seems like a lot of people have misconceptions about collagen consumption. Many people think that if they consume collagen, it goes into their digestive system and is then distributed to any areas or parts of the body that are lacking collagen. In reality, however, it does not quite work like that.
When you consume collagen via your diet or in supplement form, once it reaches your digestive system, it gets broken down into different amino acids. In this regard, your digestive system treats collagen in the exact same way that it treats any other type of protein you consume. Once the protein has been broken down into amino acids, your body then decides how they should be used. Some will of course be used for collagen production, but we do not have any say in how many of those amino acids get assigned to collagen production.
Many healthcare professionals and scientific researchers believe that increasing collagen intake to combat aging skin for improving the condition of one’s hair is futile. On the other hand, there have also been quite a few studies which have shown that collagen supplementation can indeed benefit your skin. In one particular double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers found that daily collagen supplementation significantly enhanced skin elasticity when compared to the participants in the placebo group. For this study, researchers enlisted 69 female participants between the ages of 35 and 55.
In a different study that lasted for 12 weeks and one which involved more than a 1,000 participants, researchers found that collagen supplementation not only increased the amount of collagen in skin, but also reduced the appearance of aging skin. Okay, so what has this got to do with collagen hair treatment? Well, as we all know, hair grows out of skin.
Your hair is primarily made up of a protein called keratin rather than collagen. In order for your body to produce keratin, it needs several different amino acids, and some of these amino acids are actually present in collagen. So, if we consume more collagen, we are essentially giving our bodies more amino acids to work with.
The concept of collagen hair treatment is basically based on a 2-pronged approach:
- By increasing collagen intake, you are essentially giving your body more amino acids to work with; more amino acids which can be used for making keratin for hair growth.
- If we can increase the amount of collagen in our skin, our skin will automatically be healthier and more able to support healthy hair growth.
Not an Officially Endorsed Hair Treatment
While countless people have reported very positive outcomes regarding collagen hair treatment, a lot more research still needs to be done before this type of treatment is endorsed by the wider scientific community. To the best of my knowledge, Finasteride (a synthetic steroid) and Minoxidil are more or less the only two products that are widely endorsed by various health bodies, including the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. Both of these products can be used for treating male pattern baldness, while Minoxidil can also be used for treating female pattern baldness and thinning hair.
In my opinion, if you only want to improve the appearance and/or texture of your hair, collagen hair treatment may be all you need. If the condition of your hair is more serious, or if you have noticed that it is getting thinner and thinner, then I would probably also want to use Minoxidil, or at least, a hair product that contains Minoxidil, but not before I have discussed this with my doctor.
You may find highly useful information in this article: Beauty Tips for Hair that Will Keep Your Locks Shimmering
How to Rebuild Collagen in the Face
Since most people associate collagen more with skin than they do with hair, I think it is only right for me to write a bit about collagen and skin. However, I have already written quite a lot about this in some of my earlier articles, so I am going to keep this really brief, and I am only going to look at how we can rebuild, or at least try to rebuild collagen in the skin on our face. Let us take a look at 8 things you can do to encourage increased collagen production:
- Facial Massages – While there are lots of claims about massages being able to stimulate collagen production, there does not seem to be much solid evidence to back up such claims. However, according to a study published on the PubMed website, when appropriate massage devices are used in conjunction with anti-aging creams or serums, the massaging enhances the effectiveness of those creams and/or serums.
- Drink more Water – This is of particular importance if you live in a warm and/or very dry climate.
- Quit Smoking – It is a well-known fact that smoking is highly damaging to collagen and collagen production. If you are a smoker, now you have yet another reason to quit.
- Limit Sun Exposure – When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin-D which is very important for your skin, but UV rays from the sun can also be extremely harmful to your skin, and it effectively reduces natural collagen production.
- Collagen Supplements – Yes, the jury is still out on whether supplements can boost collagen levels or not, but there have also been some very convincing findings. Taking a collagen supplement is not going to harm you, so it is definitely worth a try.
- Retinoids – Consider using a retinoid-based product on your skin. Retinoids are often recommended for treating acne, but they have also shown promising results in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you are like me and you are only willing to use all-natural skin care products, you can find some products that contain a natural form of retinoid.
- Skin Care – Collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed by the skin, but some specialist skin care products contain ingredients which are able to penetrate the skin, and in so doing, they could help to stimulate collagen production.
- Vitamin-C – Without adequate vitamin-C, your body cannot produce collagen. Vitamin-C is absolutely crucial for collagen production. If you want to really help your body to be able to produce collagen efficiently, then you need to make sure that you are getting enough vitamin-C in your diet, or else you should consider taking a vitamin-C supplement. And, because vitamin-C is able to penetrate your skin, you should also apply it to your skin by using good quality skin care products that contain vitamin-C.
Please read this interesting review: Natural Skin Care – Kanapa Luminuous Day & Night Cream Review
Collagen Oil for Body, Face and Hair
As one would expect, you get different types of collagen oils. Some are designed to be used on one’s body, some are designed for use on one’s face, and some are designed to be used as a collagen hair treatment. The actual oil itself can also vary quite a bit, as can the quality of the oil. Most of the collagen that is found in skin care products and hair products is made from the cattle hides.
Of course, manufacturers are highly unlikely to use terms such as “swine collagen” or “bovine collagen” on their product labels, so they simply use the word “Collagen” and everyone is happy. These days, some of the higher quality skin care products contain marine collagen which is made from the bones and scales of fish.
If you are thinking about buying collagen oil for your skin or your hair, I would recommend choosing products that contain marine collagen rather than bovine collagen. Both types of collagen are good, but the bioavailability of marine collagen is better. In fact, the bioavailability of marine collagen is around 1.5 times greater than the bioavailability of bovine collagen. This means that marine collagen is more readily absorbed than bovine collagen. On the downside, marine collagen is more expensive than other types of collagen.
Now, you may be wondering whether you should use collagen oil or a collagen cream/lotion. To be honest, I do not really believe that it makes much of a difference really. In my opinion, it is the quality that matters the most. Obviously the oil would be a better choice for using on your hair, but I would recommend using a collagen cream for the body to help in skin treatment.
When is the Best Time to Take Collagen Supplements?
When should you take your collagen supplements? I wish I could tell you with some degree of certainty, but the truth is I cannot. Despite having browsed through countless pages online, I have been unable to find any clinically backed answers to this question. Advice varies from one manufacturer to the next, and also from one person to the next.
Some manufacturers and consumers recommend taking your collagen supplements on an empty stomach, when your stomach is more or less in a state of rest and not actively busy digesting food. Other people recommend taking collagen supplements just before going to bed at night. The reasoning behind this is the fact that your body goes into a sort of repair mode once you fall asleep, and will therefore be able to use the collagen more productively.
Of course, as I have mentioned earlier, once collagen reaches your digestive system, it gets broken down into amino acids, and this is not going to change regardless of whether you take your supplement just before bedtime or not. Until I find solid evidence to suggest otherwise, I am going to go along with the idea of taking collagen supplements on an empty stomach. The collagen is still going to be converted into amino acids, but this approach just seems like a better choice if you ask me.