When it comes to hair health, there are a lot of products being peddled even though they might not be the best. A wide assortment of hair care products is available today that claim to be ideal for improving your hair's health while simply putting otherwise useless compounds on your scalp without offering sufficient benefit.
Some compounds have proven track records of improving hair health with scientific backing. These compounds are sold just as frequently as any other out there. However, the question of which is superior must be considered. Two major hair supplements have reached notoriety in the modern era: biotin and collagen.
Both biotin and collagen have become increasingly popular for those looking to improve the quality and health of their hair. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, with growing support within science for why they are suitable supplements. However, ultimately only one of them can indeed reign supreme. Making that decision can be difficult when you do not have the full range of details about how either product works. With this article, we hope to illustrate the differences between biotin and collagen and help determine which one might prove to be the one you need.
What is Biotin?
Biotin is simply the full name for a vitamin already manufactured in the human body: vitamin B7. Despite being naturally produced, biotin is refined into supplements to help our bodies "double down" on its benefits, like so many vitamins and compounds.
One of the benefits of biotin in recent history has been its ability to maintain the overall health of our hair while also promoting new growth. The latter, of course, is one of the biggest draws for men and women alike who suffer from balding. For this reason, biotin supplements have been on the rise and marketed to those whose hair is thinning and threatening to fall out well before its time. However, the level of efficacy that biotin offers remain in question.
The cause of biotin's popularity when it comes to hair care is that it is a known compound our bodies use to produce keratin. Keratin is yet another substance that our bodies naturally have to a certain extent, though a balanced diet is key to ensuring we do not suffer from a deficiency. It is a protein that serves as a critical component of human hair, skin, and nails and helps us grow each of these things as our body requires.
It is rare for keratin deficiencies to arise since a balanced diet will ensure the proper protein enters our bodies, so the thinning of hair is often unassociated with a lack of keratin in the system. Despite this fact, most hair growth supplements boast concentrations of biotin to promote keratin production in the body and regrow hair.
Biotin's powers of hair regeneration have become somewhat sensationalized among consumers. However, the science behind it might be a little more illuminating. The fact is biotin's benefits for hair growth are relatively limited and seem to require the biotin to be combined with other substances and vitamins to produce noticeable effects.
A study demonstrated this in 2012 in which patients were given hair growth supplements composed of biotin and other vitamins and minerals like zinc and iron over six months. The group given the supplements did report visible increases in hair volume and thickness, whereas the placebo group saw no changes. Unfortunately, the nature of the supplements being hybrids means that biotin's role in these results is inconclusive.
Another study was conducted on children given biotin supplements to heal thinning hair. While the results were initially promising in proving the efficacy of biotin against hair loss, it was later found that the children were suffering from underlying conditions leading to a biotin deficiency. As a result, the hair growth improvement was later determined to have resulted from their biotin levels returning to the baseline rather than improving upon their natural growth rates. Thus far, very little evidence suggests that biotin can offer support in thickening hair for those experiencing thinner growth.
Another study corroborates this evidence by reviewing the complaints of a group of women who were experiencing hair loss. When these women were evaluated, 38% of the population suffered from a biotin deficiency that was chiefly responsible for their hair troubles. Further, 11% of the subgroup was found to have a history of high-risk factors for biotin deficiencies like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or frequent use of particular antibiotic medication.
Biotin might be one of the most prevalent supplements available for hair care, but its results are underwhelming. However, with all of this in mind, the uses of biotin, or lack thereof, can still be readily compared to the effects of other hair care tools. So, what about collagen?
What is Collagen?
Collagen, much like biotin, is a compound that is naturally manufactured by our bodies because it is so essential to us. Collagen is the most prevalent protein found in the human body because it is the main structural protein used for our body's production of our skin, ligaments, and tendons. However, it is also a compound tangentially related to keratin, the main building block for hair. While collagen comes in many forms and, consequentially, wears many hats, its use for promoting healthier hair is a matter of some debate. That said, a little more evidence supports collagen supplements over biotin supplements as tools for hair care.
One of the biggest reasons collagen has support as a hair growth supplement is that it serves as a source of specific amino acids. Amino acids are one of the main tools our bodies use to produce our natural keratin content which, in turn, makes our nails and hair. Increasing our intake of these amino acids helps our body get more resources to work and manufacture these compounds. Three of these nonessential amino acids - proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline - are major collagen components present in collagen supplements. This can be a significant boon to enhancing our natural ability to grow hair with a little more volume than we otherwise might.
This is further corroborated by the fact that the main component of keratin is the amino acid proline. The concentration of proline in our system directly impacts the concentration of keratin we produce and, by extension, has the potential to promote hair growth. Collagen supplements rich in proline will provide your body with the raw resources it will need to start this chain reaction and improve your hair quality and thickness. More human trials are still necessary to comprehensively analyze this effect and confirm its viability. However, the results of the current studies are promising enough to turn collagen into a well-respected hair care supplement.
In addition to giving your body the raw resources to bolster your keratin content, it also has a role in protecting the follicles from which hairs grow. The integrity of hair follicles is an essential component of maintaining a healthy head of hair, and a lack of such maintenance will only serve to expedite the rate at which your hair thins and falls out. One of the chief causes of follicle damage is exposure to free radicals, compounds introduced from pollution, poor diet, smoke inhalation, etc. Free radicals are known to damage DNA, proteins, and cells alike, and there is evidence that suggests that collagen can offer protection against them.
There have been laboratory test-tube studies that have evaluated collagen's ability to counter the effects of free radicals. The cause of collagen's protective effects against free radicals is an antioxidant, preventing specific chemical reactions from completing within your body. Given that free radicals rely on these reactions to effectively spread throughout your body, inhibiting the process erects a sort of aegis against their effects. One study conducted on marine collagen found that the compound could effectively fend off the effects of four separate free radicals. Evidence suggests that collagen can be a more effective antioxidant than those found in tea.
Collagen's potential in protecting against free radicals becomes even more significant as we get older. Our natural potential for resisting free radicals diminishes over time as we age. Often enough, collagen is used to help compensate for this since its free radical protection helps bridge the gap between what our bodies are still capable of and what we need. There is still a fair amount of research that needs to be conducted on collagen to cement its place in hair care. However, the results grow more and more promising with every passing study. That said, we now come to the ultimate question of which of these supplements is superior.
Which is Better for Your Hair?
Now that we have more insight into what makes biotin and collagen tick, we can compare them to determine the best supplement for your needs. We now understand what makes biotin supplements seem ideal on the surface. However, the science does not support its use as a haircare supplement since the results have shown that biotin only really works if you are already deficient. Otherwise, the benefits afforded to your physiology by biotin are next to negligible at best and outright nonexistent at worst. Of course, this is not to say that biotin is any less essential to your body than any other protein.
Biotin supplements can be a solid choice if you already have an existing condition that renders your biotin levels below the norm. Such supplements can be advisable if you need a quick surge of biotin in daily life. If your goal is to promote more hair growth with thicker volume, biotin will likely disappoint you.
As for collagen, the results are staggeringly better in comparison. More scientific evidence supports collagen's effects as a health and hair growth supplement. More research needs to be done to determine the full range of collagen products, but the results thus far are too impressive to ignore. It provides more overall effects that help promote newer growth and protect the follicles from any damage that might cause that growth to shed prematurely. However, it is equally important to note that collagen is not a miracle product that will undo balding completely. Instead, it might be what you need to preserve your hairline as long as your genetics permit.
Now, we know that you might be a little nervous about using any supplementary product. Suppose you have some questions about how collagen supplements and tools might interact with your physiology and biology personally. In that case, it might be wise to consult your primary care provider. Everyone is different and might have specific allergies and medication conflicts that might cause some issues if not properly regulated. However, collagen is still a safe product that should not cause you concern or issue. Once you have consulted with your provider, the only real question is where to acquire a quality product.
Keep it All Natural
Deciding between collagen and biotin supplements can be challenging without the information needed to assess their pros and cons. There are plenty of generalizations about these supplements, but without the facts behind them, there is every chance that the results will be lackluster. Collagen appears to outrank biotin in terms of haircare and the overall health benefits of these particular supplements. However, regardless of which is superior, the concern is making sure the product you purchase is not only reliable but safe. This means you will need a reputable vendor for, in this case, collagen.
For that, we at Bella All Natural are here to help. We offer an assortment of collagen-based products designed to maximize the positive effects it has to offer, with quality as the central policy. We offer everything from our scented collagen skin cream to open up your pores, to our collagen keratin shampoo specifically designed to enhance your hair's health and volume. We believe in delivering a quality product while keeping to the most natural ingredients possible for them. So, if you find that your hair is not how you want it to be, check out our website and see if any of our products appeal to you. Just remember always to keep it All Natural!
Have you ever used either biotin or collagen products before for your hair care? If so, what were your thoughts on the product you had chosen? Were the results what you had hoped for? Be sure to leave all your thoughts and stories in the comments section down below! We'd love to hear what you think!