Collagen is a protein that decreases with age around 1% a year, and is responsible for maintaining both skin firmness and hair growth. A recent meta analysis concluded that oral supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen peptides significantly improved all the measured parameters of skin aging, including wrinkle depth, moisture retention, and most importantly, laxity (degree of firmness). They additionally improved hair growth rate and hair shaft diameter for a variety of hair loss conditions, including androgenic alopecia, which to this point, was considered by most to be an exclusively DHT mediated phenomena.
Unlike Propecia and dutasteride, collagen peptides have no effect on the hormone axis, and thus no side effects. In fact, in addition to facial skin and hair growth cosmetic benefits collagen peptides have an anabolic effect, improving muscle hypertrophy in response to resistance training and strengthens ligaments, connective tissue, cartilage and joints. They are being used by many pro-athletes, particularly in Football and MMA, to build muscle and strengthen connective tissue for increased explosiveness and better recovery.
As such collagen peptides are a viable addition to or substitute for protein powders such as whey or pea protein concentrates, providing the same benefits to lean body mass with a host of additional cosmetic benefits.
How to optimize collagen production for both hair growth and skin firmness.
All of the aforementioned benefits involve the simple oral consumption of hydrolyzed collagen powder. Studies on its benefits had dosage ranges from 1-10 grams. Collagen creams, which have challenging penetration issues are likely to give only a modicum of benefit when compared to consumption of hydrolyzed collagen powder.
We, and many top dermatologists rightfully recommend using Retin A topically to stimulate collagen production. Retin A stimulates collagen production when topically applied and has been considered for many years to be the gold standard in anti-aging skin care. Emu oil, though lesser known, stimulates collagen production even more than Retin A, and unlike Retin A, produces no photosensitivity and is documented to enlarge hair follicles that have been miniaturized in response to burns and androgenetic alopecia. The beauty of emu oil is that it can be used in conjunction with Retin A topically for facial aging and produce an additive effect for collagen production, while eliminating any dryness which is often associated with Retin A usage. Some prior features we did on this very subject goes into detail on the mechanisms involved: