When you stroll down the supplement aisle, you’ll see many biotin and collagen options for hair, skin, and nail health. But what’s the difference between collagen and biotin? How are they alike, and which should you take for your concerns about skin health, hair thickness, and nail strength?
Today’s article will dive into collagen vs. biotin and discuss using nutrition from the inside out for the best improvements to hair, skin, and nails. And who best to share this information than a facial surgeon who understands the skin from the deepest layers to the surface?
Keep reading to learn more about:
- What is collagen?
- What is collagen good for? The benefits of collagen
- What is biotin?
- Benefits of biotin
- Biotin vs. collagen for hair
- Biotin vs. collagen for skin
- Biotin vs. collagen for nails
What is Biotin?
Biotin (vitamin B7) is a water-soluble essential nutrient that must be obtained from the diet daily. Good food sources of biotin include liver, eggs, salmon, pork, beef, sunflower seeds, and sweet potato. Eating various animal and plant foods daily helps ensure you meet your daily needs and avoid vitamin B7 deficiency.
Biotin is also available through dietary supplements as part of a multivitamin, vitamin B complex, or on its own as a biotin supplement.
Supports Metabolic Homeostasis
Biotin is a critical vitamin for metabolic health and everyday balance. It’s necessary to support the energy metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. In other words, biotin is required to help you turn the food you eat into energy for your cells to function their best, including the cells needed for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Assists in the Function of Hair, Skin, & Nails
A B7 deficiency affects the hair, skin, and nails. Signs include dry skin and rashes, hair loss, and brittle nails. Optimizing biotin supports healthy skin, hair, and nails, especially when low biotin is the root cause.
One of Eight Essential B Complex Vitamins
Biotin, vitamin B7, is part of the B complex vitamins. All are water-soluble, must be obtained in the diet regularly, and work together. B complex vitamin benefits include metabolic health, immunity, genetic expression, and more. While we might single out vitamin B7 benefits for hair, skin, and nails, meeting all your nutrient needs is vital for overall health and wellness.
Vitamin B7/Vitamin H
What is vitamin H? Vitamin H is a less common name for biotin or vitamin B7. Think about vitamin H for Healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Benefits of Biotin
Biotin is critical for energy metabolism in every cell of the body. Let’s look at some evidence supporting biotin supplementation for hair, skin, and nail health.
Many resources on biotin suggest that it’s an uncommon deficiency. However, it may be more common in people experiencing hair loss. In one study of women complaining of hair loss, 38% showed a biotin deficiency.
Stimulates Keratin Production for Follicle Growth
Keratin is a structural protein that makes up much of your hair. It’s also found in your skin, nails, and internal organs. The main role of keratin is for protection.
Because you need biotin for energy metabolism, biotin helps create the energy hair follicles require to produce keratin and grow hair. The benefits of biotin for hair are one reason you see biotin in many hair supplements.
Biotin plays an essential role in skin health for many of the same reasons it’s critical for healthy hair. Biotin supplementation may offer a supportive treatment in those with seborrheic dermatitis, whose skin appears inflamed, itchy, red, and scaly. In addition, biotin may support the flaking and irritation of the skin, sometimes experienced with pharmaceutical acne treatment.
Fatty Acid Production for Skin Nourishment
A biotin deficiency may result in dry skin and rashes because biotin is involved in the producing fatty acids critical for maintaining healthy skin and skin barrier. Restoring biotin helps improve the natural fats and oils produced by the skin.
Nails are another keratin-based structure, and biotin can help improve nail strength.
Strengthen Weak or Brittle Nails
The connection between biotin and nails has been known for a long time. A 1993 study showed a 25% increase in nail thickness in people with brittle nails who used a biotin supplement for six months. More recent research suggests similar benefits.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a natural protein made by the body and found throughout the body. Production declines as we age, contributing to wrinkles, dryness, and other signs of aging.
You’ll find collagen in the diet by consuming tougher cuts of meat and bone broth. Collagen protein, also called collagen peptides, is another popular supplement for hair, skin, and nails.
Most Abundant Structural Protein in Human Body
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It creates the structure of the body and holds everything in place.
Creates Structure of Bones, Cartilage, Skin, Tendons, and Connective Tissue
Collagen is abundant throughout the body, especially in the bones, cartilage, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints. It’s also a critical protein for skin health, affecting hair and nail health.
Benefits of Collagen
The benefits of taking collagen protein as a supplement are profound. Collagen supports bone health, joint health, skin health, and so much more. Let’s look at some of the benefits of collagen for hair, skin, and nails.
As we discussed, the protein keratin makes the primary structure of hair. Collagen contains many of the same building blocks (amino acids) as keratin. Supplementing with collagen may help to improve keratin production.
In addition, because collagen is essential for the skin, it plays a role in scalp health, affecting hair follicles and hair health. Test tube and animal studies suggest that collagen peptides enhance hair growth and may help with hair loss prevention and treatment.
Replenishes Skin Health
Collagen levels naturally decline with age, and replenishing collagen in the skin through supplementation produces an anti-aging effect. Collagen supplementation has many benefits for the skin, including:
- Reducing the appearance of wrinkles
- Improving skin hydration
- Reducing water loss through the epidermis (outer layer of skin)
- Improving skin barrier
- Improving skin elasticity
Collagen and elastin are both critical skin proteins. Collagen provides the structure, while elastin allows the skin to stretch and return to its original position, like a rubber band. When it comes to anti-aging skincare, skin elasticity is key.
Produces Skin-Supporting Protein like Elastin
Luckily, when considering how to improve skin elasticity, collagen offers a straightforward option. Collagen supplements improve skin elasticity as well as skin structure.
In a 12-week study of people with sun-damaged skin (add link to sun damaged skin article), participants received a collagen peptide supplement or placebo. The collagen group showed clinically significant improvements in elasticity throughout the study. They also had better skin hydration and fewer wrinkles.
Collagen supplements also address how to strengthen nails, especially for those with thin or brittle nails. In one study, collagen supplementation increased the rate of nail growth by 12% over 24 weeks.
In addition, there was a 42% decrease in the frequency of broken nails. Most participants found collagen to help them improve the appearance of their nails, and results continued beyond the study period.
Primary Difference Between Biotin & Collagen
Biotin and collagen are different molecules. Biotin is an essential vitamin, and collagen is a natural structural protein. Both support the health of hair, skin, and nails.
Biotin Supports the Function of Hair, Skin, & Nails Through Metabolic Health
Biotin supports hair, skin, and nails by supporting the everyday metabolism in cells that produce keratin and nourish the skin.
Collagen Supports the Structure of Hair, Skin, & Nails
Collagen is a structural protein that directly or indirectly helps build the structure of hair, skin, and nails.
Biotin supports cellular function and collagen supports structure. The good news is that you can have the best of both worlds and use both supplements for healthier hair, skin, and nails. In fact, combining biotin and collagen allows you to address issues with two root-cause approaches from the inside out.
NassifMD® Collagen Gummies provide 96 mg of collagen peptides to support skin hydration, elasticity, hair growth, and nail thickness. NassifMD® Biotin Gummies provide 10,000 mg of biotin per serving to promote healthy skin, thick hair, and strong nails.
Why choose one or the other when you can have the benefits of both!
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Biotin Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Accessed 8/1/23.
- León-Del-Río A. (2019). Biotin in metabolism, gene expression, and human disease.Journal of inherited metabolic disease, 42(4), 647–654.
- Trüeb R. M. (2016). Serum Biotin Levels in Women Complaining of Hair Loss.International journal of trichology, 8(2), 73–77.
- Zhang, W., & Fan, Y. (2021). Structure of Keratin.Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2347, 41–53.
- Piraccini, B. M., Berardesca, E., Fabbrocini, G., Micali, G., & Tosti, A. (2019). Biotin: overview of the treatment of diseases of cutaneous appendages and of hyperseborrhea.Giornale italiano di dermatologia e venereologia : organo ufficiale, Societa italiana di dermatologia e sifilografia, 154(5), 557–566.
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- Yang, F. C., Zhang, Y., & Rheinstädter, M. C. (2014). The structure of people's hair.PeerJ, 2, e619.
- Hwang, S. B., Park, H. J., & Lee, B. H. (2022). Hair-Growth-Promoting Effects of the Fish Collagen Peptide in Human Dermal Papilla Cells and C57BL/6 Mice Modulating Wnt/β-Catenin and BMP Signaling Pathways.International journal of molecular sciences, 23(19), 11904.
- Kim, J., Lee, S. G., Lee, J., Choi, S., Suk, J., Lee, J. H., Yang, J. H., Yang, J. S., & Kim, J. (2022). Oral Supplementation of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Improves Biophysical Properties of Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study.Journal of medicinal food, 25(12), 1146–1154.
- Kim, D. U., Chung, H. C., Choi, J., Sakai, Y., & Lee, B. Y. (2018). Oral Intake of Low-Molecular-Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study.Nutrients, 10(7), 826.
- Hexsel, D., Zague, V., Schunck, M., Siega, C., Camozzato, F. O., & Oesser, S. (2017). Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails.Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 16(4), 520–526.