If you haven’t heard about the use of peptides in skin care products, we’re going to tell you what you’ve been missing. Peptides have come a long way and the new research about how they benefit skin is remarkable. Some of the information out there is overblown, but other aspects of peptides for skin deserve your attention.
Recently interest has increased about the functions of peptides in the skin and new research has uncovered how peptides can be used to slow or improve the visible signs of ageing. The cosmeceutical industry has focused on replicating these peptides and adding them to skincare formulations.
There are still many new peptides under investigation to asses their value as skincare ingredients, although the ability to add peptides to skincare to provide a measurable benefit is still a challenge.
Some problems faced are the sizes of the peptides which prohibit entry through the skin barrier, and their stability in skincare formulas.
What are peptides?
Peptides are short chains of amino acids which are the building blocks of proteins.
A chain of less than 100 amino acids is called a peptide while a longer chain is called a protein.
Peptides are a very broad category encompassing a whole variety of structural and functional components that occur naturally in the body.
The most important function is probably as biological messengers, we call these bioactive peptides. Well known examples include insulin, a polypetide regulating blood sugar levels, and oxytocin which regulates childbirth and breastfeeding. There are many more peptides that help with communication between cells or ‘cell signaling’ to regulate vital body functions like wound healing, collagen and elastin synthesis, blood vessel production, immune function and pigment production. As skin ages there’s a decline in the quantity of peptides.
How do peptides work in the skin?
Peptides are responsible for ‘signaling’ or communication in the skin.
There are different categories of peptides with different functions. Some of these functions overlap and skin creams with peptides usually contain a mixture of different peptides.
Signal peptides are also known as matricins or collagen stimulators and are important for wound healing. But some are also antioxidant, anti inflammatory and pigment regulating.
Signal peptides slow the ageing process by stimulating the proliferation of fibroblasts leading to increased production of collagen and elastin in the skin. They also inhibit the breakdown of collagen and elastin.
Clinical studies have shown that signal peptides improve the appearance of wrinkles and uneven texture, increase the skin’s elasticity and improve hyperpigmentation.
Neurotransmitter inhibitor peptides prevent the movement of facial muscles reducing the wrinkling on the skin. This is similar to the effect of botulinum toxin (Botox). This group of peptides is still under investigation.
Carrier Peptides in the skin transport trace elements like copper and manganese which are important for wound healing and collagen synthesis.
Copper Tripeptide is the most most well known and best studied carrier peptide which also functions as a signal peptide. Copper Tripeptide is a versatile ingredient in skincare as it has antioxidant and anti inflammatory benefits. It aids in regeneration of new skin and improvement in wrinkles and skin moisture.
Individual peptides don’t function well on their own so they are added to skincare creams together with other peptides and various other active ingredients for optimal benefit.
As with any kind of skincare product, not everything is created equally, and it’s important be informed and aware of the different types of peptides so that they’ll prove most useful for your end game: vibrant, radiant, and healthy skin.
To find your perfect peptide product take our online skincare assessment here