What are peptides and what do they do for your skin?

Peptides are one of the most talked-about ingredients in the field of anti-ageing skincare. When applied to your skin, they demonstrate remarkable benefits, revitalising your skin and making it more resilient and stronger. But peptides do not possess magical properties, as some brands claim. The fact is that there is no single ingredient that will address all the signs of skin ageing – and peptides are no exception. Peptides are a great asset to your skin, but it’s best to be realistic in your expectations to avoid disappointment. Peptides have amazing benefits for skin but the results will never be the same as a cosmetic procedure.

What are peptides?

Peptides are short chains of amino acids that act as building blocks of proteins such as collagen, elastin and keratin. These proteins are the foundations of your skin and are responsible for its texture, strength and resilience. Without peptides, our skin is less intact which can lead to a loss of firmness, the appearance of wrinkles, a change in texture and less ‘bounce’.

When applied topically to the skin, peptides act as little messengers, triggering skin cells to perform specific functions such as building collagen and elastin, encouraging skin to look and act younger.

Extensive scientific research has proven that peptides can support your skin on multiple levels, for example firming, soothing and hydrating the skin.

Peptides are not enough

While it’s clear that peptides are special, as an isolated ingredient they are not enough. At Paula’s Choice, we take a multi-ingredient ‘cocktail approach’ to skincare. This means the skincare products you invest in should also contain other effective ingredients such as antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.

If your goal is smoother, softer, more hydrated, firmer and younger-looking skin, you will need to use other ingredients in addition to peptides. Our Peptide Booster is a blend of 8 unique peptides, supported by amino acids and skin-replenishing ingredients.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t be tempted by the claim that there is one special peptide or peptide mix, because this simply does not exist. There are many remarkable peptides, and more and more are being discovered (or made in a laboratory). If you combine these with antioxidants, moisturising and skin-repairing ingredients in a skincare product, you can expect fantastic results against multiple signs of skin ageing.

Copper peptide: fad or worth it?

Copper peptide is one of the most raved-about skincare ingredients. The hype began due to the fact that the building blocks of your skin are formed by copper. So logic would dictate that you need copper peptide in your skincare products to repair your skin. It’s true that copper peptide is a skin-restoring ingredient, but there are many other peptides with the same if not more impressive properties.

While the benefits of copper peptide are proven, in studies it is rarely compared with other peptides or other ingredients such as powerful antioxidants. With so many ingredients proven to benefit skin, it’s important not to focus on a single ingredient. Interestingly, there is also research which shows that copper is potentially toxic. However, the research focuses mainly on the application of pure copper to the skin, and not as a peptide.


Peptides are an essential ingredient in the fight against ageing and should be part of your everyday arsenal – because the need for cells to behave as healthy young cells requires daily attention. But remember that using skincare products with a cocktail of beneficial ingredients (as well as daily sun protection) is the best thing you can do for the health and appearance of your skin.

Used sources:

  • Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, April 2016, supplement, pages 63-71
  • Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, May 2016, edition 1, pages 175-178
  • ChemMedChem, August 2016, edition 16, pages 1850-1855
  • Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, April 2013, pages 1-8
  • Biological Trace Element Research, August 2013, edition 2, pages 268-274
  • Dermato Endocrinology, July 2012, edition 3, pages 308-319

Many skincare products use peptides to treat wrinkles. But what are peptides? And do they actually make you look younger?

Skin is made up mostly of collagen; it is the foundation that gives your skin its support and thickness. Young people have lots of collagen and taut, smooth skin. In contrast, older people have much less collagen and thin, wrinkled skin. Collagen is protein and is made up long chains of amino acids strung together, like chains of linked building blocks. When it is broken down, short segments of 3-5 amino acids form, called peptides. Peptides are not just junk collagen; these “mini proteins” are active molecules — and you pay a whole lot for them in your wrinkle cream.

Here are two ways that peptides claim to improve wrinkles and make you look younger:

1) Peptides Signal Your Skin to Make More Collagen

When we age collagen is destroyed but not replaced. As a result young, smooth becomes thin and wrinkled over time.

One strategy to improve wrinkles and to make you look younger is to replace the lost collagen. When collagen breaks down, it forms specific peptides. These peptides act as a signal to tell your skin it was damaged and to make new collagen.

Applying peptides directly to your skin is a way to trick your skin into thinking that it has lost collagen recently and needs to make more. The most popular signal peptide for cosmetic use is palmitoyl pentapeptide (Matrixyl). It can be found in many peptide skin products and might be effective in improving the appearance of fine lines.

2) Peptides Deliver Copper into Your Skin

Because peptides are small, they can penetrate the skin’s protective barriers to get to the deeper layers. When copper is attached to a peptide, the peptide can deliver copper to the living layers of the skin. There is research showing that copper is an effective agent in skin healing which is why it has been used for years to treat chronic wounds. Copper peptides seem to promote collagen production and act as antioxidants. They are needed for natural healing and regeneration of your skin and to help remove damaged collagen.

Peptides Might Not Do Anything

There are many things that have to go right in order for peptides to actually have a benefit. Because they are break-down products of proteins, they have to be stabilized or they might continue to break down further in a topical cream, becoming useless. Also, they have to be in a cream that allows them to penetrate the skin. If a great peptide is in a thick cream that only sits on the surface, then it will never penetrate and will eventually be washed off, without any benefit. That being said, signal peptides and copper peptides seem to have the most evidence for their efficacy and can be found in products that are affordable.

Better ways to counter the effects of anti-aging

Relyingon peptides in your skincare require patience and effort on your part. A proper skincare regime needs to be followed to see results and the results are not immediate. If cost is not an issue for you, injectables like dermal fillers and botox will be able to offer instant but better, more visible results that are long lasting. We highly encourage you to talk to Dr Darryl Chew to discover the best treatment for you. .

Hello, I’m Paula Begoun, founder of the skincare line Paula’s Choice, and today I start my role as the Marie Claire Skincare Master. In my columns I will be de-bunking skin myths, letting you in on skincare secrets and telling you exactly which ingredients the skincare industry is currently obsessed with and why.

We start with an ingredient that’s having somewhat of a moment: peptides.

Peptides are found naturally in skin. They are composed of a vast range of tiny fragments of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are a fundamental building block of skin. On their own, peptides are part of the body’s complex communication system that tells different aspects of skin to do a better job.

What do peptides do?

Peptides are an absolutely fascinating group of ingredients that ongoing research has proven can benefit several age related (mostly from sun damage) skin concerns. Whether you’re struggling with wrinkles, loss of firmness, discolouration, dehydration, dullness, and so on, there are specific peptides that can make a difference for each one. However, it really takes a range of peptides to help fight multiple skin problems, there isn’t one that does everything.

While peptides are a natural component of skin, in their natural form they are very fragile, unstable ingredients. To stabilise and create peptides that can actually be absorbed into skin, remain intact, and therefore be able to positively impact skin, they are lab-engineered. When science figured out how to do this, the possibilities and number of peptides available exploded.

Each “designer” peptide can be created to specifically activate a youthful element of skin, for example a peptide to make more collagen, or deactivate a problem in skin, like stop making so much abnormal melanin.

Why we love our NEW Peptide Booster it: Softens fine lines and wrinkles Strengthens skin’s natural barrier Improves skin tone and texture

A post shared by Paula’s Choice UK (@paulaschoiceuk) on May 6, 2018 at 2:45am PDT

Here are a few peptides names to look out for on ingredient lists on the backs of products:

Types of peptides

  • Tripeptide-1 helps with firmness
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 these smooth wrinkles and enhance hydration by strengthening the skin’s barrier
  • Myristoyl Hexapeptide-16 and Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17 help minimise redness
  • Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate improves how skin cells function
  • Azelaoyl Bis-Dipeptide-10 diminishes the appearance of forms of pigmentation, like brown spots

Anyone from teenagers to pensioners can benefit from applying products with peptides, just like they can from other healthy skin ingredients, like niacinamide, vitamin C, antioxidants and omega fatty acids etc. For younger people, it will help stave off the appearance of ageing and for those who are a little older, they can improve the skin look and feel.

Although peptides are an exciting advancement in skincare they have limitations. Any great anti-ageing skincare routine should contain a healthy mix of skin-replenishing ingredients, antioxidants, and other a healthy dose of other anti-ageing ingredients and the best ones do.

Here are a few products with peptides that I recommend

Amino acids in the regulation of aging and aging-related diseases

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, but also play important cellular signaling roles. The mechanisms through which altered levels of many amino acids are sensed and the signals transmitted are still largely unknown. Increasing evidence is showing that these signals may influence the aging process. In this regard, methionine restriction appears to be an evolutionary conserved mechanism to delay aging and supplementation with glycine can mimic methionine restriction to extend lifespan in rodents. Tryptophan restriction may also activate specific anti-aging pathways, but it could interfere with cognitive function. With exercise the consumption of dietary branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) may be beneficial in building muscle mass, but high levels of BCAAs as well as tyrosine and phenylalanine in the bloodstream are associated with metabolic disease such as insulin resistance. Individual supplementation or restriction of several different amino acids has shown promise in the treatment of insulin resistance in rodents. Much progress regarding the effects of amino acids on longevity has been made using yeast, nematodes, and fruit flies. Clearly, much more research is needed to understand the signaling pathways activated by amino acid imbalance before efficacious and well-tolerated dietary interventions can be developed for human aging and aging-related disorders. In this review the mechanisms through which altered dietary and cellular levels of the twenty proteogenic amino acids affect aging or aging-related disorders are discussed.

Amino Acids for Skin

Amino acids are the building blocks of both peptides and proteins, and each has a specific role in skin care. Amino acids maintain skin’s hydration, texture, resilience, and an overall supple, healthy appearance.

It’s not a stretch to say that amino acids are indispensable, for our skin and elsewhere in our body. That’s why we’ve chosen several amino acids to play a supporting role in many of our skin care products.

What Are Amino Acids?

There are many amino acids, but most scientists agree that there are 20 that are important to our health, divided into two types: essential and non-essential. The “non-essential” term doesn’t mean that those amino acids aren’t important; rather, it means that your body can make them on its own, so it’s not “essential” for you to get them elsewhere, such as from food or supplements.

“Essential” amino acids, on the other hand, are essential because they must be obtained from foods or supplements; a deficiency in even one of them can result in health problems.

There are nine essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. The best food sources of these amino acids include animal protein (seafood, beef, poultry), followed by animal by-products such as eggs and dairy. Vegan sources of essential amino acids include quinoa and soy/tofu. Beans and nuts also provide some amino acids, but not all of the essentials.

The 11 non-essential amino acids, which the body can make on its own, include alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine. Several of these are also known as “conditional” amino acids, meaning they’re made by the body, but only under certain conditions, such as when we’re under stress or ill.

Each amino acid plays a vital role in maintaining our health as well as the appearance of our skin. But, just how do amino acids work on and within skin?

How Amino Acids Benefit Skin

Amino acids are naturally present in skin, as part of what’s called our natural moisturizing factors (NMFs). Within skin’s uppermost layers, amino acids work as conductors, orchestrating an incredibly complex “concert” that allows our skin to thrive and to stay hydrated.

One of the ways they do this is by working in harmony with aquaporins (the body’s water transport system) to move moisture throughout skin. Because of this, the primary benefit is that the amino acids help maintain skin’s smoothness and hydration, something they also do when applied via skin care products.

There also are more surprising benefits of these small, but potent, skin care heroes: Some amino acids work as antioxidants; however, most of them are believed to play an even greater role by helping skin create more of its own antioxidants, such as glutathione. Topically applied amino acids help strengthen skin’s natural defense system, making it less likely to show signs of aging from environmental damage.

Interestingly, research has shown that synthetic amino acids often have greater hydrating ability than animal- or plant-derived amino acids. Because many amino acids are animal-derived, this is encouraging news if you prefer to avoid such ingredients, as we do.

The Best Amino Acids for Skin

Although all the amino acids mentioned above play a role in creating and maintaining smooth, healthy, younger-looking skin, a few also have more specialized roles, which make them even more desirable to see in skin care products:

  • Arginine plays a role in repairing visible skin damage.
  • Histidine has antioxidant ability and can soothe skin.
  • Methionine neutralizes damaging substances before they can harm skin.
  • Lysine helps visibly firm skin’s surface by reinforcing its supportive elements.
  • Proline, leucine, and glycine diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

How Amino Acids Work with Peptides

All amino acids included in skin care products work in combination with other ingredients that are also part of skin’s NMFs, including our favorites glycerin, ceramides, various peptides, and hyaluronic acid. The amino acids work particularly well with peptides—that’s why we include them in our Peptide Booster, a targeted product that significantly increases skin’s hydration as it reduces signs of aging.

Amino acids are truly versatile ingredients that complement other beneficial skin care ingredients, from antioxidants to plant extracts to omega fatty acids. Without question, topically applied amino acids improve all skin types, and can benefit all ages, especially if your goal is to prevent or diminish signs of aging.

Learn more about anti-aging & wrinkle solutions.

References for this information:
Current Medicinal Chemistry, January 2018, pages 324–335
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, February 2017, pages 72–82
Amino Acids, November 2015, pages 2,265-2,278; and June 2012, pages 2481–22489
Life Sciences, August 2015, pages 36–41
Biophysical Journal, April 2014, pages 1701–1709
Bioscience Reports, March 2014, ePublication
European Journal of Dermatology, April 2013, pages 195–201
Journal of Advanced Research, July 2010, pages 169–177
Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, June 2007, pages 75–82

Amino Acids and the Fight Against Aging

Different Ways to Reduce the Impacts of Aging

Over the years we have devoted a lot of time to finding the allusive ‘fountain of youth’. While the search continues, along the way we have found ways to try and preserve our looks and youthfulness. We have outlined a few measures that people take to try and reduce the signs of aging, some of which are more successful than others.


The cosmetic industry is one of the leading promoters of anti-aging. A whole industry has been created around the idea of making people look younger and to fight the visible signs of aging. This multi-billion dollar industry invests a lot of money into researching different chemicals, organic compounds, natural remedies and biochemical reactions in order to develop anti-aging skin-care products. The reality is that most scientists and dermatologists agree that these products are limited in their effectiveness and ultimately, don’t slow down the aging process.


Cosmetic surgery is a massive growth industry across the world. Women (and increasingly, men) are turning to cosmetic surgery to alter their appearance. Patients choose surgery for a range of reasons, including trying to reverse the visible signs of aging. There are a vast number of procedures available including forehead treatments, eyebrow lifts, chin and neck augmentation, lip fillers, amongst others. All these facial surgeries are specifically designed to make our face look more youthful. However, as with any surgery, there are risks. Also, surgery is an expensive option and the results require frequent ‘touch-ups’.


There are a range of hormones in our body that alter in concentration as we age. Some of these hormones are promoted as anti-aging treatments:

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – HGH injections are one of the most contentious anti-aging treatments involving hormones. Many people believe that they feel better and have more energy on HGH supplementation. However, HGH injections are expensive and there is little scientific evidence to support the anti-aging claims linked with HGH 5. The long term effects of HGH supplementation can include excessive hair growth, water retention, heart enlargement, liver and thyroid damage, low blood pressure, acromegaly and premature death.

Oestrogen – One of the most well-known and best studied hormones. Oestrogen has been widely prescribed as a replacement therapy to help women coping with the symptoms of menopause. However, the long-term effects of oestrogen supplementation are complex and can have both negative and positive implications for women’s health.

Testosterone – As men age their testosterone levels slowly decline. While testosterone therapy can help men who produce little or no testosterone, there has been little research into the benefits for older men who have healthy levels of this hormone.

Stem cell therapy

One of the most exciting developments in the search for a cure for aging and disease has come from stem cells. Stem cells are cells that can divide to become any type of cell within the body. One study using stem cells from healthy, young mice injected into aging mice significantly increased their longevity. The old mice were expected to die within a few days; instead they lived an average of 71 days longer 6. There is plenty of ongoing research investigating the application of stem cells to treat diseases and the effects of aging.


Of all the anti-aging measures currently available, the use of antioxidants is the most accessible, affordable and successful. By making simple changes to your diet, it’s possible to improve your body’s biochemical processes and physiology. This can help to slow down aging.

What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are molecules that stop the oxidation of other molecules within our body. The process of oxidation releases free radicals, which can trigger chain reactions leading to the death or damage of cells. Antioxidants can remove the free radical intermediates and terminate chain reactions. The most powerful antioxidants can be found within amino acids and are readily available in certain foods.


The most powerful and abundant natural antioxidant within your body is called glutathione. Glutathione is formed from the amino acid Cysteine and the carboxyl group of the glutamate side-chain.

It boosts the immune system, protects vision, stops the build-up of oxidised fats, and helps to convert carbohydrates into energy and most crucially reduces the damage done to important cell components caused by reactive oxygen molecules such as free radicals and peroxides7.

The Anti-Aging Benefits of Peptides In Your Skin-Care Products

Photo: JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images

In the world of anti-aging skin-care ingredients, there are some major players experts talk about all the time: retinol, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants. And while peptides aren’t necessarily always at the top of the list, they’re more commonly used (and more effective) than you may think. Ahead, top dermatologists answer all of your peptide questions.

“Peptides are chains of amino acids that are the building blocks of protein in the skin,” explains dermatologist Rhonda Klein, M.D., partner at Modern Dermatology of Connecticut. These short chains are able to penetrate the top layer of the skin, where they go to work delivering their anti-aging benefits, such as helping stimulate collagen production and fight fine lines and wrinkles.

How do peptides work in skin care?

Generally speaking, peptides act as signaling mechanisms that tell the body to produce more collagen, says Dhaval Bhanusali, M.D., a dermatologist based in New York City. (As a reminder, collagen is the protein responsible for strong, firm, youthful skin, so more collagen equals fewer wrinkles. See: Why It’s Never Too Early to Start Protecting the Collagen In Your Skin) Still, there are different types of peptides, all of which work slightly differently. Some peptides, called hexapeptides, have a relaxing effect on your facial muscles, helping to minimize movement and the formation of wrinkles in a way similar to Botox, says Dr. Klein. Find them in: No7 Laboratories Line Correcting Booster Serum ($42; other types, such as palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, stimulate skin growth and repair, fight inflammation, and protect against UV damage, she adds. Find them in: Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Turbo Face Serum ($150;

Who should use skin-care products with peptides?

You probably haven’t met anyone who doesn’t want smoother, firmer skin. So really, anyone can benefit from using them, even as a preventative measure. And here’s the biggest pro when it comes to peptides: Pretty much anyone and everyone can use them. Unlike many other collagen-boosting ingredients-retinoids, even vitamin C-which can often have irritating side effects, peptides are generally fairly well tolerated by everyone, notes Dr. Bhanusali. While you should always check with your ob-gyn, they’re typically okay to use during pregnancy, too. (Related: Safe Skin-Care Products for Pregnant Women)

Here’s how to choose the right peptide skin-care product.

This can get tricky because peptides are one ingredient where it can be tough to determine what you’re actually getting. “Given that you can call any short chain of amino acids a ‘peptide,’ many of the products out there tend to be more about marketing hype than actual efficacy,” says Dr. Bhanusali.

To ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck, he suggests choosing peptide products from science-based brands that conduct studies to back up their claims. And while you can find peptides in all kinds of topicals, the dermatologists we spoke with unanimously agree that it’s best to look for them in a serum. Not only will these contain a higher concentration of peptides, they’re also better able to penetrate the skin than thicker moisturizers.

It’s also helpful to seek out specific types of peptides, depending on your skin goals, says Dr. Klein. Pentapeptides induce and stimulate new collagen growth; hexapeptides may help relax wrinkles; palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 promote the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid and help protect against UV damage, as well as fight inflammation; copper peptides enhance regeneration and healing, as well as increase skin elasticity and firmness.

Here are some of the best skin-care products with peptides.

The dermatologists we spoke to especially love these three, for their use of peptides that have been proven effective:

So, should you start using peptide skin-care products?

At the end of the day, you have nothing to lose by incorporating peptides into your existing anti-aging regimen. While retinoids remain the wrinkle-fighting gold standard, if you can’t tolerate them, peptides are a great replacement. But, even if you’re already using a retinoid, a peptide-based product will be a nice complement to your current skin-care lineup.

  • By By Melanie Rud Chadwick

What to know about peptides for health

Share on PinterestPossible benefits of peptides include reducing inflammation, improving immune function, and preventing the formation of blood clots.

Research indicates that bioactive peptides may:

  • lower high blood pressure
  • kill microbes
  • reduce inflammation
  • prevent the formation of blood clots
  • improve immune function
  • act as antioxidants

People often use peptides to try to achieve the following effects:

Slow down the aging process

Collagen is a protein in the skin, hair, and nails. Collagen peptides are broken down collagen proteins that the body can absorb more easily. Taking collagen peptides may improve skin health and slow the aging process.

Some studies indicate that dietary food supplements that contain collagen peptides can treat skin wrinkles. Other research indicates that these supplements may also improve skin elasticity and hydration.

Peptides may stimulate the production of melanin, a skin pigment, which may improve the skin’s protection against sun damage.

Topical anti-aging cosmetics can also contain peptides, which manufacturers claim can reduce wrinkles, help skin firming, and increase blood flow.

Improve wound healing

As collagen is a vital component of healthy skin, collagen peptides may facilitate faster wound healing.

Bioactive peptides can also reduce inflammation and act as antioxidants, which can improve the body’s ability to heal.

Research is currently ongoing into antimicrobial peptides, which may also improve wound healing. Having very high or very low levels of some antimicrobial peptides may contribute to skin disorders, such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema.

Prevent age-related bone loss

Animal research links a moderate intake of collagen peptides with an increase in bone mass in growing rats who also did running exercise.

The study may point to collagen peptides being a useful way to counteract age-related bone loss. However, more research is necessary, especially on humans.

Build strength and muscle mass

Some research on older adults indicates that collagen peptide supplements can increase muscle mass and strength. In the study, participants combined supplement use with resistance training.

Creatine peptides may also improve strength and help to build muscle.

While fitness enthusiasts have been using creatine protein powders for many years, creatine peptides are increasing in popularity.

These particular peptides may be easier for the body to digest, which means they may cause fewer digestive problems than creatine proteins.

Which Type Of Peptides Work Best To Repair Skin?

The world of peptides is a minefield.

There are like 100 out there. They all promise you to get rid of your wrinkles, firm your skin and take 10 years off your face. How the heck are you supposed to make sense of all this nonsense and choose the right peptides for you?! The ones that really work and give you real results, you know?

Don’t worry. I’ve done the work for you. Here’s a quick guide to the most common types of peptides used in skincare and which ones you should use:

What The Heck Are Peptides?

Peptides are short strings of amino acids. FIY, amino acids are the building blocks of protein, like collagen and elastin (the stuff that keeps your skin firm and elastic).

Some peptides occur naturally in your body. Others are made synthetically in a lab to mimic the jobs of natural peptides.

Type Of Peptides

There are 4 different types of peptides used in skincare. Let’s get to know them better below:

1. Carrier Peptides

What are they: Copper peptides, X-50 Myocept

What they do: they deliver trace elements, like copper and magnesium, to the skin. These trace elements boost collagen synthesis, improve elasticity and help skin heal faster.

Best Picks:

  • Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream ($68.00): available at Cult Beauty,Sephora and SpaceNK
  • NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 (£38.00): available at Cult Beauty and Net-A-Porter
  • The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% (£28.90): available at Asos, Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Look Fantastic

Related: Are Copper Peptides Better Than Retinoids At Firming Skin?

2. Enzyme Inhibitor Peptides

What are they: Trifluoroacetyl tripeptide-2, Trylagen

What they do: they stop the processes that break down collagen so your skin doesn’t age as quickly. Most of them work by inhibiting matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), a group of enzymes that degrades collagen when they proliferate too much.

Best Pick:

  • Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Prime Essential Perfecting Serum ($98.00): available at Dermstore and Nordstrom

3. Neurotrasmitter Peptides

What are they: Argireline, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-28, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Syn-Ake, XEP-30

What they do: they inhibit muscle contraction. If your muscles can’t move as much, wrinkles can’t form. Those you already have relax so they don’t look as obvious. The catch? They only work on expression lines, not wrinkles caused by sun exposure, pollution, etc.

Best Picks:

  • Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster ($52.00): available at Dermstore, Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice
  • The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10% (£5.50): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique
  • The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% (£28.90): available at Asos, Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Look Fantastic

Related: Is Argireline An Effective Alternative To Botox?

4. Signal peptides

What are they: copper peptides, Matrixyl-3000, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-7, etc.

What they do: they signal to skin cells to do a particular job, i.e. stimulate the production of collagen, elastin or other proteins your skin needs to stay healthy and young.

Best Picks:

  • Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster ($52.00): available at Dermstore, Feel Unique, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice
  • The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% (£28.90): available at Asos, Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Look Fantastic
  • The Ordinary Matrixyl 10% + HA (£9.60): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Feel Unique and Sephora

Do Peptides Work?

This is where it starts to get tricky.

In theory, peptides are too big to penetrate your skin so they shouldn’t work.

In practice, studies show that some peptides do have an effect on the skin, help boost collagen and firm skin. Problem is, most of these studies are done by the companies who sell peptides so you have to take them with a pinch of salt.

Some of the most promising peptides (i.e. those that have more studies backing up their efficacy) are GHK-Cu, a copper peptide that can firm skin; Palmitoyl Pentapeptide, which boosts collagen and Argireline, which works sort of like Botox.

There’s another problem. Cosmetics can only improve the appearance of your skin, not interfere with processes that boost collagen or elastin. Anything that can do that is a drug.

Drugs need to be tested way more thoroughly than cosmetics – just to make sure they don’t have any nasty side effects in the long run. But that’s so expensive, companies don’t bother.

Instead, they exploit a loophole. You can put drugs in cosmetics as long as you claim they only improve the appearance of your skin. I’m not joking. Whether something is a drug or a cosmetics, depends on the claims a company makes about an ingredient, not what an ingredient really does. You can’t make this stuff up.

Related: What’s The Difference Between A Cosmetic And A Drug?

Which Type Of Peptides Is Best For You?

Some peptides have a small amount of independent research supporting their effectiveness. For others, you have to take the manufacturer’s word they do what they claim.

So, what’s a girl to do?

For the time being, I honestly wouldn’t bother much with peptides. If you’ve got all your bases covered, are already using your fair share of anti aging superstars really proven to work and money isn’t a concern, then go ahead and use them. But they’re by no means a must have.

If you want to go ahead and use peptides, stick to signalling peptides, including copper peptides. I’m partial to NIOD CAIS because I’ve used it in the past and got good results (you can check out my full review here) and The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% because you get several peptides at a steal.

I wouldn’t bother with enzyme inhibitors peptides simply because they tend to be way more expensive and neurotransmitters peptides. They may work a little but if they really were an alternative to Botox, no one would have a wrinkled forehead anymore.

The Bottom Line

Peptides shouldn’t work but they sort of do (some of them, at least). I recommend sticking to signal peptides for now to get the most out of your buck.

What types of peptides do you use? Share your faves in the comments below.

Take The Guesswork Out Of Skincare Shopping

Get access to the “Pro Skincare Library” for exclusive skincare routine “cheat sheets” and tricks to help you navigate the beauty aisles jungle like a pro and immediately know what to pick off the shelves to achieve the gorgeous skin of your dreams – even when you’re drowning in an endless sea of skincare products.

Peptides and Skin Care

Peptides for Skin: What are Peptides & How They Help with Skincare

If you’ve done any research into anti-aging skincare, chances are you’ve come across the word “peptide”.

While collagen is a long-standing staple of anti-aging regimens that we’re all quite familiar with, peptides are the lesser known newcomer on the scene. While the word “peptide” may bring you back to your high school biology class, it’s likely you’re wondering, “What exactly is it?”

Read on to learn all about peptides, what they are, and how peptides for skin can help you look younger.

Have a burning question? Click on the links below to jump straight to the answer.

  1. What Are Peptides?
  2. What Do Peptides Do for Skin?
  3. What Are Copper Peptides?
  4. What Changes Can I Expect from Peptides Skin Care?

Let’s jump in!

What are Peptides?

In the most basic sense, peptides are the building blocks that make up protein. When amino acids link together, the chain they form is called an amino peptide. When peptides link together, they become the basis for all protein. The most vital protein within your skin is that magic buzzword: collagen.

Collagen lies beneath the epidermis (outer layer of your skin) in what’s known as the “dermis”, a layer made of nerves, blood vessels, fats, elastin (that’s what makes your skin stretchy), and—of course—collagen. Lots of collagen, in fact. Collagen peptides for skin make up about 80% of your dermis. It helps your skin look firm and smooth, cultivating that youthful, radiant glow we all strive for. When you’re young, you produce collagen at a very high rate.

However, as you age, that rate begins to slow. After age 20, your body produces an average of 1% less collagen peptides for skin each year, stopping production entirely around age 40. Not great news. What’s more: your existing collagen begins to break down, known as “fragmenting”. This occurs due to a number of reasons, some of which we can control—and unfortunately, some that we simply can’t.

The most prominent reason for collagen breakdown: aging. Every birthday that passes sees a higher level of fragmenting, and wishing your hardest when you blow out the candles unfortunately can’t stop this process.

However, there are behavioral and environmental reasons your collagen might break down—and these are things you can control. Exposure to UV radiation—whether that be a result of tanning beds or simply leaving the house without donning sunscreen—can break down collagen. Smoking can also lead to its deterioration (as if you needed another reason to quit that habit).

Bottom line: As your skin continues to stretch, new collagen isn’t available to maintain the firm, smooth look it once had. That’s where wrinkles come from.

The moral of the story: peptides = proteins like collagen = anti-aging defense. Without peptides, there’s no collagen, and without collagen, there’s no defense against aging.

What do Peptides Do for Skin?

If you’re like most of the population, signs of aging may have already set in. You may be seeing early signs of wrinkles around the eyes or dark spots and be wondering, is it too late?

The answer is no. It’s not too late—but the sooner begin an anti-aging skin care routine the better. The number one way to reduce the signs of aging—naturally, at least—is to encourage your skin’s production of collagen. That’s where peptides skin care comes into play. Turns out, applying natural peptides for skin topically may increase your body’s production of peptides for skin. While collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the skin, according to Dr. Jwala Karnik, “peptides are small enough to penetrate the skin, when applied topically, they signal the skin to repair itself.” In response to these signals, your skin may boost its production of collagen peptides.

However, peptides are only a small piece of the puzzle. You must incorporate healthy anti-aging habits into your skin care regimen and day to day lifestyle to help improve your chances of retaining that youthful glow.

It’s true that the best defense is a good offense, and skin care is no exception to the rule. While you can’t stop aging, there are ways to delay the effects of it. Proper anti-aging skin care routines begin at a young age, with the learning of healthy habits that can keep your skin looking its best.

  • Always wear sun protection: Exposure to UV radiation can wreak havoc on your skin and cause the breakdown of collagen, so make sure you’re slathering on the SPF each and every day.
  • Cleanse and moisturize regularly: To keep your skin in good health and looking its best, follow a cleansing regimen that includes regular application of moisturizer.
  • Consider your diet: The things you put into your body have an effect on how your body functions and looks. With that in mind, it’s important to stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Be gentle on your skin: It’s also important to remember that your skin is sensitive, and deserves some TLC. Never pull on your skin, as this can cause further collagen deterioration, and avoid using harsh skin care products that do more harm than good.

What are Copper Peptides?

Perhaps one of the most powerful topical peptides commonly used in skin care is copper peptides. Copper is something that exists naturally within our bodies, and there’s a direct correlation between copper peptides and many degenerative diseases. Studies show that copper peptides not only promote collagen and elastic production, but also promote production of glycosaminoglycans, a very hard to pronounce word for the family of carbohydrates that maintain and support collagen and elastin. Basically, copper peptides help you not only generate collagen, but also maintain the collagen you generate.

Evidence shows that copper peptides may also encourage your skin to remove damaged collagen and elastin as well, as they engage the systems that are responsible for doing so.

What Change Can I Expect from Peptides Skin Care?

While many companies boast Botox-like benefits of peptides for skin, reality is, that just isn’t true. Peptides cannot totally eliminate under eye bags, fill out lips, or lift brows. There is some evidence that a small group of peptides, known as neuropeptides, may be able to block signals sent between your nerves and your facial muscles, as Botox does.

However, Dr. Benabio of The Derm Blog explains why this doesn’t mean that neuropeptides will give you the same effect as Botox. “It would be like pouring a small glass of water onto a mattress and expecting it to soak through the underside of your box spring—it’s very unlikely.”

What you can expect from consistent use of peptides for skin is steady firming and smoothing of your skin as it becomes tauter and more elastic. The evidence that supports the relationship between peptides skin care and your body’s generation of natural peptides for skin is pretty overwhelming.

In some clinical trials of anti-aging serums, as much as 100% of patients reported improvements in the overall appearance of crow’s feet, radiance, and firmness, and 97% experienced overall improvements in fine lines, skin texture, and clarity.

If you’re interested in maintaining a healthy, smooth complexion, consider the ways peptides skin care can help.

What do peptides do?

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