Many people are not exactly sure why they should use topical peptides as part of their regular anti-ageing skincare routine. In the simplest possible way, we’ll try to unpack what they are, and the important function they play within the skin.
What are Peptides
Peptides are chains of amino acids that are found naturally in every human cell in the body. They are biological messengers communicating between various cells and they have many functions within the body.
How Peptides Work
As cell messengers, one of their most important roles is their ability to signal for the production of more collagen and elastin. Without these fundamental building blocks, skin loses its firmness and undergoes textural changes that cause sagging and wrinkles, rather like an old, sagging mattress without any inner support. Peptides also promote the production of hyaluronic acid, and we all know how beneficial HA is for healthy, younger-looking skin.
Peptides also play a vital role in inhibiting enzymes that cause an overproduction of melanin thereby reducing the risks of pigmentation.
Why Peptides are Beneficial for the Skin
Most of us want the benefits of firmer, youthful skin. As we age our bodies lose the power of self-regeneration and this is primarily due to alterations in the dermal extracellular matrix, especially a decrease in collagen I found in the dermis. Topical, restorative skin ingredients like peptides play a supporting role in defending against a natural ageing process caused by both intrinsic changes and extrinsic damage.
Other restorative ingredients like Retinol or Vitamin C also play a vital role in stimulating structural proteins but some people are not able to use them due to irritating side effects or sensitivity and this is where peptides step in as they are more gentle and be used on sensitive skin. However, if you can tolerate Retinol and Vitamin C together with peptides you have a power cocktail of ingredients to address all signs of skin ageing!
Types of Peptides
There are many different types of peptides that target specific skin concerns and they all work in a slightly different way. Different types of peptides include Pentapeptides, hexapeptides, Palmitoyl oligopeptides, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, Matrikines and matrikine-like peptides such as Matrixyl 3000 and Copper peptides.
In our experience, we find that peptides work well with other peptides in complexes or in multi-ingredient formulations which include restorative ingredients that target anti-ageing or pigmentation concerns. We also find that they often work best in serums as they often contain a higher concentration of peptides that are able to penetrate deeper into the skin.
Always ensure that you use clinically tried and tested peptides. All reputable skincare companies have clinical trials to back-up their formulations and it’s important to use science-based brands that will give you the best return on the money when investing in your skin.
Specific Peptides for Pigmentation
Oligopeptide-34 (CG-TGP2) – Targeted peptide to reduce pigment. Reduces tyrosinase, TYRP-1, melanin production. Reduces melanasome transfer (pigment package to keratinocytes. Reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines. Can be found in NeoStrata Enlighten Illuminating Serum.
Decapeptide–12 helps to reduce hyperpigmentation by limiting the overproduction of melanin. Can be found in Lumixyl Revitaleyes Brightening Eye Cream.
Brightening pigment blocking peptides: Oligopeptide-34, Oligopeptide-51, Oligopeptide-53, and Pentapeptide-15 – four proprietary pigmentation inhibiting peptides. Can be found in Lamelle Correctives Brighter Concentrate.
Specific Peptides for Anti-Ageing
Matrixyl® 3000 is a combination of peptides, palmitoyl-tripeptide-7, and palmitoyl-oligopeptide. The Matrixyl® 3000 peptides imitate collagen breakdown which then promotes new collagen production – this innovative process is what helps the Matrixyl® 3000 peptides become part of a long term anti-ageing solution. Can be found in NeoStrata® Skin Active Firming Collagen Booster.
Acetyl hexapeptide-8 peptide softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as collagen production improves and the skin becomes firmer. Can be found in PCA Skin ExLinea® Peptide Smoothing Serum.
Dipeptide-2 helps improves the appearance of eye area puffiness. Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 which helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Can be found in PCA Skin EyeXcellence Cream.
Copper Tripeptides help to promote the formation of collagen and elastin fibres, which promotes skin tissue repair and regeneration. Acetyl Hexapeptide peptide promotes additional anti-ageing benefits. Can be found in Lamelle Dermaheal Ageing Reversal Neck Serum.
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 with a powerful mechanism of action that stimulates the synthesis of the key skin matrix components, improving skin health, reducing inflammation and preserving skin elasticity. Can be found in pHformula Point Age Reverse.
Peptides for Other Skin Concerns
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-8 targets inflammation and can be found in NeoStrata® Redness Neutralizing Serum.
It is important to understand that the skin is a living breathing organ and the cells which help the skin to function are very chatty indeed – they not only communicate amongst themselves and with other types of cells but they also communicate with external stimulants which help to keep them functioning optimally.