Derived from the Greek word for “digested”, peptides are fragments of proteins, which are made up of amino acids. There are hundreds of different kinds of peptides with different uses, all determined by the different formations of the amino acids. And, to bring it back full circle, when peptides are formed in certain ways, they make up certain proteins.
You skin is comprised mostly of both proteins and water. And, together, they make up the structure of your skin. In fact, the main proteins that make up your skin are collagen and elastin. Without these proteins, and the subsequent presence of amino acids, your skin has trouble remaining intact. And this is when wrinkles, sagginess, texture and color changes, as well as loosening skin begin to appear.
Research has shown that peptides are able to rejuvenate aging skin. Basically, the presence of certain peptides in your skin care products can revitalize the skin matrix, and support your skin’s collagen production. In turn, this added collagen helps your skin retain moisture better. So, you experience brighter, plumper, firmer, and more hydrated skin.
How Do Peptides Encourage Collagen Production?
Collagen is depleted through skin damage from sun exposure, pollution, low humidity, and even stress and your diet can affect this production process. Gradually the skin becomes thinner and more wrinkled. And it may even become duller and rough to touch. Collagen break down actually transforms these fragmented collagen particles into peptides. And these peptides are able to send a message to your skin that it’s time to start producing more collagen.
If the deterioration process has gone on for a while, there may not be as much collagen breakdown simply because there isn’t enough collagen. So the peptides in the skin care products trick your skin into thinking that collagen is breaking down. And this stimulates your skin to produce more collagen. In turn, this reduces the appearance of wrinkles, puffiness, cracked skin, and even dullness.
Common Peptides In Skin Care Products
Palmitoyl Oligopeptide – Most dermatologists agree that this peptide must be used for at least 4 to see any results. It works by keeping elastin-rich connective tissue flexible and intact. Basically, in addition to boosting collagen production, it also helps skin cells stay stable. Skin care experts believe that it works similarly to retinoid, without the side effects of redness, stinging, and itching. Plus, retinoid makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, and Palmitoyl Oligopeptide does not.
Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 – This peptide works to reduce inflammation of the skin. Often, inflammation in the main cause of hastened aging signs. Plus, chronic inflammation can cause some serious damage over time. In addition, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 contains antioxidants that work to prevent damage from free radicals. Although this is a synthetic peptide, don’t let that dissuade you from trying it.
Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 – Also known as Matrixyl, this is another manufactured peptide. Like the other peptides, it is effective against wrinkles. And this peptide, in particular, is similar to retinol, yet less irritating.
Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 – Another synthetically created peptide, this one is not as effective for anti-aging as the previous ones listed. It doesn’t work as well since it cannot penetrate the skin layers as effectively as the other peptides. However, if the skin care product also contains a type of emulsion, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 is able to penetrate deeper. Since this peptide does have water binding properties, it may be able to restore the skin structure. Basically, there needs to be more research on how to make it more effective.