Peptides: What They Are and How They Can Help Your Skin
Peptides can be a lacklustre skin’s best friend. But what type of peptides exactly? Do you need a serum, crème, face mask? Do you take them as supplements? The skincare industry is so saturated with buzzwords and “miracle” ingredients, making lofty promises to take 10 years off your face overnight, that sometimes it's difficult to separate fact from fiction even for the most avid skincare junkies. So, let’s start from the basics and figure out what the buzz is all about and what peptides can really do for your skin:
What are peptides?
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that occur naturally in our body. When amino acids link together, the chain they form is called an amino peptide. When peptides link together, they form the basis for all proteins. Peptides also have the incredibly important job to regulate the activity of other molecules, provide antibiotic benefits and assist in hormonal balance.
There are four types of peptides:
These peptides are one of the most popular skincare ingredients because they inhibit acetylcholine – the chemical that activates muscle movements. So, neurotransmitter inhibitors are practically Botox in a tube – they relax the contractions of facial expression muscles and thereby can significantly reduce certain types of wrinkles such as crow’s feet and laugh lines.
Signal peptides can send skin cells strong regeneration signals, prompting them to synthesise more proteins such as collagen and elastin which keep the skin firm and supple.
Carrier peptides transport essential wound healing elements such as copper and manganese. In skincare, carrier peptides aid collagen synthesis and help minimise the appearance of fine lines and improve skin texture.
Enzyme inhibitor peptides
Enzyme inhibitor peptides hinder the activity of enzymes that degrade structural proteins like collagen, slowing down the loss of volume and elasticity in the skin. Enzyme inhibitors are often used in pigmentation treatments.
So, can peptides erase all signs of ageing from my skin?
While many products boast Botox-like results in a matter of weeks, reality is, that is not possible. No single ingredient can compensate for bad skin habits or completely stop the natural ageing process of our skin. So, like all other “miracle” ingredients, peptides are just one part of your skincare routine.
If you use them consistently, peptides can minimise the appearance of expression lines and help you maintain healthy levels of collagen and elastin in your skin for longer.