What are peptides?

You’ve probably heard of peptides – they’re an ingredient in many skincare products. But what are they, and what do they do?

The science behind their role in skin health is fascinating. It all comes back to one of the most important elements in healthy, youthful skin: collagen!

Collagen is a natural part of everyone’s skin structure. It plays an essential role – I like to think of it as the ‘scaffolding’ that gives skin bounce and resilience and tone! Collagen production naturally declines as we age. This, along with other effects such as photo-ageing, is one of the causes of wrinkles and fine lines.

What do peptides have to do with collagen?

Bear with me for a sentence or two while I explain the science behind peptides! Collagen is a protein, and when it breaks down, it forms short segments of amino acids. These short segments of amino acids are known as peptides.

When collagen breaks down like this, the peptides send messages to the skin to tell it to produce more collagen. This is a natural step in the collagen production process.

The idea behind adding peptides to skin care products is that they help to amplify this message to the skin, and encourage the production of more collagen.

An increase in production of collagen is good news for the skin. It helps to promote healing and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lines.

What is a pentapeptide?

There are literally hundred of different peptides: each one is a different combination of amino acids. You may have heard of products boasting pentapeptides, tripeptides and so on. A tripeptide is made up of three amino acids, a tetrapeptide has four, a pentapeptide five, and so on. But they’re basically all still peptides!

Different peptides have different effects. For example, some improve hydration, others smooth wrinkles, others encourage cellular repair. Many skincare products contain more than one type of peptide, working in synergy to tackle more than one issue at once.

Are peptides clinically proven?

The science is compelling. For example, in one study a hexapeptide was applied to the skin. Researchers found a significant decrease in number and average depth of wrinkles over just a four week period! So you can see why they are such an exciting area of anti-ageing skincare.

Peptides aren’t just used in anti-ageing products, either. They are also used to treat wounds, scars and muscle injuries – harnessing their healing properties. Lots of research is taking place in this area with many potential new treatments in the pipeline.

Peptides: another tool in the anti-ageing armoury!

Alongside other clinically proven products, such as antioxidants, sun protection factors and retinoids, peptides are a really useful tool to help improve the skin’s resilience and bounce.

If you’d like a chat about your skin’s health, contact us to find out how we can tailor a skincare plan to your own needs.