Peptides for Skin: What They Are & How To Use
Some might say that we're living in the golden age of skin care. Not only do we have access to a bevy of skin care products that address common concerns and skin types, but we also have a better understanding of which ingredients work best and how they might come together in an effective skin care routine tailored specifically to our needs.
Recently, more light has been shone on peptides, which are short chains of amino acids. Meant to be applied topically, peptides for skin are found in a variety of formulations, including silky serums, nourishing moisturizers, eye creams and luxurious anti-aging night creams.
Keep reading to learn more about how peptides work, the benefits of peptides for skin and different types of peptides found in skin care products. Adding this celebrated ingredient into your daily routine is as simple as finding the right product for you.
What Are Peptides?
Peptides are short chains of amino acids held together via peptide bonds. Amino acids are considered the building blocks of proteins, with some of the more famous skin-related proteins being collagen and elastin. Peptide chains aren't long enough to be considered a true protein, but that's not a bad thing! These fragmented portions of proteins are more easily absorbed by the skin.
Peptide products for skin typically contain one of the following types of peptides:
- Signal peptides: Signal peptides get their name because they signal your skin cells to produce collagen, elastin and other forms of proteins that can help your skin look more youthful.
- Carrier peptides: Carrier peptides help stabilize and deliver copper to certain enzymes in your body. This helps improve functions such as collagen and elastin growth. It also promotes wound healing.
- Enzyme-inhibitor peptides: This type of peptide minimizes enzyme activity, which in turn slows down the degradation of the skin's structure, including the breakdown of collagen and elastin. In turn, it keeps skin looking more youthful.
Benefits of Peptides for Skin
So, what do peptides do for your skin? There are a handful of notable benefits to consider, many of which might just make you want to add a few choice products to your shopping cart before you've reached the bottom of this article. Here are some of the best benefits of peptides for skin:
Reduces the Appearance of Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Some peptides are actually able to stimulate collagen production. This, in turn, can help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and overall skin texture.
Helps Create Firmer Feeling Skin
As mentioned above, signal and carrier peptides can trigger elastin and collagen production. Enzyme-inhibitor peptides can also slow down the breakdown of existing collagen and elastin. Both aspects help your skin look and feel firm.
Improves the Skin Barrier
Along with creating smoother-looking skin, peptides for skin can help repair and improve your skin barrier. When your skin barrier is strong, it retains moisture more effectively, is less susceptible to environmental stressors and looks smoother and more youthful.
When your skin barrier is strong, skin becomes less prone to dryness, itchiness, redness and inflammation. Research also shows that peptides for skin can help reduce existing inflammation.
Peptide Products for Skin
You can see why so many board-certified dermatologists and skin care gurus swear by using peptides for skin. If you're keen on adding this ingredient to your regimen, there are a handful of topical formulations to choose from. They include:
- Serums: Serums boast strong concentrations of ingredients and should be applied after your cleanser but before your moisturizer.
- Sheet Masks: Sheet masks are single-use products that you wear for ten to thirty minutes. They're a nice, nourishing treat that you can use throughout the week.
- Eye Creams: Eye creams are formulated specifically for the delicate, sensitive skin around your eyes. They're usually a bit thicker compared to regular moisturizers.
- Moisturizers: Moisturizers help hydrate skin and lock in moisture. They're the last step of your skin care regimen before applying sunscreen.
When choosing a peptide product for skin, prioritize formulations that have peptides listed at the top of the ingredient list. You'll often see them listed as a variation of a polypeptide, including dipeptides, tripeptides, hexapeptides, pentapeptides and octapeptides. You may also see them listed as the type of peptide, such as collagen peptides or copper peptides.
Pro Tip: When choosing peptides for skin, stick to products that are meant to be applied and not washed off. You want the ingredients to have time for absorption.
Using Peptides in Your Skin Care Routine
If you're keen on using peptides for skin, welcome to the club! The good news is that it's pretty easy to incorporate this powerful ingredient into your skin care routine since it works well with other ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and niacinamide.
This ingredient also plays nicely with stronger actives, such as retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). Peptide skin care products can be used both morning and evening, so feel free to make it part of your AM and PM skin care ritual.
Using peptides is a good move for all skin types since it helps strengthen your skin barrier and promotes a smoother, more youthful-looking complexion. Here's to a future of good skin days!
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