Over recent years, peptides have become the superstars of skin care. They are productivity powerhouses for collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and many other, targeted ingredients used in some of the most high-performing products currently available.
But what exactly are they and how do they help in achieving healthy, youthful, resilient skin?
What are peptides?
Peptides are small chain amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins. These important cell-signalling stimuli are responsible for cellular communication, cell proliferation, and cell migration. Their primary function is to keep your skin looking firm, toned, resilient and healthy by alerting your body to produce collagen, elastin and other healthy compounds.
The peptides you see on the ingredients list of skin care products are synthesized to mimic the body’s natural stimulation responses. They are modeled on natural repair signalling sequences to repair and regenerate and maintain healthy skin.
Can peptides penetrate the skin? At first glance, the answer would be no. Peptides have a relatively large molecular structure. To overcome this handicap, peptides are coupled with a lipophilic, fatty acid to increase stability and dermal penetration.
Peptides trigger a signalling cascade that sets off the stimulators of hyaluronic acid, collagen, elastin and other essential components of connective tissue (proteoglycan, glycosaminoglycan, and fibronectin).
Peptides improve the skin's elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles are reduced, and the skin appears smoother and firmer. Peptides also have a calming, anti-inflammatory effect that makes them an excellent choice for treating conditions such as rosacea, redness, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation caused by acne breakouts or sun damage.Peptides have been developed to target specific skin conditions.
One of the first peptides to perform this role was Argireline, which was launched in 2001, after more than 10 years of research. Argireline was developed to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by activating the production of collagen and elastin.
Since then, many, many peptides have been developed to target specific skin care needs, such as hydration, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, anti-ageing, flaccid skin, enlarged pores, dark circles and puffiness around the eyes and so on.