What Are Peptides?
To understand what peptides are, we must first understand amino acids, peptides, proteins and how they react with one another. A simple analogy: single ingredients like rice, egg and garlic come together to form bites of fried rice. When these bites of fried rice is combined, we have a bowl of yummy fried rice.
Amino acids are the ingredients and can be categorised into 1) essential amino acids that are not produced by the body and found in supplements and skin care, and 2) non-essential amino acids that are naturally occurring in the body.
When several amino acids are combined into a single string, they become peptides. Because they are technically made up of amino acids, they share many similar properties which include drawing in moisture, fighting off damage and keeping the skin structure strong.
Now, we combined these bites of fried rice into a bowl of fried rice - both peptides and proteins are made up of amino acids but several bites are needed to make up protein. Protein is essential for the skin's function and keeps it firm. There are 3 types of proteins that is commonly discussed in skin care:
- Collagen - the most abundant protein in our bodies, our skin produces it naturally but slows down by 1% every year from the age of 20. This is why our skin loses tonicity and its youth over time, and it is important to use products that encourage collagen production in the body, and taking supplements.
- Elastin - this protein maintains the structure of out skin cells and keep it looking youthful and elastic. As we age, however, we lose elastin. One key active ingredient to prevent that is retinol. A Vitamin A derivative, retinol encourages skin cell turnover for younger, brighter skin.
- Keratin - responsible for keeping our skin, hair and nails strong, this protein shares similar properties to collagen and elastin. You may be familiar with keratosis pilaris if you experience "chicken skin" on areas like your shoulder, back and arms. This is a skin condition cased by excess keratin that causes a buildup in the skin and blocks hair follicles, thus causing small bumps on the skin.
How Peptides Work
The collagen molecule is too large to absorb through the skin - but peptides can absorb into the skin where they can be used. This is why peptides in skin care products is important to diminish dryness, improve the skin's barrier, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sooth sensitive skin prone to inflammation.
Benefits of Peptides
- Improved Skin Barrier - this is the body’s line of defense against bacteria, ultraviolet rays, pollution, and other external aggressors. It can be damaged from over-exfoliation, exposure to cigarette smoke and other pollution, poor sleep and diet and more. Peptides help build a strong barrier.
- Reduced signs of ageing - collagen can plump up the skin and reduce signs of wrinkles and fine lines. Elastin fibers also keep the skin bouncy and youthful looking.
- Ease inflammation - often caused by dehydrated and thirsty skin, peptides can repair the skin's barrier and lock in moisture for hydrated, healthy skin. This in turn, soothes inflammation, redness and flaky skin.
Should Peptides Ever Be Avoided?
Apply the same rule with peptides that you would with any other skincare product or ingredient. If something irritates your skin or causes you to break out in acne or a rash—you shouldn’t use it.
Our Favourite Skin Care Products with Peptides
This serum intensively corrects momentary, lifestyle-induced signs of devitalization and dryness with the Nutri Booster complex, while enhancing the effects of the beauty care you apply afterwards. It contains Argan Stem Cell Extract and Royal Peptide to stimulate cellular regeneration for stronger, youthful looking skin.
The active ingredients in this silky-soft day-and-night cream for oily, combination and blemished skin, smooth the appearance of lines and wrinkles, while refining the pores and mattifying the complexion.
It contains peptides to boost collagen production to smoothen the skin caused by acne scars, as well as Vitamin A, C and E for an antioxidant effect to protect the skin from free-radical damage.
This energizing hydrating mask makes eye contours look less fatigued, while smoothing them. It contains a fresh eye peptide to reduce puffiness and dark circles for eyes that look more youthful and awake. An energy booster complex and jojoba oil hydrates the skin and stimulates skin activity to reduce signs of fine lines and fatigue.