What Are Peptides? (Can They Really Help Your Skin)

Apparently peptides are the new black..

During my recent online hunt for new skincare products, the word “peptide” had etched itself into so many product titles and descriptions.

These are the names of real products I discovered on the market today, sold by the biggest skincare brands in the game..

"Multi Peptide Serum"

"Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% Serum"

"Peptide Power Cream"

"Peptide Firming Facial Cream"

"Peptides and Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment"

Peptides, as I clumsily recalled from grade school chemistry, is a bond of amino acids. Upon further examination online, there are over 100 different peptides in existence, formed from these bonds, which all serve unique purposes.

Curious to expand my understanding of beneficial ingredients for my skin, I set out to examine what peptides can do for my skin's health, how to use peptides effectively for the results I want, and if peptides would even work for me?

Let’s start with the benefits of peptides; why even care to look into them?

Peptides are known to improve your skin barrier, relax your muscles, ease inflammation, and enable the processes in your skin to keep it supple, plump, and firm. 

There are a multitude of other reported benefits, but I got the jist… they can be helpful.

Lucky for us, the distinction of peptides can be broken down into four groups, each affecting our skin differently, providing unique capabilities.

Carrier Peptides are known to grab active ingredients and reach deep into our skin to affect our cells. Their mission is inline with Ubereats drivers; their role is to deliver the goods, in this case to the deepest destination of your skin's layers.

Enzyme Inhibiting peptides are messengers with one demand, to inhibit the very enzymes that break down our collagen. This means that you retain the collagen you produce more effectively. Relistase is a popular example of a peptide that fits this category.

Neuro Transmitting peptides can signal muscles in our skin to act a certain way; ifor instance they can signal our muscles to relax. Agireline, also known as "Natural Botox," is a neuro transmitting peptide that's quite popular and does just that.

Enzyme inducing (or signal inducing) peptides are messengers for skin cells; for instance they can tell your collagen producing cells to produce more collagen.

What is Collagen?

You might be asking yourself like I sure did; what is collagen and why should I care about retaining and producing more of it?

Collagen is a protein serving as one of the primary building blocks for our bones, skin, hair, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Dermatologists claim that Collagen is what keeps our skin from sagging, giving us that plump, beaming youthfulness. In our Mid-20s, our bodies’ abilities to retain and produce collagen begin to weaken.

In summary, our bodies naturally create collagen, and peptides aid us in retaining this important building block as well as enhance our internal processes to produce more of it, which is especially helpful as we age.

So, how can we use peptides and access these benefits akin to that of the fountain of youth?

Best practices dictate applying peptides to the skin through moisturizers and serums. These are typically treatments that are kept on the skin for a prolonged time, as opposed to cleansers which are removed promptly after application.

At this point I was sold, but something was off. Here’s where the research came to an interesting discovery… there’s a catch.

Peptides technically shouldn’t work. 

In plain english, scientists claim that Peptides are too big to penetrate our skin, at least in the meaningful and impactful way that the claims of skincare companies make (Dalton 500 rule). 

Even more interesting, the studies on peptides are quite limited, with most research and findings being funded by the very companies that produce and sell peptides commercially.

It also doesn’t help that Peptides don’t show visible results immediately, so it’s quite difficult to experience its effectiveness consciously, even if it is actually working in the long term.

Luckily, peptides are generally considered safe, as these are rare ingredients and most likely not allergens, which is why many people take the initiative to try them and actually find beneficial results!

For this reason, I’ve ordered a Multi Peptide Serum for my hair and have been using it for a week now.

I can’t tell if my hair was always awesome or if the peptides may actually be working..

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