What are peptides and should I be including them in my skincare routine?
Many ingredients promise big things for your complexion when it comes to skincare. From vitamin C and retinol to niacinamide and hyaluronic acid – it can be hard to navigate which ingredients your skin really needs. But if you’re looking to boost your regime with some hard-working products that revitalise your skin and make it stronger and more resilient to age-related changes, peptides are an excellent place to start.
What are peptides in skincare?
Peptides are the building blocks of proteins. They’re protein fragments made up of chains of amino acids strung together by peptide bonds. Collagen, elastin and keratin are the most common proteins that make up our skin – keeping it firm, bouncy and elastic.
Your body naturally produces both peptides and proteins – which are responsible for the skin’s natural resilience and strength – but, as with everything that seems to keep skin glowing and buoyant, this process is constantly under attack, be it internally (ageing and stress), or externally (the environment). And a sure sign of this is dull skin, fine lines or a crepey skin texture.
When applied to the skin, they help send a signal to produce new collagen and elastin, leading to the appearance of younger, more supple skin.
What are their benefits?
Primarily, peptides boost levels of collagen and elastin, but they’ve also been found to send signals to skin cells to repair themselves. Focused on improving the structure and operation of the skin whilst delivering impressive anti-ageing effects, peptides can be split into four functions.
There are signal peptides, which tell your skin to do something, e.g., produce more collagen; carrier peptides, which act as a means of transportation, shuttling repairing molecules around the body to sites of damage; neuro-transmitter-inhibiting peptides, which block the messages that travel between your nerves and muscles to tell them to tense up when you frown or raise your brows and so reduce wrinkles; and finally, enzyme-inhibiting peptides, which prevent the breakdown of collagen already in your skin. These are all key weapons in your arsenal against pollution, UV damage and internal skin stressors.
Peptides also inhibit glycation (preventing sugar molecules from attaching to proteins like collagen and causing them to go brittle), and it’s even thought that they could help with hair growth.
When used in skincare, peptides fall into three main categories: signal peptides, carrier peptides, and those that inhibit nerve signals. By acting as messengers, signal peptides can trigger collagen synthesis, which increases skin firmness. In addition, peptides have a wide variety of benefits for the skin, from strengthening the skin barrier and boosting hydrating to smoothing the complexion and reducing inflammation.
How to use them in your routine
Pair peptides with antioxidants like vitamin C to supercharge their collagen-boosting powers or add after applying retinol to rehydrate the skin. The delivery method – gel, cream, serum – doesn’t make a difference to its efficacy, that comes down to personal preference. As for age and skin type, peptides are targeted at age-related complexion concerns, and prevention is key, so they’re a worthy investment from your twenties onwards. And because they’re not irritating, they’re excellent for sensitive areas such as the hands, neck and decollate.
Where to find them
Looking to supercharge your skincare regime? Here are a couple of our favourite peptide products.
Commonly referred to as ‘Botox in a bottle’, Revox Line Relaxer visibly improves skin texture and increases radiance. This super-advanced and innovative facial serum will help transform your skin and reduce expression lines. Formulated with Hyaluronic Acid, Inulin and Arnica Montana Flower Extract, this hydrating serum visibly improves skin texture, increases radiance and improves the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
SkinCeuticals Tripeptide-R Neck Repair
The SkinCeuticals Tripeptide-R Neck Repair is designed to target early to advanced signs of neck ageing, including lines and wrinkles due to repetitive movements from looking down at mobile devices. Formulated with 0.2% pure, slow-release retinol, 2.5% tripeptide concentrate, and 5.0% glaucine complex, this corrective technology is clinically demonstrated to target multiple signs of visible neck ageing.
This peptide-rich formula is a cutting-edge approach to collagen-stimulating skincare. The lightweight texture firms the feel of the skin for a more lifted and contoured appearance whilst providing a breathable layer of moisture through an exclusive blend of hydrating ingredients to give skin a radiant glow.
To find out more about skincare, or to establish a skincare regime tailored to you, click here.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.