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How Peptides Work

The next generation of peptides

What are Peptides?

Peptides, a term for oligopeptides and polypeptides, are made up of short-chain amino acids that are used as ingredients in personal health care and pharmaceutical applications.  Peptides and peptide derivatives play an important role in many physiological processes, including cell signaling, hormone regulation, and immune response.  

In cosmeceuticals, peptides are bioactive ingredients that possess abilities to increase or activate the response of key components.   In cosmeceutical applications, peptides activate collagen production to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin hydration and firmness, stimulate hair and eyelash growth, provide antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits making them useful in treating acne and other skin disorders, pigmentation suppression of melanin for lightening and can help the wound healing process. 

How Peptides Work

Peptides work in skin by influencing cellular behavior and signaling. They act as messenger molecules, telling cells to perform specific functions, such as stimulating collagen production, reducing inflammation, or increasing hydration. Peptides can mimic naturally occurring peptides in the skin and fill gaps where levels have declined especially as we age, leading to visible improvements in skin texture, firmness, and hydration. Additionally, many peptides can act as antioxidants and protect the skin from environmental factors. When used in topical skincare products, peptides can help improve the overall appearance and health of the skin by promoting skin cell growth and regeneration and reducing the signs of aging. Peptides when combined with delivery technologies are a  multifunctional approach and can improve the look and feel of skin and hair in a multitude of ways. 

One of the first widely used peptides, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide, is a collagen fragment that was shown to increase Collagen I, IV and glycosaminoglycans. This collagen fragment tricked the skin into thinking it had broken down too much collagen and triggered an increase in collagen synthesis. Although this peptide demonstrated effectiveness in stimulating collagen production, it only addressed one aspect in repairing the building blocks of the skin. Since this peptide’s introduction, the peptide field has evolved to provide a fully comprehensive approach to skin care.   

With the evolution of technology, topically applied peptides are effective at addressing skin issues. Because of the peptide’s smaller size and their ability to form nanostructures in products, the skin can digest peptides to strengthen, nourish and realign the skin, allowing for a stronger, healthier foundation. 

How peptides work infographic