Peptides for Skin: What are Peptides & How They Help with Skincare
If you’ve done any research into anti-aging skincare, chances are you’ve come across the word "peptide".
While collagen is a long-standing staple of anti-aging regimens that we’re all quite familiar with, peptides are the lesser known newcomer on the scene. While the word “peptide” may bring you back to your high school biology class, it’s likely you’re wondering, "What exactly is it?"
Read on to learn all about peptides, what they are, and how peptides for skin can help you look younger.
Have a burning question? Click on the links below to jump straight to the answer.
- What Are Peptides?
- What Do Peptides Do for Skin?
- What Are Copper Peptides?
- What Changes Can I Expect from Peptides Skin Care?
Let's jump in!
What are Peptides?
In the most basic sense, peptides are the building blocks that make up protein. When amino acids link together, the chain they form is called an amino peptide. When peptides link together, they become the basis for all protein. The most vital protein within your skin is that magic buzzword: collagen.
Collagen lies beneath the epidermis (outer layer of your skin) in what’s known as the “dermis”, a layer made of nerves, blood vessels, fats, elastin (that’s what makes your skin stretchy), and—of course—collagen. Lots of collagen, in fact. Collagen peptides for skin make up about 80% of your dermis. It helps your skin look firm and smooth, cultivating that youthful, radiant glow we all strive for. When you’re young, you produce collagen at a very high rate.
However, as you age, that rate begins to slow. After age 20, your body produces an average of 1% less collagen peptides for skin each year, stopping production entirely around age 40. Not great news. What’s more: your existing collagen begins to break down, known as “fragmenting”. This occurs due to a number of reasons, some of which we can control—and unfortunately, some that we simply can’t.
The most prominent reason for collagen breakdown: aging. Every birthday that passes sees a higher level of fragmenting, and wishing your hardest when you blow out the candles unfortunately can’t stop this process.
However, there are behavioral and environmental reasons your collagen might break down—and these are things you can control. Exposure to UV radiation—whether that be a result of tanning beds or simply leaving the house without donning sunscreen—can break down collagen. Smoking can also lead to its deterioration (as if you needed another reason to quit that habit).
Bottom line: As your skin continues to stretch, new collagen isn’t available to maintain the firm, smooth look it once had. That’s where wrinkles come from.
The moral of the story: peptides = proteins like collagen = anti-aging defense. Without peptides, there’s no collagen, and without collagen, there’s no defense against aging.
What do Peptides Do for Skin?
If you’re like most of the population, signs of aging may have already set in. You may be seeing early signs of wrinkles around the eyes or dark spots and be wondering, is it too late?
The answer is no. It’s not too late—but the sooner begin an anti-aging skin care routine the better. The number one way to reduce the signs of aging—naturally, at least—is to encourage your skin’s production of collagen. That’s where peptides skin care comes into play. Turns out, applying natural peptides for skin topically may increase your body’s production of peptides for skin. While collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the skin, according to Dr. Jwala Karnik, "peptides are small enough to penetrate the skin, [and] when applied topically, they signal the skin to repair itself." In response to these signals, your skin may boost its production of collagen peptides.
However, peptides are only a small piece of the puzzle. You must incorporate healthy anti-aging habits into your skin care regimen and day to day lifestyle to help improve your chances of retaining that youthful glow.
It’s true that the best defense is a good offense, and skin care is no exception to the rule. While you can’t stop aging, there are ways to delay the effects of it. Proper anti-aging skin care routines begin at a young age, with the learning of healthy habits that can keep your skin looking its best.
- Always wear sun protection: Exposure to UV radiation can wreak havoc on your skin and cause the breakdown of collagen, so make sure you’re slathering on the SPF each and every day.
- Cleanse and moisturize regularly: To keep your skin in good health and looking its best, follow a cleansing regimen that includes regular application of moisturizer.
- Consider your diet: The things you put into your body have an effect on how your body functions and looks. With that in mind, it’s important to stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
- Be gentle on your skin: It’s also important to remember that your skin is sensitive, and deserves some TLC. Never pull on your skin, as this can cause further collagen deterioration, and avoid using harsh skin care products that do more harm than good.
What are Copper Peptides?
Perhaps one of the most powerful topical peptides commonly used in skin care is copper peptides. Copper is something that exists naturally within our bodies, and there’s a direct correlation between copper peptides and many degenerative diseases. Studies show that copper peptides not only promote collagen and elastic production, but also promote production of glycosaminoglycans, a very hard to pronounce word for the family of carbohydrates that maintain and support collagen and elastin. Basically, copper peptides help you not only generate collagen, but also maintain the collagen you generate.
Evidence shows that copper peptides may also encourage your skin to remove damaged collagen and elastin as well, as they engage the systems that are responsible for doing so.
What Change Can I Expect from Peptides Skin Care?
While many companies boast Botox-like benefits of peptides for skin, reality is, that just isn’t true. Peptides cannot totally eliminate under eye bags, fill out lips, or lift brows. There is some evidence that a small group of peptides, known as neuropeptides, may be able to block signals sent between your nerves and your facial muscles, as Botox does.
However, Dr. Benabio of The Derm Blog explains why this doesn’t mean that neuropeptides will give you the same effect as Botox. “It would be like pouring a small glass of water onto a mattress and expecting it to soak through the underside of your box spring—it’s very unlikely."
What you can expect from consistent use of peptides for skin is steady firming and smoothing of your skin as it becomes tauter and more elastic. The evidence that supports the relationship between peptides skin care and your body’s generation of natural peptides for skin is pretty overwhelming.
In some clinical trials of anti-aging serums, as much as 100% of patients reported improvements in the overall appearance of crow’s feet, radiance, and firmness, and 97% experienced overall improvements in fine lines, skin texture, and clarity.
If you’re interested in maintaining a healthy, smooth complexion, consider the ways peptides skin care can help.