Peptides have earnt a good reputation as a powerful active ingredient that boosts skin elasticity. You’ll find peptides inside serums, moisturisers, and all kinds of hydrating products.
Your skin has its own reserve of peptides, but as we age, they’re less effective at producing the collagen which gives skin a healthy glow, and plump, youthful feel.1 Scientific studies have proven that supplementing peptides helps boost collagen growth. As beauty innovators caught on, they began incorporating them in products.
In this article, we’ll give you the 101 on peptides, so you can decide if they’re worth adding to your beauty bag.
What are peptides?
Peptides help the skin produce collagen, the protein which gives skin the firmness associated with youthful skin.
How peptides work
Collagen is too large for the skin to absorb, whereas, in contrast, peptides are the perfect size for topical application. Once they’ve been absorbed, the body can then harness their protein-producing capabilities.
Benefits of peptides
Peptides do wonders for beauty by providing:
- Better skin protection. The skin’s barrier protects against environmental stressors and aids healthy, glowing skin. Unfortunately, the skin’s barrier is sensitive to damage from pollution, abrasion, and insufficient rest.2 Peptides can help make the skin’s barrier resistant to environmental harm.
- Reduced wrinkles. One scientific study found that topical application of peptides helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.3
- Improved skin elasticity. Topically applying and ingesting peptides can help improve skin elasticity, giving a fuller, richer appearance.4
- Combat breakouts. Bacteria is one of the chief causes in the development of acne.5 As peptides are antimicrobial, they can help combat breakouts before they begin, by fighting the bacteria responsible for acne.6
How to choose a peptide product
Peptides are quite a fashionable skincare ingredient at the moment. Some beauty brands may put them in products where they’re ineffective just to have an extra selling point on the label.
Here’s what to look out for when purchasing a peptide product:
- Choose a hydrator. Peptides work best when included in serums, moisturisers, or K-Beauty’s ampoules. These remain on the skin longer than products you wash off, like cleansers, and so give the skin more time to absorb them.
- Pick complementary ingredients. Peptides work very well when combined with other powerful active ingredients, like vitamin C and niacinamide. They also complement highly moisturising hyaluronic acid.
- Check the ingredients list. Products with a fair amount of peptides will include peptides in the first position, or very close to first, on their ingredient list. Sometimes, peptides are called ‘palmitoyl’.
When to avoid peptides
Do not use peptides while using acid exfoliators like Beta Hydroxy Acid or Alpha Hydroxy Acid, as these acids stop them from working effectively.
Author: Janine Aquino, Regulatory Affairs
Janine started her career as a Technical intern at Superdrug Head Office while studying for her Cosmetic Science degree at the London College of Fashion, assisting Product Technologists in their roles by progressing NPD from initial concept through to post-market launch analysis and complaints. Her experience spanned all categories sold at Superdrug, including colour cosmetics, toiletries, accessories and electrical goods. After graduating her degree, Janine took up the Technical specialist role at Morrison’s Head Office leading the cosmetic and toiletries category from a Regulatory angle, including visiting manufacturers and attending and carrying out audits. Afterwards she moved onto become the lead Regulatory specialist for cosmetics at 151 Products.
Last updated: 21 December 2020