Here’s a pop quiz: What are peptides and how do they tie in with wrinkles? Sometimes buzz ingredients in skin care sound like mysterious by-products from a high school science experiment. Before you pull out your biology textbook, we have an easy guide on these naturally occurring ingredients. Here's your handy cheat sheet on peptides for skin, why they work and how they reduce the look of wrinkles.
Why Do I Get Wrinkles?
Have you ever wondered what is happening to the skin when you see wrinkles? The skin is made of three layers consisting of the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. In the dermis, you will find collagen which is the main structural protein in skin. When we age, we lose collagen, the protein that provides support and elasticity to our skin. Collagen is the “brick and mortar” of our skin, but as we age, we slowly produce less and less of it, causing the skin to thin out and become more delicate. Beyond the natural aging process, a loss of collagen can be caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking, sun damage or a poor diet.
So, where do peptides fit in? When collagen breaks down, it forms peptides that signal the skin to produce new collagen. By applying additional signalling peptides through skin care products, we actually trick the skin into making more collagen. As a crucial step in the collagen production process, peptides promote a more firm and supple look to the skin.
What Are Peptides?
As ThoughtCo explains: “A peptide is a molecule consisting of two or more amino acids linked together by peptide bonds.” Since proteins are also made up of amino acids, you might be wondering: Then, what is the difference between peptides and proteins? Peptides contain between two and 50 amino acids, while proteins contain more than 50. Proteins are essentially large peptides (called polypeptides) made up of multiple peptide units; they are much longer and more structurally complex than their smaller counterparts. So, while all proteins contain peptides, no peptides contain proteins. As collagen, elastin and keratin are all proteins crucial for healthy skin, peptides, which play a part in their creation, are also crucial for maintaining your skin’s health.
What Are The Benefits Of Peptides In Skin Care?
There are many varieties of peptides (think hundreds), but when it comes to skin care products there are a few key players to reach for. Eminence Organics Lead Skin Care Trainer Natalie Pergar says there are specifically two she considers to be the most effective — signalling peptides and neuropeptides. As we've already learned, signalling peptides trigger the body’s own natural processes to rebuild the longer chain proteins to form collagen for skin care benefits. Neuropeptides, on the other hand, work on the muscular level to block transmission of signals from the nerves to the facial muscles.
As Natalie describes: “One important difference between peptides and other beauty ingredients is that peptides work harmoniously with the body’s own natural processes. Other ingredients may work to benefit the skin but cannot trigger a response in the body — for example, Vitamin C will provide antioxidants, but the body is incapable of producing Vitamin C itself. ”
If you're looking to experience the benefits of peptides, our Marine Flower Peptide Collection uses plant-based peptides as well as marine flower technology. The peptides in this collection are naturally derived from sacha inchi and rice protein, designed to increase the look of firmness and elasticity in our skin.
With this crash course, we’re sure you’re primed to expand your collection of peptide skin care products. Do you already use them in your skin care routine? Or are there other skin-smoothing ingredients that you prefer? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.
This article was originally written by Karen Young Chester in 2015.