Peptides: What Are They & How Do They Help The Skin?

Peptides: What Are They & How Do They Help The Skin?

Working to strengthen other proteins in our skin, peptides are key for keeping our skin plump, hydrated and feeling smooth. Not heard of them before? Here’s everything you need to know – from how they work to why you need to boost your levels…

Dubbed As ‘Protein For The Skin,’ What Are Peptides?

“Peptides are short chains of amino acids. I describe them to my patients as the building blocks that make up important structural proteins, collagen and elastin, all of which keep the skin youthful and strong,” explains Dr Anita Sturnham, who specialises in dermatology. “These proteins are a bit like elastic bands when we are in our younger years and as we age they become less springy and more rigid, leading to the sagging of our skin.” 

Aside From Boosting Collagen, How Else Do They Benefit Your Skin?

As well as revving up our collagen levels, peptides are thought to improve skin colour, hydration and keratin levels, all while working compatibly with other anti-ageing ingredients. “There are lots of different peptide combinations out there and the science behind them is really fascinating,” Anita adds. “We have peptides that can smooth wrinkles, for example, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 has skin-restoring abilities and hydrates skin using its water-binding capabilities. There are studies that show it prevents wrinkles caused by repeated facial movements. They do so by intercepting muscle contraction signals, which is why peptides sometimes get the nickname ‘Botox in a jar’. Some peptides are utilised in skincare to repair barrier function, increasing skin firmness and hydration, too.” 

As For Their Efficacy, Have Any Studies Proven Their Benefits?

Yes! In fact, extensive scientific research has proven that peptides can support your skin on multiple levels, from firming to soothing and hydrating the skin. Proteins are also the fundamental building blocks of our skin, so without peptides, skin wouldn’t remain intact, resulting in duller, slacker skin over time.

Can All Skin Types Get Involved With Peptides?

The good news is everyone can benefit. The latest slew of peptide formulas are peppered with other skin-softening ingredients, counteracting the effects of any inflammation. Helpful for even the most sensitive of complexions, you can also find specific products that target your individual concerns (think dark spots, dryness and fine lines), and in these formulas, peptides will work hard to boost other ingredients, encouraging cells to turn over and return to their healthier state.

When Investing In Them, What Should You Look For?

It’s worth noting that peptides on their own aren’t able to fix all your needs in one go – it’s key to look out for other ingredients too. “Peptides work well when blended with resveratrol, for pigment stabilisation and hyaluronic acid, for hydration and barrier support, just like in my Decree Peptide Emollient Veil,” says Anita. “It’s also worth looking out for ‘Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1’ on the ingredients label. This is a different type of peptide that’s been well studied with multi-tasking, anti-ageing properties. As well as enhancing nutrient penetration into the skin, this superstar peptide also acts as a cell signaller and instructs your fibroblast (collagen maker) skin cells to renew collagen and stimulate glycosaminoglycan production.”
 We’ve picked a few of our favourite peptide picks below…

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