Many skin care products use peptides for anti-aging. But what are peptides? And do they actually make you look younger?
Peptides , also known as polypeptides, are chains of amino acids. Polypeptides naturally produced in the skin are basically the building blocks of all proteins in the skin. This includes collagen and elastin fibers – the two main proteins responsible for keeping skin smooth, supple and youthful. When natural peptide production declines with age, your skin does not have enough of these essential building blocks to produce collagen and other proteins. As a result, the skin of the face and body becomes looser and inelastic, leading to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
Some peptides have the ability to block specific enzyme reactions in the skin. This is extremely beneficial for people looking to lighten their skin tone and remove dark spots.
Certain peptides are also capable of blocking the reaction that produces melanin in the skin. Since melanin is the pigment that gives the skin a darker color, inhibiting it will help maintain a light and even skin tone.
Different types of peptides work in different ways.
- Carrier peptides – carry trace elements into the skin cells, which not only allows them to function more effectively, but also helps in the healing process of the skin
- Signal peptides – send signals to skin cells, encouraging them to produce more collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid and other important substances
- Enzyme inhibitor peptides – inhibit specific enzyme functions in the skin, such as enzymes that cause dark spots to appear
- Neurotransmitter peptides – inhibit the mechanisms of muscle contraction in the skin, which relaxes the face and thus smoothes all mimic wrinkles
For example, copper-containing peptides improve regeneration and healing, and increase skin firmness; some pentapeptides stimulate the growth of new collagen; hexapeptides help loosen wrinkles.
Each of us can use peptides to make the skin smoother and firmer. Contrary to many other collagen-enhancing ingredients (retinoids, even vitamin C can often be irritating), what’s more, peptides show no side effects. Rather than causing superficial changes, peptides work at a deeper level, the most significant effects will be visible after a few months because this is how long it takes for your body to make new collagen fibers.