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What skin care ingredient should we dig into next? We’ve covered conventional ingredients like hyaluronic acid and gotten you up to date on the latest trends such as mushrooms and onion (who knew?), but now it’s time to consider what something else can do for your skin: peptides. Whether you’ve heard of them or not—all of your favorite influencers have probably already hopped aboard the collagen peptide train—there’s a solid chance you don’t know what peptides are or what they do, and we think you should. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about peptides when it comes to your skin, starting with an answer to the biggest question: What are peptides?
We’ll kick things off with a little science lesson. A study from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI) states that peptides are short amino acid chains that occur naturally in your body. Simply put, these peptides play a large role in the appearance of your skin, as well as other areas of your body. The peptides used in skin care products, as you can likely guess, are synthetic peptides. According to the MDPI study, many short, stable, and synthetic peptides have been developed and continue to be studied to understand their roles in extracellular matrix synthesis, pigmentation, innate immunity, and inflammation.
Still not quite sure why people are using peptides? Let’s breakdown some of the benefits of peptides that have been studied when it comes to skin care.
Certain peptides could help your skin’s elasticity. Copper peptide is a common peptide used in skin care products for this reason. According to the Cleveland Clinic, copper peptide is often referred to as the most effective when it comes to improving the appearance of skin. Studies have shown that copper peptide can help promote collagen and elastin production, per the Cleveland Clinic, which helps to firm the look of skin in less time than most other anti-aging skin care products. Additionally, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), one study showed that there was an improvement in participant's skin appearance after eight weeks of taking supplements containing collagen peptides.
Another anti-aging benefit, peptides have been found to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The MDPI study found that those using a formulation containing palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 over a 12-month period experienced a reduction in the appearance of facial wrinkles. Other peptides have also been studied for their effect on the appearance of wrinkles. Per the same study, it has been found that trifluoroacetyl-tripeptide-2 also has an effect on the appearance of wrinkles and copper tripeptide diminishes the appearance of wrinkles.
Scarring on the skin, including stretch marks, is another skin care concern that peptides could help with improving the appearance of. The Mayo Clinic notes that peptides are used as an ingredient in products to help address the look of stretch marks and other scars on the skin’s surface. However, further research is needed to completely understand the ways peptides work on different skin concerns.
Peptides can also help to firm the look of skin. The Cleveland Clinic states that studies have shown that copper peptide promotes production of glycosaminoglycans, such as hyaluronic acid. This production helps reduce the appearance of photo-damaged skin and fine lines and wrinkles by creating the appearance of smoother and firmer skin, according to the MDPI study.
To summarize, the AAD lists peptides as a recommended skin care ingredient for those looking to address sagging skin and the look of wrinkles. Speaking of which, next let's talk about How to Help Improve the Appearance of Sagging Skin with more than just peptides.