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Peptides: Understanding the Basics and How to Use Them

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If you have been keeping up on what’s been going on in the skincare world, you know everyone is raving about peptides. Peptides are quickly becoming the most recommended skincare ingredient to add into your routine. The possible anti-aging benefits and revitalization of the skin are what everyone is drawn into about peptides. So, what are peptides? What are their benefits? What should we know before including them to our skincare routines?

What are peptides? 

Peptides are strings of amino acids made by the body, that give the skin resilience. Peptides in skincare products are chemical compounds composed of short chains of amino acids that act as building blocks of proteins such as collagen, elastin, and keratin. Everyone knows that these proteins are the foundation of the skin, responsible for its strength and texture. What not many people know is that without peptides, skin becomes less firm, which can lead to elasticity loss, and appearance of wrinkles. Peptides are used to protect the skin barrier, defend against early signs of aging and environmental aggressors. What makes them even better is their ability to penetrate the upper layer of the skin and trigger specific functions such as collagen support.

There are three common types of peptides found in skincare products:

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  1. Signal Peptides – increase collagen production
  2. Carrier Peptides – deliver copper to the skin to increase firm skin
  3. Neurotransmitter Inhibiting Peptides – reduce wrinkles that have been caused by lack of muscle activity

What to expect

Overall, peptides provide a myriad benefits. This includes plumping the skin, increasing the skin’s firmness and elasticity, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. A clinical study evaluated the peptide complex as having high efficacy against skin aging. More precisely, glabellar frown lines went through most changes, while the crow’s feet suffered minor improvements. The conclusion has been reached after two weeks, once 22 women reported significant improvements in wrinkles appearance.

All peptides are not created equally. We have mentioned the different types of peptides, but let’s see what actually makes them different. 

Signal peptides, as stated by the Journal Of Cosmetic Dermatology, “act as messengers that trigger the synthesis of collagen by fibroblasts to increase collagen production.” Some types of signal peptides you will find on the ingredients list can be Lysine‐threonine or lysine‐serine.

Carrier peptides “can be used to stabilize and deliver copper, an important element for wound healing.” Some examples of carrier peptides in skincare can be lysyl oxidase, superoxide dismutase, or cytochrome c oxidase

Finally, we get to the neurotransmitter-inhibiting peptides. The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology states “the peptide must penetrate the skin and subcutaneous cellular tissue so that it can reach deeper muscles in the concentrations needed.” This will ultimately reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This can be listed in products like Pentapeptide‐3 and Argireline

How to use peptides

While you can find peptides in most products like creams, serums, and cleansers, it’s best to pick the product that can send the peptides right into your skin. You’ve got it right: serums. When you find peptides in serum, they are more likely to benefit the skin as opposed to a cleanser. This is because, in cleansers, you wash off any active ingredients. Serums and moisturizers are a better option to allow the skin to soak up all the amazing benefits that peptides can offer. For boosted effect, pair your peptides with an antioxidant-rich serum like resveratrol or vitamin C. Don’t forget your SPF! It’s no use doing all this work for your skin without protecting it from UV rays.

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Related: 10 Best Peptide Serums

Peptide products

Need some guidance to choose the right peptide-enriched product? Here are some options to start incorporating peptides into your routine ASAP: 


the ordinary buffet peptide serum

The Ordinary Buffet Peptide Serum

The Ordinary is known for providing simple formulas that perform the best. This Buffet is formulated with various peptide complexes, as well as 11 amino acids and hyaluronic acid, working together to fight and prevent signs of aging. It’s the perfect ally to help you boost radiance and plump the skin.


Peter Thomas Roth Peptide Moisturizer

Peter Thomas Roth Peptide Moisturizer

Packed with over 20 peptides, squalane, and hyaluronic acid, this firm moisturizer works to boost natural collagen and deeply hydrate the skin. If your concerns are fine lines, wrinkles, or the loss of elasticity, this moisturizer is the perfect addition to your routine.


Paula's Choice Peptide Booster

Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster

Paula’s Choice is a brand that has always been a fan-favorite. This Peptide Booster is no different. From improving the skin’s firmness to speeding up surface cell renewal to fading discoloration, this product is the all-in-one that has your back. Eight peptides, amino acids complex, adenosine and licorice extract are just a few of the key ingredients.


SkinCeuticals Peptide Complex for Dark Circles

SkinCeuticals A.G.E Eye Complex for Dark Circles

SkinCeuticals has high performing products with a higher price tag attached. This dreamy eye cream does wonders at minimizing crow’s feet, dark circles, and puffiness. Formulated with synergistic peptides, blueberry extract, and proxylane, this cream brings life back on your eye area, making it elastic and firm. Plus, it’s infused with optical diffusers to propagate light and boost radiance under eyes.

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