Bougie skin care is a unique treat. Spreading a fancy peptide serum on your normal face, for example, could be the highlight of your day – even if you're not sure what these fancy ingredients do.
As one of these unusual ingredients, peptides tend to be in expensive products – even for high-end skin care standards. Why do companies charge such a premium for peptide serums and creams? Are they really so good ?
It is complicated. On the one hand, peptides are one of the few trendy ingredients that scientists and dermatologists agree that they can really do something to combat the signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. On the other hand, companies place high demands on their peptide-containing products, which may not completely match what we know about them.
What is a peptide anyway?
Peptides are molecules that consist of relatively short chains of amino acids. Although they can be used in a variety of ways in biochemical processes, they are most commonly referred to as "building blocks of proteins" because they are exactly what proteins are made of. If you think of a single protein molecule as a finished Lego Millennium Falcon, peptides are the individual blocks, while amino acids are the plastic.
In connection with skin care, "proteins" almost always refer to collagen, the protein that gives your skin its structure. As we get older, the collagen proteins in our skin break down and contribute to everything from wrinkles to lack of elasticity. Most peptide-containing products aim to either increase the amount of collagen that your cells produce or decrease the amount of collagen that is broken down, with the ultimate goal of smoother, plumper, and healthier skin.
Different peptides have different functions ̵
1; type of
All peptide products aim to achieve similar benefits. "Basically, we hope to keep our skin thick as we get older," said Mary L. Stevenson, M.D., assistant professor at the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU Langone Health, about SELF and SELF. "To do this, you need to remove cellular debris and breakdown products [from collagen breakdown] and stimulate the production of more collagen." Peptides can do both tasks, but individual peptides can do so in different ways.
The specific mode of operation of a product therefore depends on the individual peptides it contains. However, it can be confusing to find out which peptides a product contains. Some products with "peptide" in their name do not contain any specific peptides in the ingredients – like this extremely expensive Tata Harper cream, which contains "hydrolyzed avocado protein", but nothing else, even remotely adjacent to peptides. Other products containing peptides can simply be listed as "peptides" or "oligopeptides", often followed by a number. (Incidentally, the prefix "oligo" literally means "few" and usually refers to peptides with 20 amino acids or less – which covers pretty much every peptide used in cosmetics.)
You don't have to remember anything The names of everyone Peptides that you may see on an ingredient list, but when choosing a product, knowing roughly what types are available can be very helpful. Most literature searches on the function and effectiveness of cosmetic peptides recognize five different categories, depending on how they are supposed to work.
By far the most commonly used cosmetic peptides, products These ingredients are said to contain the amount of collagen in your skin. "Signal peptides have different types of [doing this]," Noelani Gonzalez, M.D., director of cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai West, told SELF. "Pro-collagen segments can actually stimulate collagen production, but they can also signal the skin [cells] that enough collagen has been broken down," which prevents your body from further breaking down.
Whether they actually help produce more collagen or just help the skin hold on to what you have. It is easy to see why signal peptides are currently everywhere in skin care. There are also many of them. Here are just a few you might see on a label:
- Carnosine and N-acetylcarnosine
- Most palmitoyl tripeptides and palmitoyl hexapeptides
- Most tetrapeptides, including tetrapeptide-21 and tetrapeptide-21 and tetrapeptide-21 and tetrapeptide-21 ] Most hexapeptides, including hexapeptide-11 and hexapeptide-14
These are probably the second most popular skin care peptides. "Carrier peptides combine with another ingredient to make it easier to dispense [to skin cells]," explains Dr. Gonzalez. "The most common ingredient is copper, which helps wound healing." Most products simply list copper peptides on the ingredients, but some products also use manganese carrier peptides in the form of manganese tripeptide-1.
Neurotransmitter inhibitor peptides
Neurotransmitter inhibitors, which are less common than signal and carrier peptides, can reduce the appearance of fine lines by blocking the release of acetylcholine – a potent neurotransmitter is involved in muscle contractions. Yes, these peptides are designed to literally relax your facial muscles. The main peptides in this class are:
- Pentapeptides, including Pentapeptide-3 and Pentapeptide-18
Enzyme Inhibitor Peptides
Like neurotransmitter inhibitors, enzyme activity inhibitors of chemicals involved in a particular aging process. In this case, they inhibit enzymes that mediate the breakdown of collagen and other skin proteins. In theory, this helps prevent collagen loss. The most common types are soybean peptides, silk fibroin peptides and rice peptides.
Structural or Keratin Peptides
Structural Peptides are unique in that they specifically target dehydration and dryness. They are usually made from keratin – a protein that gives hair and nails their structure, among other things – and seem to work by improving the skin's barrier function, retaining more water and giving the skin a more plump appearance. If you see them at all, they are likely to be listed as keratin peptides or perhaps as wool lipids, since sheep's wool is the most common source of keratin in this case.
There is research to (some) the claims about peptides in skin care products.
You are usually lucky to find a handful of tiny studies of a trendy skin care ingredient. This is not the case with peptides that have been studied in so many different medical contexts for so long that we actually know a lot about how they work – just not always the way you want them to.
Most of them The experimental data on peptides come from in vitro experiments, such as cell cultures that examine the expression of certain proteins, or studies that were carried out on artificial silicone skin. Often, these studies do not relate directly to cosmetics or skin care products, but are nevertheless used as evidence.
For example, it has been shown that copper peptides actually improve wound healing, which is partly the reason why people started to use them in cosmetics. Dr. However, González explains that these results may not be transferred to the benefits of skin care: "Wounded and healthy skin have different topographies, so we don't know whether [copper peptides] works the same on healthy skin," she says. Several studies finally found that cosmetics containing copper peptide promote smoother, healthier skin, but it is still not clear whether the same wound healing mechanism is responsible for these results.
There are some peer-reviewed studies that test the effectiveness of peptide products on actual human skin, and the results suggest that peptides do appear to work. However, these aren't the huge, double-blind clinical trials that we'd all like to see – and they're usually done by skin care and pharmaceutical companies. According to Dr. González does not automatically perceive this in itself: "Skin care companies sometimes do good studies," she says, but the studies are usually still not large enough to draw big conclusions. (The largest study that I came across was this 93-person experiment from 2005. Most had 15-40 participants.)
As with most skin care products, peptide serum information is not regulated by the FDA .
von a From a consumer perspective, the most important thing to understand about peptides is that they are "cosmeceuticals". This is not an FDA regulated classification. This is a marketing term that implies that a cosmetic product has “medical or drug-like properties”. (And these properties can be used to justify higher prices.) But cosmeceuticals are not drugs – at least not according to the FDA.
For context, this is the definition of a drug agency:
The FD & C. Act defines drugs as such products that heal, treat, alleviate, or prevent disease, or the structure or function of human beings Affect the body. When a product makes such claims, it is regulated as a drug.
In other words, as long as it doesn't claim to cure a disease or change the structure of your skin, peptides are not subject to the same FDA regulations as retinoids, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide. This also means that peptides have not been studied as extensively as drugs, SELF explained earlier, so we don't know as much about how they work.
When people hear "cosmetic regulations", they usually immediately imagine how, an eyeshadow palette full of illegal or irritating ingredients. With cosmeceuticals, however, contamination is usually not the problem. Instead, the problem is how they're labeled. When you buy a product that contains an actual medicine, the label must indicate the concentration and the specific form used in the product. Cosmetics – and therefore cosmeceuticals – don't do this, no matter how scientific the product or its claims sound. There is generally no way to determine the concentration of peptides in a moisturizer, and in some cases it may not even be obvious which ones are contained.
Dermatologists still love them.
Given the amount of favorable evidence, it is not surprising that both experts I spoke to were pretty pro-peptides. "After reviewing the literature and also anecdotally in my own practice, I think they promote thicker skin," says Dr. Stevenson, who uses a peptide product in her routine. However, she acknowledges that peptide products are expensive and may not be as valuable as other options that definitely work: “Anyone who spends a reasonable amount of money on [anti-aging skincare] should give priority to lasers and neurotoxins (also known as botox) – and a good relationship with a dermatologist. “
Okay, so peptide creams cannot keep up with the wrinkle-breaking power of botox and lasers. But what about retinoids, the other gold standard in collagen regeneration?
It gets blurry here. Although they seem to work in a similar way, we know much less about peptides than retinoids, and there are not many studies that compare them directly. (A small study found that copper peptides are comparable to tretinoin.) Due to their experience with patients, Dr. Stevenson and Dr. González agrees that peptides appear to be less irritating than retinoids, which could make them a good anti-aging choice for people with sensitive skin. However, if you're already using a retinoid and have anti-aging benefits, you don't necessarily have to try peptides.
However, if you want, you can use them at the same time. "It's not a problem to use peptides and retinoids at the same time," says Dr. Stevenson. "Just make sure you launch one product at a time: use one for two weeks and then the other."
Overall, peptides are a surprisingly evidence-based ingredient that can make a difference in your skin – it just shouldn't Be your only strategy to fight the signs of aging. "Retinoids, AHAs, and sunscreens should make up most of your skin care because they have been thoroughly tested and used for years. We know they work." Dr. González says, "But peptides are great little extras."
Here are some excellent peptide serums and creams to get you started.
If you are ready to use a peptide serum or cream, check out these products, all of which are recommended by the experts we spoke to have or meet their criteria for a peptide skincare product worth trying out, which means that the actual peptides are listed in the product and are pretty high on the list of ingredients.