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Peptides: The Not-So-Secret Ingredient for Anti-Aging Skincare

There’s no shortage of trends when it comes to the beauty and skincare industry and each new ingredient comes with its own set of lofty promises. So it’s more important than ever to do your research before recommending that your clients add certain ingredients to their skincare routine. Fortunately, peptides are one ingredient that lives up to the hype.

What are Peptides?

Peptides are short chains of amino acids that combine to form proteins that the skin needs. They first entered the skincare scene in the 1980s and continue to grow in popularity for the wide range of benefits they provide.

Unlike many skincare treatments that stimulate the skin by creating a small wound, such as microneedling, peptides promote firmer skin and better elasticity without trauma to the skin or exfoliation.

Types of Peptides

Copper peptides were the first type of peptides to be introduced back in the 80s. They promote the production of collagen and better skin elasticity.

Palmitrol Pentapeptides are a type of signaling peptide that stimulates collagen synthesis. Considered a non-irritating alternative to retinol, you’ll often find them under the name Matrixyl.

Neurotransmitters are peptides that inhibit muscle contractions. By decreasing muscle movement, you also decrease the resulting wrinkles. Often found under the ingredient name SNAP, neurotransmitters help to soften the effects of our habitual muscle movements.

Carrier peptides deliver certain ingredients into the skin, such as copper and magnesium which help build collagen and elastin. Copper and magnesium can also aid in the healing process when your skin suffers a wound such as a cut.

Enzyme inhibitors suppress the actions of specific enzymes. Enzymes are protein molecules that speed up biological processes. So if you inhibit an enzyme, you also inhibit the process it is responsible for assisting. For example, collagenase is an enzyme that breaks down collagen so an enzyme inhibitor would help slow that process, leaving more collagen and therefore younger-looking skin.

Benefits of Peptides

You probably have plenty of clients looking to either slow or reverse the effects of aging. Peptides are a valuable addition to any skincare routine because they promote and protect youthful skin.

The benefits of using products with peptides include:

  • Improving the skin barrier that is responsible for protecting us from toxins, bacteria, UV rays, and other pollutants.

  • Reducing wrinkles through increased collagen production.

  • Increasing elastin to make the skin appear firmer and tighter.

  • Healing skin by reducing inflammation, repairing damage, and evening out the skin tone. 

What to Look For in a Peptide Product

When you recommend a peptide product to your clients, you’ll want to keep an eye out for products that list the peptide towards the top of the ingredient list, indicating that peptides are a primary ingredient in the product.

Peptides work best in serums and moisturizers because they have longer contact with the skin. A cleanser would be less beneficial because it is quickly rinsed off.

Peptides work well with products that include vitamin C or niacinamides but have been shown to be less effective when used with products containing alpha-hydroxy acids. Be sure to check the ingredients in other skincare products your client is using to avoid AHAs.

The Bottom Line

Whether stimulating the production of collagen or slowing its natural biological breakdown, peptides offer a wide range of benefits that help the skin appear younger and healthier. It’s important to select the right product to get the best results.

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