Hello! Today I want to tell you in detail about a very common ingredient in cosmetics that can be a great addition to your beauty routines if you are looking to reduce wrinkles and fine lines: peptides. Do you want to know what they are, what they can provide you and what products I recommend? Keep reading!
The points that I will cover in this article are the following:
- What are peptides?
- What types of peptides are there?
- How to start including peptides in your skincare routines.
1. WHAT ARE PEPTIDES?
To understand what peptides are, we must understand how wrinkles are formed in our skin, I will try to explain it in a simple way so that you can easily understand it.
Wrinkles and fine lines arise over the years as a consequence of the progressive degeneration of the collagen and elastin fibers (as their support is lost, our skin loses firmness). Collagen and elastin are essential proteins in keeping your skin firm, smooth and elastic. Collagen, which degrades over the years, is responsible for providing firmness to the skin, while elastin allows it to remain elastic.
But wasn’t I going to talk about peptides? And why am I talking about proteins like collagen and elastin? Because peptides, which are compounds made up of several short chains of amino acids, which, in turn, are the molecules that serve as the structural basis for proteins. When a molecule is made up of many chains of amino acids, it is no longer called a peptide, it is a protein.
The use of peptides is widely used in cosmetics, since they play a fundamental role in reducing wrinkles and fine lines. The use of most peptides encourages the production of collagen, while others help reduce some muscle contractions, similarly to botox treatments and others prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin proteins.
2. WHAT TYPES OF PEPTIDES ARE THERE?
Depending on the number of amino acid chains that make them up, we can distinguish between oligopeptides (which, in turn, can be dipeptides, tripeptides, pentapeptides, etc.) and polypeptides.
On the other hand, according to the function they perform, four classes of peptides are differentiated: signal peptides, carrier peptides, neurotransmitter-inhibitor peptides and enzyme-inhibitor peptides. I am going to focus on this last classification, since it will allow us to clearly know the different forms of peptides that we can find in our cosmetics and thus we will be able to see what each of them provides us.
Signal peptides are the most common in cosmetics. They stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. To do this, they send a signal to fibroblasts (the cells responsible for producing collagen and elastin) and they begin to synthesize these proteins. Since the production of both proteins decreases over the years, the peptides indirectly help to make this degradation more progressive, thus preventing the appearance of wrinkles and expression lines.
There are several types of signal peptides, here I include some that you may find in your cosmetics, although there are many more ones, since the progress of research allows more and more new molecules to be synthesized:
- Acetyl tetrapeptide-9 and -11: it has been observed that this type of peptides contribute to increase the production of collagen. You can also find these peptides under the names AcTP1 and AcTP2.
- Aquaporin: this peptide, which you can also find as AQP, is obtained from the Ajuga turkestanica extract, it reduces transepidermal water loss (TEWL, the loss of water that occurs in our skin without us being aware of it).
- Growth factors: currently, the main use these molecules receive is in relation to their role in wound healing, but it has been observed that they also contribute to slowing down skin aging. You can find these peptides under different names. TGF-α, TGF-β, hGH or IFN-α.
- HSP70: helps prevent damage from ultraviolet radiation and the degradation of already damaged proteins.
- Palmitoyl tripeptide-3/5: also known as Syn-Coll, it helps improve skin tone and firmness, promoting collagen production and reducing wrinkles, fine lines and stretch marks.
- Pal-KTTKS: this type of peptides, among which we find Matrixyl (present, for example, in this serum), promotes the production of collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans (such as hyaluronic acid), thus helping to reduce wrinkles and fine lines. You can find these peptides under different names: Matrixyl, Pal-KTTKS, Palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 or Palmitoyl Oligopeptide.
- Peptamide-6: when using it, improvements in the elasticity and firmness of the skin have been observed. It is also called FVAPFP.
- Keratin: keratin, which you may associate more with hair care products, improves hydration and elasticity of the skin, also helping to maintain its firmness. The names that this type of peptide receives are various: Keratin proteins, Keratin amino acids or Keramino 25, among others.
- Tripeptide-1: encourages the production of collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans, and improvements in skin tone and firmness have been observed as a result of its use.
- Tripeptide-10 Citrulline: this type of peptide influences the diameter and placement of the collagen fibers, thus helping to maintain the firmness of our skin. You can also find this ingredient in your cosmetics as Decorinyl.
Carrier peptides are molecules that stabilize and transport copper and manganese, essential in many processes, such as wound healing or the formation of new blood vessels.
You can find these types of peptides in your cosmetics with different names, such as Copper tripeptide complex, Copper tripeptide-1 or GHK-Cu.
By incorporating these molecules into your beauty routines, you will encourage a more frequent and regular production of collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans, having observed significant improvements in wrinkles and fine lines, promoting greater elasticity and firmness of the skin. In addition, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity has been observed, so its versatility accompanies its great effectiveness.
If you want to start incorporating these highly effective peptides into your beauty routines, you can do so through this serum.
These types of peptides were developed as a substitute for botox that would provide similar results without the side effects associated with its use. This way, what they do is reduce muscle activity, inhibiting the formation of a certain protein complex (called SNARE) in order to minimize the visibility of wrinkles, especially around the eyes.
Some of the names under which we can find these peptides in our cosmetics are Acetyl hexapeptide-3, Argireline, Acetyl hexapeptide-8, Pentapeptide-18, Leuphasyl, Pentapeptide-3, Vialox, Tripeptide-3 or Syn-Ake.
It is very likely that you have found this type of peptide in one of your cosmetics, such as The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10%.
This type of peptides act by inhibiting the formation of proteases, which are enzymes whose function is to break the bonds that make proteins up. In addition to being effective in minimizing the signs of aging, they also reduce damage from ultraviolet radiation and can be found in cosmetics for sensitive skin.
The most common names used to refer to these types of peptides are Soybean protein, Soybean amino acids, Glycine soja protein, Preregen, Rice peptides, Rice amino acids, Colhibin, Silk protein or Sericin.
As you can see, there are many types of peptides and names under which you can find them, but in general they all serve the same function: to reduce the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines, promoting the production of collagen or minimizing its degradation.
3. HOW TO START INCLUDING PEPTIDES IN YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINES.
You may feel overwhelmed by the immense amount of peptides that exist (and that I have only mentioned some of them). However, the most interesting conclusion we can draw from all this is that peptides can bring great benefits to your beauty routines if you are looking to minimize the depth and length of your wrinkles and fine lines.
You already know that the most effective skincare product you can use to prevent skin aging is sunscreen. Its daily use helps prevent damage caused by ultraviolet radiation and delays the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines (in addition to other much more serious conditions such as melanoma). However, it is natural that you consider giving your skin an aid through cosmetics that act locally on wrinkles, and peptides are a great choice.
One of the things I like most about peptides is that they provide a very effective result without the potential irritation associated with many forms of retinoids. This makes them an excellent solution for those with sensitive skin or for our summer skincare routines. However, the main drawback of peptides is that, in general, they should not be combined with exfoliating acids or with powerful formulations of vitamin C, since if you make these combinations the peptides will degrade and will not give you the result you are looking for.
Peptides can be used throughout the year and, unless the manufacturer expressly indicates otherwise, you can incorporate them into your morning and evening routines.
Of course, you already know that before incorporating peptides into your beauty routines, you must do a patch test to check if your skin tolerates the product correctly.
And now that you have a clearer idea about what peptides are, how they work and what types there are, you will surely ask yourself which product is the most suitable for your skin’s needs. So that you have no doubts, I will leave you a few product recommendations:
This is, hands down, my favorite peptide serum so far. Here you can see my full review, in which I talk in detail about my experience using it. This serum, which incorporates copper peptides, has a magnificent composition and is most effective in minimizing wrinkles and fine lines.
In this case, from Dr. Roebuck’s they have developed a serum that also contains copper peptides to improve wrinkles and expression lines. In addition, it also incorporates hyaluronic acid, which helps us improve skin hydration. The CAIS 2, which I have told you about before, gave me an amazing result that’s very difficult to match, this serum is not as effective, although it could be an alternative if you do not find it and you still want to try the copper peptides.
This is perhaps one of The Ordinary’s best-known serums. Its composition includes various types of peptides, all of them making up 25% of the final formula. In this way what we achieve is to reduce our wrinkles and fine lines in various ways at the same time.
Some time ago I shared with you my review of this serum from The Ordinary. This serum incorporates various forms of peptides in its composition, in addition to hyaluronic acid, thus helping us to reduce the visibility of wrinkles and expression lines and preventing their appearance by keeping our skin well hydrated.
Do you remember I told you about Argireline before? This type of peptide provides an excellent result in reducing expression lines, especially those that appear around the eyes, inhibiting muscle activity in the area. Since The Ordinary have developed a simple and very effective formula, so if you are concerned about crow’s feet do not hesitate to try it.
I hope this guide has helped you get to know peptides better and that you now know what your skin needs and which ones best fit those needs. Do you usually use peptides? What is your favorite peptide serum? Tell me in the comment section!
If you liked this article and want to continue learning to take better care of your skin, I recommend reading these other posts:
- How to create a skincare routine: basic guide.
- The 10 most common mistakes in your skincare routine.
Do you want to learn to take better care of your skin? You can see an index of all my informative posts here.