Why does my skin need peptides?
Skincare peptides are the multitasking messengers of the skincare world that are vying for your attention—are they worth the hype? And what do they actually do? How skincare peptides help with better-aging. Let's find out.
by Sneha Mankani
IN THIS BLOG
It’s almost the end of 2021, and safe to say, skincare is finally getting the spotlight it deserves. What felt like alien concepts and terms a few years ago, are now part of the common spoken language of skincare enthusiasts across the world—retinol, niacinamide, vitamin C… you know the list is endless. While we pay a little more attention to the back of the bottle more than we used to, the whole gamut of skin-improving ingredients can be overwhelming, if not completely confusing at times. Especially when scientists, doctors and brands are constantly rolling out more skincare science and innovative formulations for us to keep up with. How then, do we decide what our skin really needs? It’s important to read up on your ingredients—what they do, how they do it, and how it will help your skin look and feel better. Skincare buzzwords are plenty, and today we talk about another one frequenting skincare labels with a promise to help you reach your skin goals: peptides. Let’s familiarise you with yet another hero ingredient - skincare peptides - that promise better skin days, and find out if they can keep their word for it.
If we had to pick one of the most selfless of skincare ingredients—peptides would be strong contenders for the title. For one, these little messengers communicate with your skin cells, sending them signals to produce collagen, and perform more than one function in improving your skin health. And two, they happily help other ingredients reach their destination smoothly. What does that mean? “Peptides are small amino acid sequences and proteins that naturally occur in the skin. They have an effect on stimulation of collagen production and inhibit pigment melanin formation too,” explains celebrity dermatologist and medical director of Skinfiniti Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, Dr Jaishree Sharad. Proteins, like collagen, in the skin give it elasticity and firmness. Peptides are relatively smaller chemical compounds that have the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin, “one cosmeceutical use of peptides is as a carrier for larger molecular weight molecules to enhance penetration into the deeper layers of the skin,” Dr Sharad adds.
“Collagen is made of three polypeptide chains, so adding peptides can stimulate your skin to make collagen,” says Dr Sharad. Collagen is what gives the skin the elasticity and firmness it needs, and its natural production reduces gradually as we age. But what makes peptides special? “They boost collagen and smoothen fine lines and wrinkles, increase skin firmness, but also have other roles such as wound healing, reducing inflammation and hyperpigmentations and improving skin barrier.”
While there are numerous versions of lab-peptides, in skincare, they can be broadly categorised into these types:
Signal peptides: These stimulate wound healing, boost collagen formation and improve the skin’s appearance. Essentially, they make your body go into repair-mode.
Neurotransmitter affecting peptides: These come as close to a ‘botox-like’ effect, as they block the release of chemicals that cause muscle contraction, thus relaxing the muscles around lines, helping in smoothing wrinkles.
Enzyme inhibitor peptides: These help to slow the skin’s breakdown of collagen that occurs due to various factors like age, environmental factors, lifestyle habits and more.
Carrier peptides: These are the little helpers who deliver trace elements like copper into the skin, thus helping in wound healing and enhanced collagen production.
“A pentapeptide composed of lysine, threonine, lysine, serine abbreviated as KTTKS is one of the most potent peptides found in cosmeceuticals.” reveals Dr Sharad.
Now that we’ve geeked out on the science of skincare peptides, let’s get to the next step: including them in your skincare routine. Dr Sharad recommends skincare peptide products to anyone above the age of 30 for excellent anti-ageing benefits— “and anyone with fine lines, wrinkles, dull or sagging skin can use it to prevent further damage,” she adds. Safe to use twice daily, go for serums and moisturisers that contain peptides — anything that can be left on the skin. And if you’re wondering what they work best with, layer it with products that are made with ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid.
When it comes to pairing skincare peptides with AHAs, it’s all about the pH balance. “Products with AHAs generally have low pH while peptides tend to work efficiently at relatively higher pH. Therefore, if you are using rinse-off products (cleanser, exfoliator) with AHAs, allow your skin some time to normalise its pH and then apply your leave-on products (serums, creams). AHAs result in increased cell turnover and following them up with skincare peptides accelerates cell regeneration, giving you younger and brighter looking skin,” adds Aman Mohunta, co-founder of Aminu Wellness.
Aminu Copper Peptide Serum, a reparative blend of undiluted copper peptides, botanicals, hyaluronic acid and more to restore your youthful radiance, build a stronger skin barrier and target signs of ageing. Pair it with your moisturiser for ultimate skin rejuvenation.
Sneha Mankhani is the former beauty editor of Vogue India with 10+ years of experience in the industry, I love to explore and write about the ever-evolving beauty and wellness landscape and help brands create interesting narratives to tell their story. I also like mornings, seasonal fruits, books steeped in history and nature, discovering local artists and creators, travelling solo, meditating and yoga.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this journal are those of the authors and are for information purposes only and not medical advice. Further, they do not reflect the opinions or views of Aminu Wellness Pvt Ltd or any of its directors. Any content provided by the author(s) are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone, or anything.