Scientific jargon used on skin care product labeling and/or advertising can be just as intimidating as it is impressive. The word “peptide,” for instance, sounds like something you vaguely remember from an old biology text book, but what exactly is it? And how does it help you look younger?
To understand how peptides work in skin care products, you must first understand how the skin ages.
Skin is made of several layers, the outermost (epidermis) actually being dead skin cells. The layer just beneath (dermis) is composed of collagen and elastin, two substances that give skin its suppleness and elasticity.
Every day, you are exposed to a number of environmental threats: air pollution, harsh chemicals or other irritants (like parabens and dyes), ultraviolet radiation, free radicals, etc. These threats cause collagen and elastin to break down, chemically bond with other elements, which can then lead to them bonding with sugars (a process called glycosylation or glycation). The result: sagging skin, wrinkles and a dull complexion.
The body naturally produces 20 amino acids, which link together to form chains of varying lengths sequences. Chains over 50 amino acids long are called proteins. Chains under 50 amino acids long are called peptides.
Like proteins, peptides are chemical constituents of and/or messengers to cells. They “tell” cells (or molecular compounds inside or outside the cell) what to do or not do.
In the skin, some peptides (pentapeptides, in particular) “tell” collagen and elastin fibers not to link to sugar. By blocking the glycation process, collagen and elastin remain in their free form, which helps skin maintain its radiance, plumpness and elasticity.
But pentapeptides aren’t the only peptides helpful in your pursuit of younger, healthier looking skin. Other peptides perform various skin-enhancing functions. For instance:
Dipeptides improve lymphatic circulation, which reduces the appearance of dark circles under your eyes, and other peptides reduce enzymatic breakdown of proteins that results in stretch marks.
A lot of skin care products may claim to contain peptides, but not all peptide-containing products will yield the same results. There are two main factors in the effectiveness of peptide skin care product:
Peptides are building blocks of proteins—they are ready to be combined with other peptides or molecules to make bigger chains of amino acids. If peptides are not properly stabilized, they may end up bonding to other chemicals (inactive ingredients) in the lotion or serum, making them essentially useless to your skin.
Also, to work properly, peptides must penetrate into the dermis where collagen and elastin production and breakdown is happening. But if a cream, lotion or serum is too thick, it may not penetrate below the epidermis, giving the peptides nothing to work on.
Hale Cosmeceuticals’ peptide products are formulated for maximum effectiveness. Our products have been developed and tested by our own chemists—we don’t rely on anyone else’s research. And the formulas our peptides are in are designed to allow for deep skin penetration.
If you’d like to see if peptides can work for you, check out our pentapeptide line (available in trial sizes).