Peptides in Cosmetics – In the last year, the peptide serum has become one of the most sought-after beauty products. Everyone has heard and read something about peptides and knows that they are an essential part of anti-aging care. But did you know that the peptides used in cosmetics are in abundance, and each of them has a radically different effect? They serve as many functions in cosmetics as there are various skin problems.
In short, one serum may contain anti-pigmentation peptides, another – peptides for a lifting effect, and a third – for hydration. Therefore, you must first know what result you want to achieve, and then guide the selection of the most suitable peptides for the purpose. In the article we describe what the different types are and what to expect from them.
WHAT ARE PEPTIDES?
Peptides in cosmetics have a 20-30 year history. They are formed from short or long amino acids linked together. When joined in a group of two-three-four to ten amino acids, they form a peptide of a certain type. Namely, the connection of two amino acids is called a dipeptide, three amino acids connected is called a tripeptide, four is a tetrapeptide, and so on. And when the peptides bond with each other, they turn into proteins – a basic building block of the skin known as keratin.
HOW DO PEPTIDES WORK?
Peptides play the role of “information agents” that carry information from one cell to another. What makes them so unique is that they signal cells to produce an element that has stopped or slowed down. For example, when collagen is broken down, natural peptides in the body signal cells in the skin to generate more collagen. And synthetic peptides developed for the cosmetics industry can mimic those naturally found in the skin. They signal to the skin that collagen is breaking down and new collagen production begins.
When peptides are missing in the skin, changes in its structure and appearance occur. Depending on their physiological effect, their roles can be:
- Stimulants – improve skin regeneration
- Neurotransmitters – increase the sensitivity threshold of the skin
- Stabilizers – increase the antioxidant activity of the skin
- Immunomodulators – increase the immune defense of the skin
- Regulators of melanogenesis – to correct pigment spots
- Peptides affecting microcirculation with an anti-edematous effect
PEPTIDES AND THEIR ROLE IN COSMETICS
Current research shows that all peptides have skin-restoring abilities if their formula is protected from breaking down after exposure to light and air, for example. Ironically, peptides can be hydrophilic, that is, unstable in water-based formulas. In addition, they can easily be broken down by the numerous enzymes in the skin and no longer have any benefits for it.
Knowledge of these inherent peptide weaknesses has led many companies to produce synthetic peptides in stabilized formulations. Only stable peptides can fully survive on the skin and smoothly reach their target, deep in the skin layers.
Here are the most common peptides in cosmetics and their names:
Carnosine – a dipeptide that is part of the body’s natural antioxidant system. It is responsible for neutralizing the molecule AGEs / Advanced Glycation End Products. These are responsible for the process of advanced glycation – an irreversible process that changes the structure of collagen and leads to its hardening.
Copper peptide /GHK-Cu, glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine is a copper peptide that accelerates the wound healing process. It has an anti-inflammatory effect by stimulating the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid. It also plays the role of a powerful antioxidant.
Crystalide – a peptide that works in two directions. It balances and normalizes the cell renewal process, smoothing the skin surface. Plus, it stimulates the synthesis of a protein called α-crystallin, which is extremely important for achieving the much-desired “porcelain skin”.
Matrixyl 3000 /palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 or Matrikyne is extensively studied for its ability to stimulate new production of type I and II collagen and fibronectin. It is important for skin density and elasticity. A peptide with a lifting effect, which is produced in the fibroblasts when the skin is damaged and strengthens its matrix. Matrikins are produced not only in case of damage, but also in the process of natural skin renewal.
Argireline /acetyl hexapeptide-8 is a synthetic polypeptide similar to botulinum toxin better known as Botox. But unlike Botox, it is safe to use and has no side effects. It prevents the transmission of a nerve impulse to the muscle and reduces the depth of wrinkles.
ADVICE FROM FACECARE SPECIALISTS
Don’t get carried away with the idea that there is a “best peptide” or combination of peptides. Dozens of remarkable peptides exist and more and more will be discovered and developed.