Demystifying the Role of Peptides in Skincare and Hair care
If you are here, you must have heard the buzz word around the skincare industry about Peptides. That peptides have fantastic healing properties like anti-ageing, and they are the hero ingredient to smooth, repair and hydrate skin, but have you ever wondered what a peptide is and what it does for the skin, exactly?
The more important question to ask is, is it worth the hefty sum for products with peptide labels on them? It turns out, unlike many others, they do, according to many dermatologists.
Peptides have come a long way, and the new research about how they benefit skin is remarkable.
Let’s see how peptides work.
What are (Poly)Peptides?
Peptides are fragments of proteins. On their own, peptides are made up of amino acids. When amino acids combine in certain formations, they create specific peptides (and there are hundreds of peptides), and when peptides form in a certain way, they make particular proteins.
Peptides can best be understood as small chemical compounds composed of short-chain amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
Proteins are the fundamental building blocks of skin. Without peptides, skin doesn’t remain intact, and the result is the loss of firmness, appearance of wrinkles, texture changes, and skin that doesn’t bounce back as it once did.
Peptides tell your cells to produce more collagen: one of the primary building blocks of the skin. So, by applying them directly to your skin, you’re telling your body it needs to make more collagen.
Wonder why we use peptide? Complete, non-fragmented proteins (like collagen) are not able to be directly absorbed through the top layer of skin so that these smaller pieces can get deep into the cellular level.
Besides the skin, peptides have a myriad of uses in the body, from being the building blocks for enzymes, hormones and an energy source.
What do Peptides do?
When used in cosmetic skin products, peptides fall into three main categories: signal peptides, carrier peptides, and those that inhibit nerve signals. By acting as messengers, signal peptides can trigger collagen synthesis, which then increases skin firmness.
Make the skin more elastic:
Certain peptides could help your skin’s elasticity. Copper peptide is a common peptide used in skincare products for this reason. Copper peptide is often referred to as the most effective when it comes to improving the appearance of skin.
Studies have shown that copper peptide can help promote collagen and elastin production, which helps to firm the look of skin in less time than most other anti-ageing skincare products.
Also, another study showed that there was an improvement in skin appearance after eight weeks of taking supplements containing collagen peptides.
Makes the skin firmer:
Peptides can also help to firm the look of skin. Studies have shown that copper peptide promotes the production of glycosaminoglycans, such as hyaluronic acid. This production helps reduce the appearance of photo-damaged skin and fine lines and wrinkles by creating the appearance of smoother and firmer skin
By signalling your cells to produce collagen, peptides help your skin become firmer. Peptides that inhibit nerve signals have the potential to soften fine lines caused by muscle movement.
Aids in collagen production:
Every year, collagen production decreases, which causes wrinkles, dehydration, discolouration, loss of firmness, and a dull complexion.
When collagen breaks down, the peptides send a signal to our skin’s cells, informing them to make more collagen to replace what we lose naturally as we get older.
They have Anti-Inflammatory effects:
Antioxidants found in peptides help calm and soothe your skin, leading to less inflammation.
It also improves the extracellular matrix structure (a network of extracellular macromolecules, including glycoproteins, enzymes, and collagen that supports the cells).
No more wrinkles:
A study found that those using a formulation containing palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 over a 12-month period experienced a reduction in the appearance of facial wrinkles.
Other peptides have also been studied for their effect on the appearance of wrinkles.
Per the same study, it has been found that trifluoroacetyl-tripeptide-2 also has an effect on the appearance of wrinkles, and copper tripeptide diminishes the appearance of wrinkles.
Smooths out complexion and repairs damaged skin:
With upped collagen production comes clearer, more even skin, too. Carrier peptides work to heal your skin from the inside out.
Help reduce Erythema:
Erythema or redness of the skin may occur due to a variety of reasons, including infection, inflammation, or increased blood flow in your superficial capillaries.
A study found that both Carnosine (a dipeptide molecule) and N- acetyl carnosine (related to the dipeptide Carnosine) can help reduce Erythema when applied to the skin.
The researchers also found that these two peptides had antioxidant properties.
Copper Peptides for the Hair:
Copper peptides have shown to stimulate hair growth. It is considered that the copper in our bodies combats inflammation, but as we age, the copper from our body begins to deplete.
This is why we experience hair thinning, reduced hair growth, etc.
When using copper peptides to treat wounds, it was observed that hair follicles around the wound had grown largely. It appeared that the use of peptide has prevented the loss of hair follicles and even increased their length.
It has the following properties:
Angiogenic Properties: It means that peptides work to promote circulation at a capillary level, which is prominent for hair growth.
This is because each follicle acquires its oxygen and blood from a soliṭary capillary.
With growing age, the peripheral circulation within the capillaries tends to deteriorate, leading to hair loss on the scalp.
Copper peptides enhance the circulation of at the micro-level, allowing follicles to grow normally.
Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Copper peptides, as we learned above, boast anti-inflammatory properties.
The auto-immune reaction is one of the prominent triggers for hair loss, resulting in inflammation.
The use of GHK-Cu works towards reducing the inflammation and preventing hair loss.
The Final Verdict:
Peptides can be a great addition to your skincare routine because they can address so many skin concerns.
But as with all anti-ageing ingredients, the best approach is to use products such as moisturizers and serums that use a cocktail of great ingredients, including antioxidants and skin-restoring substances (plus daily broad-spectrum sunscreen) to visibly improve the health and appearance of your skin!