Peptides, also known as polypeptides, are short-chain amino acids that have garnered attention due to their ability to stimulate collagen synthesis, an essential component of keeping the skin firm, plump and youthful.
How do peptides affect collagen synthesis?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is responsible for keeping the skin plump, firm and smooth; the hallmarks of a youthful complexion. As we get older, however, our bodies consume more collagen than we’re able to produce. This decline leads to visible signs of ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles, and a loss of elasticity and density. Peptides essentially send a signal to our cells to produce more collagen.
Why should I incorporate peptides in my regime?
Unfortunately collagen can’t just be applied directly onto the skin. Collagen has a large molecule size, so instead of being absorbed into the skin it just sits on the surface and is ineffective when used this way (you’d be much better off trying ingestible collagen and boosting your levels from within). Peptides, on the other hand, are made up of much smaller chemical compounds, so when applied topically they can successfully penetrate deep below the epidermis (skin’s outermost layer).
What are the other benefits of peptides?
Along with their collagen-producing benefits, peptides can also help to fortify the skin’s barrier, which performs an important protective role in defending us against environmental aggressors such as UV rays, pollution and bacteria. When we expose the skin to too many active ingredients or even lifestyle factors such as cigarette smoke, we can damage this barrier. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties mean peptides can assist in repairing a compromised barrier and bring the skin back to optimal health.
How can I incorporate peptides into my regime?
Peptides can be used both morning and evening. They mix well with most other active ingredients, but they should not be used in conjunction with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), as this form of chemical exfoliator can actually decrease their efficacy. Instead, look for a serum or moisturiser that contains complementary ingredients like antioxidants, ceramides and deeply hydrating hyaluronic acid to get the most out of their collagen promoting properties. Masks are also another great delivery mode for peptides, sheet masks can infuse the ingredient into your complexion with the gentle heat of your skin.