Peptides. I’m sure you have heard of them from beauty bloggers or skincare gurus. They seem to be making their way onto the mainstream market rapidly, and there are a lot of peptide products out there. So what are they, what do they do, and why do you need them? What advantages will these peptides give you over other products?

Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at the role of peptides in skincare, and we will try to find an answer to all of these questions. So without further ado, let’s get started.

What Are Peptides?

Peptides are a type of amino-acids, and are often referred to as the building blocks of proteins. Your body produces these on its own, and examples of these proteins include keratin, elasticin and collagen. Collagen is the one we’ll be looking at today.

I’ve talked about this protein before. Collagen is the reason your skin looks plump, supple and young, and as we age, our collagen levels also drop, which helps the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Did you know that after 30, we lose 1% of our collagen yearly? Here’s where those peptides come into play.

Basically, peptides are like an alarm system for your body. When our collagen production goes down because of age of other reasons, peptides, when absorbed by the skin, will alert your body it needs to produce more.

Peptides will also reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin repair. I’ve seen peptides been referred to as topical Botox, but to simply call it that might not be accurate. We’ll get deeper into that a bit later.

There are a couple of different types of peptides, all with their own uses for the body. Carrier peptides, as the name says, carry elements like copper and magnesium to the skin to boost collagen production and skin healing. Enzyme inhibitors prevent the breakdown of this precious collagen and thus slows down aging. Neurotransmitter peptides prevent muscle contraction and will work to prevent your expression lines from deepening. Lastly, signal peptides are the alarm systems I talked about earlier. They tell our bodies to up the production of certain proteins our skin needs.

What Do Dermatologists Say?

Okay, here’s the thing. While I was researching online about the opinion of dermatologists on peptides, I learned that there seem to be two camps in the peptide debate. One group of dermatologists claims there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of peptides, while a different group claims it’s a fantastic addition to any skincare routine.

Paula’s Choice tells us that while peptides are a skincare must-have, they should not be used on their own. They need the help of things like antioxidants, vitamin C and other skin healing products to reach their full effect. Paula also says that in no way are peptides a proper replacement of cosmetic treatments like Botox (there goes that theory!).

Their website recommends using a peptide cocktail, combined with daily sunscreen, vitamin C and other known anti-ageing ingredients to see a visible result from using peptides. They also tell you to keep your expectations realistic, otherwise you might be disappointed when these products don’t turn out to be a magical potion for your face.

You see, the problem with peptides is that any brand can add a chain of amino-acids to their products and claim the benefits. Oftentimes though, single peptides are either not strong enough or concentrated enough to live up to those promises.

Overall, dermatologists seem to agree that polypeptides or copper peptides are the way to go, since they have the highest chance of actually working. They also recommend if you really want to start adding peptides to you daily routine, you should go see your dermatologist first to get recommendations for products that will work for your skin.

As I have said time and time again, everyone is different and skin types are exactly the same. There is no magical potion that will work for everyone, and this applies to peptides too. There are lots of different types out there, and some might upset or irritate your skin. Again, go see your dermatologist first.

In terms of research, studies have shown that peptides can be useful, but only when used the right way in combination with the right products. Take into account though that there are other studies out there saying peptides do not do anything for your skin since they are too big to be properly absorbed.

Should I Use Peptides?

Here’s a simple answer to the question if you should be using peptides in your skincare: it’s up to you. Unless you use a

product that is really not tailored to your skin, peptides won’t hurt you, and have no adverse effects. It’s definitely worth giving it a try to seeing if you notice any results.

If you do decide to include peptides in your daily skincare routine, make sure to choose a moisturizer or a serum, since they tend to stay on your skin longer than a face wash or toner and they will have the best chance to work their magic. Peptides in any other product will simply wash off or disappear before it gets an opportunity to work.

Also, keep in mind that when choosing a product, your dermatologist will give you the best advice for your specific skin needs. Otherwise, if you are shopping online or in a drugstore, choose either polypeptides (or cocktails), or copper peptides. These options will help the most with combating the signs of ageing. Make sure your product also contains antioxidants and vitamin C, again, to boost effectiveness.

I recommend using either Paula’s Choice or The Ordinary, since both of these brands offer polypeptides, enriched with skin healing ingredients to fight those fine lines and wrinkles.

Bringing It All Together

Let’s recap what we’ve just discussed. Peptides are a type of amino-acids, the building blocks of proteins like collagen. They have been linked with an increased collagen production and because of this, they are advertised as being an effective anti-ageing solution.

However, scientific research suggests that peptides alone will not do the trick. You will have to use them in combination with other anti-ageing ingredients like antioxidants and vitamin C.

I will reiterate that experts are divided over the effectiveness of peptides in skincare, so don’t expect miracles.
It is definitely not a substitution for cosmetic treatments like Botox or fillers, so don’t expect that either. Using peptides will simply help slow down the breakdown on collagen and improving the production of it.

When choosing a product, opt for , as they have the highest chance of working and will combat multiple issues at once. Also, make sure to include skin healing ingredients and wear sunscreen daily.

I recommend The Ordinary or Paula’s Choice in terms of products, since both of these fulfill the criteria I enlisted above, and both are recommended by dermatologists.

Have I answered any questions you had on peptides? Will you be adding them to your daily skincare routine? Let me know in the comments!

Keep glowing!

Melanie