Peptides are small chains of amino acids that can be arranged in any number of ways. They can be straight, linear, cyclic or folded depending on the specific peptide.
They are the building blocks of proteins that help your skin maintain a healthy texture, strength and resilience.
You can get peptides naturally from foods such as milk, eggs, fish, soy, wheat, oats, flax and hemp seeds. They also can be made synthetically.
Whether natural or man-made, peptides are a popular ingredient in anti-aging skin care because they can stimulate collagen and elastin production, support a healthy skin barrier, improve cell turnover, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
The most commonly used peptide in skincare is palmitoyl pentapeptide-3, which has been shown to significantly stimulate collagen production in human fibroblasts. It’s also been proven to firm the skin when applied twice daily for a period of time (about six months).
Pros and cons
The biggest pros about peptides is that they are generally very well tolerated by most people. They’re not irritating to the skin like retinoids or vitamin C, and they work in tandem with other ingredients in your skincare routine.
What’s more, peptides can be easily added to your existing skin-care regimen, so you don’t need to overhaul your whole routine in order to incorporate them into it.
The best way to use peptides is in serum form that allows them to sit on the skin, rather than rinse off after you wash it. This ensures that the peptides are absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin and work more effectively.