We are currently experiencing an onslaught of peptide based “anti-aging” creams and serums on the market.
What are peptides exactly and what can they do for the skin? Furthermore, why are they being touted as the new “superheros” in skin care?
Hopefully we can clarify a bit for you here:
Peptides are short chain polymers formed from the linking of amino acids. Their role in the body is connected to hormonal activity as part of the endocrine system, and they help out with everything from food intake and energy production to pain receptor function and response to stress.
Peptides have also been found to positively affect collagen and elastin formation and fibroblast stimulation. Some peptides are thought to work in a similar way to Vitamin A but without some of the sun-related sensitivities. Others work to relax muscle fibers – like a mini natural alternative to Botox. Still others help to minimize the damaging effects associated with inflammation.
Here is a breakdown of some of the most effective short chain peptides used in professional skin care:
Acetyl Hexapeptide 3
This non-toxic peptide was developed specifically to reduce wrinkles and the signs of premature aging by temporarily limiting the overproduction and release of certain neurotransmitters responsible for controlling the intensity of facial muscle contractions. Hexapeptide is attached to the fatty acid known as acetyl. This helps make it more easily absorbed into the skin and therefore makes it more effective and active for topical use.
“At a 10% concentration, Acetyl Hexapeptide 3 has been shown to reduce the depth of wrinkles up to 30% after 30 days of trial use.” – International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Oct 2002
Acetyl Glutamyl Heptapetide is the more powerful relative of acetyl hexapeptide. It focuses more on minimizing the depth of wrinkles while acetyl hexapeptide is more effective in reducing superficial muscle contractions that breakdown the collagen causing wrinkles.
Acetyl Pentapeptide 3
This peptide is a synthetic protein that has been clinically proven to regenerate the skin’s upper layers by stimulating collagen production, thickening the epidermis. The pentapeptide is combined with acetyl acid to make it more lipophillic, and more easily recognizable by the skin.
As we age, our skin not only gets thinner, but the epidermal / dermal junction becomes flatter – which leads to a decrease in communication and transport of nutrition to the skin through the blood. Big problem! The loss of collagen leads to thinning of the skin and flattening of the epidermal / dermal junction – which ultimately leads to wrinkling, pigmentation, redness and other physical symptoms of skin aging.
Studies show that this specific peptide was found to stimulate collagen synthesis by anywhere form 30-100%, as well as increasing the production of hyaluronic acid (a large component of collagen as well as a natural humectant for the skin) by more than 200%. For this reason, it is compared to topical Vitamin A, only without the sun sensitivity related to the vitamin.
Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide 3
This peptide has been clinically proven to suppress the body’s production of interleukins, the chemical messengers that trigger inflammation. Because we know that inflammation plays a huge role in aging of the skin and cellular damage (think free radical production and the breakdown of healthy collagen,) using a peptide that helps to prevent inflammation could also lead to the reduction of skin aging.