What are they?
Peptides are short chains of amino acids, and are the building blocks of proteins. The most commonly known proteins in the skin are collagen, elastin and keratin, which are responsible for its texture and tone. There are hundreds of different peptides, all of which are made from different combinations of amino acids.
What are they used for?
In skincare peptides are used to help reinforce those proteins naturally occurring in the skin, therefore rejuvenating and maintaining it. Different types of peptides have different effects, from smoothing wrinkles or repairing barrier function to increasing firmness and hydration. Several peptides can be combined in one product, and most are found in anti-ageing products for skin that has started to demonstrate a decrease in the production of those essential proteins. On skincare product labels look for words that end in “peptide” – many also begin with “palmitoyl”.
What are the pros and cons of using them?
Due to their function in helping to reinforce essential proteins in the skin, peptides are powerful anti-ageing ingredients to include in your regime. Because there are so many different peptides, having them combined in one product can allow you to target several different signs of ageing at once as well as reinforcing skin’s own protective functions. However if peptides are not stored correctly, they can be vulnerable to degradation from light and air – for example if they are stored in jars where the product is directly exposed each time it is opened. There are so many different types of peptide that it’s difficult to generalise, but some may cause irritation for certain skin types - so do your research before investing, as products including them can be expensive.
Which products can I find them in?
Peptides tend to be found in leave-on products, usually in the anti-ageing category. Get your fix via Sunday Riley Bionic Anti-Ageing Cream, Alpha-H Liquid Laser Concentrate or Elemis Pro-Collagen Super Serum Elixir.