Peptide therapy could be the new age of anti-aging treatment.
RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About Collagen Peptides
In this article:
- What Are Peptides?
- What Is Peptide Therapy?
- How Does Peptide Therapy Work?
- What Are Peptides for Skincare?
- What Are the Side Effects of Peptide Therapy?
- Is Peptide Therapy Effective?
Peptide Therapy: What It Can Really Do for Your Skin
What Are Peptides?
Peptides are a short chain of amino acids that link together and form small proteins. They are always present in the human body and usually act as signal molecules by sticking onto receptors on cell surfaces and telling other molecules and cells what to do next.
When peptides attach to the receptor proteins on cells, they stimulate response to stimuli. This way, peptides help move along bodily functions such as insulin and metabolism, among others.
What Is Peptide Therapy?
Peptide therapy is defined as the use of peptides in treatments. It is growing popular due to its low number of negative side effects and is most comparable to hormone therapy, which has broader effects.
This peptide treatment is growing in number as it is getting approved by organizations. The varieties are widely available on the market as intradermal injections, oral tablets, nasal creams, as well as facial cleansers and transdermal creams.
Thanks to their efficiency as a topical treatment, the skincare industry has picked them up as another miracle anti-aging agent. Studies support their ability to manage premature signs of aging such as lower production rates of collagen and wrinkle formation.
How Does Peptide Therapy Work?
Collagen comprises most of the human skin. It is responsible for keeping our skin taut, soft, and elastic.
But as the years pass, collagen production starts slowing down.
Starting around the age of 30, collagen stores start producing 1% less of collagen. This is where peptide therapy jumps in: it signals your body into producing more collagen.
How it works is that the peptides send messages to the skin, that there’s been a collagen breakdown and that it needs to manufacture new collagen.
RELATED: What Is Collagen Synthesis And How Can It Be Increased?
What Are Peptides for Skincare?
Being the building blocks of protein, there are hundreds of types of peptides present in the human body and an unlimited combination of what they can help your body with.
Here are some of the peptides that are in use for skin care products:
1. Copper Peptides
These are small fragments of proteins that, in combination with copper, enhances wound healing and skin regeneration. They are a common anti-aging ingredient thanks to their ability to help boost skin firmness and elasticity.
Note: Only use any ingredient that has copper, a metal that can be toxic to humans, only when there are peptides present as they bind to the metal and make it safe for topical application.
Pentapeptides contain a fatty acid, lipopeptide, along with five other amino acids in its formation. They help in stimulating skin healing and boosting new collagen production.
One such pentapeptide popular in wrinkle creams is palmitoyl pentapeptide-3. Known commercially as Matrixyl, it is used for stimulating the lower layers of skin into releasing more collagen and hyaluronic acid.
3. Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7
This peptide contains a four-amino chain acid along with palmitic acid which lets peptides easily penetrate the skin. Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide 7 can be useful for combating inflammation, which is primarily responsible for the loss of elasticity and wrinkle development in the skin.
4. Palmitoyl Oligopeptide
This also promotes collagen and hyaluronic acid production in the deepest skin layers. But it also has an additional benefit that makes it a great addition to face creams: sun protection.
Note: While palmitoyl oligopeptide alone cannot replace your trusty sunscreen, it does offer an extra layer of protection. And you’re going to need all the help you can get when it comes to ultraviolet rays.
Hexapeptides form chains of six amino acids. When paired with the acetic acid, acetyl hexapeptide-3, it has the ability to relax facial wrinkles. It can diminish creasing brought about by fine lines, which is similar to what Botox injections can do.
The benefit of hexapeptides over Botox is that it is non-invasive, non-painful, and can be applied on any part of the face.
What Are the Side Effects of Peptide Therapy?
The side effects of peptide therapy are few and far in between, and much more common with injections. Itchiness, water retention, numbness, dry mouth, and joint pain are some of the known side effects for injected peptides.
But for topical application, there are little known side effects. The most reported side effects are an increased occurrence of freckles and darkening of moles.
Is Peptide Therapy Effective?
There is not one umbrella peptide treatment that is available to address anti-aging and skin rejuvenation, so the effectiveness of the product can you get will vary depending on several factors.
Peptides are near useless as an ingredient in facial cleansers, so it’s best to avoid them. They need time to absorb into the skin, so if you use them in a facial wash you would just be washing them off your skin before they have any time to do their job.
Peptide products are most efficient when used in serum or cream form. Those kinds of formulas are often applied two times a day and left for longer periods of time on the skin, which gives them enough time to absorb and work well.
When looking for peptide treatments for your skin, here are some things that you have to look out for:
- Polypeptide ingredients would need to be stabilized in a topically applicable cream. This is so they wouldn’t continually break down and become ineffective.
- The peptides have to be in a formula that lets them penetrate the skin easily. This means the cream they reside in shouldn’t be thick enough, as very thick cream only sits at the skin surface and doesn’t absorb straightaway.
- A peptide product has to contain a large enough volume of peptides to be able to make a noticeable difference.
Note: Before undergoing a new treatment plan for your skin, you should always be sure to consult with your dermatologist. It’s also useful to note that pure peptides are still uncleared for human use, so look for products that use synthetic peptides or doesn’t have peptide as the sole ingredient.
Learn more about peptides and how they help with anti-aging in this video from BioBalance Healthcast:
Peptide therapy has had a promising rise to fame due to its relatively gentle nature as a treatment and minimal side effects when applied topically. Given its benefits and potential to modulate melanin and collagen, more research and experimentation of peptides are on the horizon not only for cosmetic and medicinal use but also for workout supplements and steroidal replacement for athletes.
Have you ever used peptide therapy in your skincare regimen before? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.