To start answering the question of peptide skin, we must first look at what peptides are made out of. Peptides are branches of amino acids, and amino acids are those “building blocks of life” you kept hearing about at high school. There are nine essential amino acids that we must get from food (plant based diets or with the inclusion of meat products), because our bodies cannot produce them. Amino acids comprise of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen molecules, and they include:
- Glutamic acid
There seems to be a lot of confusion between how many amino acids make a polypeptides. In general, when you combine up to ten amino acids together you form an oligopeptide (including dipeptides and tripeptides). Ten to fifty amino acids make a peptide, and more than fifty can give you a protein. You may have heard the term “branched-chain amino acids”, this is just a way to describe essential amino acids that have a side arm/branch. It is important to consider that when it comes to skin care, do your research and pick the products that are proven to work for your primary skin concern.
Oligopeptides and skin
Oligopeptides are a chain of up to ten amino acids. They are the smallest peptide substances and have the ability to penetrate deep into the basal layer of the skin. They can target cell formation and help change the appearance of skin. This is particularly useful when treating hyperpigmentation. Research has shown that oligopeptides can reduce tyrosinase activity and melanosome transfer to cells in the skin1.
Peptides and skin
Peptides are a chain of more than ten, but less than fifty amino acids. They are larger than oligopeptides, but still small enough to affect the skin. Peptides are often used in anti-aging skincare products. For example, peptides of arginine and lysine are used to target sugar break down in the skin, to prevent accelerated aging. Other peptides are thought to influence collagen synthesis, stimulate tissue formation and reinforce the skin.
Proteins and skin
Protein molecules are so large, that they are unable to penetrate the skin. They may have an effect while using the product, but their size means they are unable to stimulate changes to the skin.
Are they superheroes?
There is no doubt that peptides can be useful for repairing skin damage, such as the signs of premature aging and hyperpigmentation. When used in conjunction with other damage fighting topical ingredients, they can help restore law and order to your skin.
Make an appointment
For a free Dermalogica Face-mapping Skin Analysis and to discuss holistic skin care, make an appointment with our skincare nurse Alex. Contact us today.
For more reading on the benefits of oligopeptides head to the International Dermal Institute