Peptides are compounds formed by linking at least two amino acids to a peptide bond. By binding a larger number of amino acids, oligopeptides (2 – 20 amino acids) are formed, an even larger number in different sequences of polypeptides, and these polypeptide chains build proteins.
So from a dermocosmetic aspect very important and all of us known proteins are collagen and elastin. In youth there is a natural homeostasis – the balance between the process of synthesis and degradation of collagen, which is manifested by a beautiful complexion, while with aging this process is disturbed, or total collagen synthesis decreases (approximately 1% per year), resulting in wrinkles and reduced skin firmness. Peptides produced by the natural breakdown of collagen “signal” skin cells (fibroblasts) to begin synthesizing new collagen to maintain natural balance.
One of the assumptions for the use of peptides in cosmetic products is based on this fact. Due to its size, the collagen molecule cannot penetrate the surface layer of the skin, while peptides with the appropriate vector (“carrier”) in the appropriate formulation can, so it is desired to stimulate the synthesis of new collagen and thus prevent wrinkles and loss of tone. In addition to this biological messenger function and to stimulate synthesis, some peptides are used in cosmetic products to inhibit collagen-degrading enzymes.
Accelerated breakdown of collagen can be caused not only by genetic factors but also by external factors (eg exposure to UV rays). You’ve probably come across the term “botox like” while reading serum or cream labels – this is again the use of peptides whose purpose is to inhibit the synthesis and / or receptors of neurotransmitters to prevent excessive muscle contraction and the formation of mimic wrinkles (botox-like action), or the term “copper peptide” – a tripeptide with copper that is attributed anti-aging, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Due to different combinations and the number of amino acids in the composition, peptides can have different functions and become an almost indispensable part of cosmetic product lines. According to the available data, their application certainly has a scientific basis, although given the number and results of studies not as strong as, for example, the use of retinol.
If you want to test the effectiveness of peptides on your skin, it is recommended to use leave on products – primarily serums with a high concentration and creams and masks. Peptides in cleansers and similar products that are rinsed off are usually in too low concentrations and simply stay on the skin too short. After the serum with peptides, it is advisable to protect the skin with products with SPF in order to use all the potential and prevent the harmful effects of UV rays or apply them as part of night care. (Also take care of the product packaging itself.)
Peptides can be used together with other, for example antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hydrating ingredients in the serum and even enhance their action. Concomitant use with AHA acids (low pH) is not recommended.
Peptide products are intended for all skin types and usually, with the exception of copper peptides, do not cause side effects such as allergic ones.