The Use of Peptides in Cosmetics

The use of peptides in cosmetics

One of the most all too mentioned active ingredients in our cosmetics is peptides. Peptides are so prevalent in cosmetics because it’s relatively highly stable. They are also well defined, which makes them a popular choice for a lot of skin-related indications, especially in anti-aging therapy. Based on their mode of actions, peptides have been divided into three main groups.

Types of peptides

As said earlier, there are three main groups of peptides, which include carrier peptides, neurotransmitter-affecting peptides, and signal peptides. In the first group, the carrier peptides act to bring trace elements that are needed for enzymatic processes. The second group consists of peptides that mimic the effects of botulinum neurotoxins. And the third group consists of peptides that help in the synthesis of collagen or inhibit the breakdown of collagen by collagenase.

  1. Carrier Peptides

Carrier peptides act as a cofactor for a lot of enzymes that are involved in elastin and collagen formation. Carrier peptides show a high affinity for copper. These copper peptides help to stimulate wound healing. At the same time, it also reduces wrinkles, improves firmness and elasticity of aged skin, and reduces fine lines.

Importantly, carrier peptides exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties that act to suppress the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. They also chemoattracts mast cells, macrophages, and capillary cells, which increases the synthesis of elastin and collagen. In other words, it helps to stimulate the proliferation of keratinocytes and fibroblasts.

  1. Neurotransmitter-affecting Peptides

In most cosmetic preparations, its peptides belong to this group. Most of the peptides in this group act in a similar way as botulinum toxin. Most of these peptides also attenuate the formation of fine lines and wrinkles which appear in the skin. Fine lines and wrinkles form with time as a result of repetitive contraction of the intrinsic muscles. These peptides inhibit signal transduction pathways at neuromuscular junctions, which attenuates fine lines and wrinkles.

These peptides are added in cosmeceuticals to help mediate the total contribution it has with respect to reactive skin conditions and skin inflammation. One of the best-known peptides in this group is Argireline (acetyl hexapeptide-3), which helps to suppress the release of neurotransmitters, reduce wrinkles, and ease facial tension.

  1. Signal Peptides

Increasing the number of collagen and fibroblasts production or inhibiting further hydrolysis of collagen are effective means to slow or halt the aging process of the skin. There are some bioactive amino acid chains that are specific and, in recent years, have been known to promote human skin dermal fibroblast growth in vivo and in vitro to reduce the depth and length of wrinkles.

The most popular single peptide is located on type 1 Procollagen, known as lysine-threonine-threonine-lysine-serine. It is marketed as Matrixyl, which is a palmitoyl pentapeptide. It enhances epidermal delivery and is linked to palmitic acid. This peptide augments the synthesis of collagen by fibroblasts and causes a reduction in the amount of wrinkles and fine lines.

Benefits of polypeptides for skin

Of the different types of polypeptides, one thing is common among them, and that is that they trigger collagen synthesis. The more collagen in the skin, the more healthy the skin will be.

  • Repairs damaged skin: The use of carrier peptides is excellent in healing the skin from the inside out
  • Smoothes out complexion: When the amount of peptides in the skin is increased, the appearance of the skin will be more even and more explicit.
  • Helps make skin more firm: Peptides also helps to signal the cells to produce more collagen, which makes the skin feel more firm.
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties: Peptides have anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to soothe and calm the skin leading to less inflammation on the skin.
  • Aids in collagen production: The use of peptides can also send signals to the cells in the skin to boost or increase the production of collagen in the skin.
  • Locks in hydration: As you age, the collagen production in the skin will begin to reduce, which will cause dehydration in the skin. But with peptide, the amount of collagen in the skin will be replenished, which helps to boost hydration.
  • Strengthen skin barrier:  Peptides can also help to amp up the skin cells, which also helps to strengthen the skin barrier.
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines: Peptides helps to stimulate collagen production, which gives the skin an appearance of being plump.

Side effects of polypeptides

There are little or no side effects of peptide molecules for healthy individuals, except that they are too large, and they don’t get to penetrate our skin, and as such, they do not get to where they need to do their job. Our skin is an important organ. Our skin helps to keep things out of the body like bacteria and other toxic molecules. It is more like our skin defense mechanism, but the shortcoming about it is that it can deny peptides from entry. Although peptides are marketed to effectively reach nerve targets (which are deep in the muscles), but hey don’t get that deep.

To further add, in some individuals with complications, if peptides are used incorrectly, it could cause some skin symptoms like itching, rashes, and skin sensitivity. It is advisable to discontinue the use of any peptide product if there are adverse reactions, and always to buy tropical products containing peptides from a reputable company. It is always a good idea to speak with a doctor before using any topical product that contains a peptide.

Bottom line

When you stimulate collagen production in the dermal layer of the skin it will lead to healthier skin with fewer wrinkles and smoother texture. Applying polypeptide directly to the skin helps to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin. Researches about the full benefits of peptides are still in its early stage. Perhaps in the near future, scientists would have discovered the full health benefits of the different types of peptides. But before then, it is advisable to exercise caution when using peptides. Best discuss the potential benefits and also the risks and side effects with your doctor before you go ahead with using any tropical product with peptide.

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