What are Peptides and How Do They Reduce Wrinkles?

Health & FitnessBeauty

  • Author Lee Slaney
  • Published October 26, 2008
  • Word count 483

Numerous skincare products use peptides to treat wrinkles. But what are peptides? Can they really give you younger looking skin?

Collagen is type of protein made up long chains of amino acids assembled together, like links in a chain. When broken down, short segments of amino acids form, known as peptides. Peptides are more than just collagen - these very small proteins are active molecules.

Human skin consists mostly of collagen; it supports skin and is the foundation that gives it thickness. Younger people have ample collagen and smooth, taut skin. In contrast, older people have less collagen and thinner, wrinkled skin.

Peptides Signal Your Skin to Produce More Collagen

Aging collagen is destroyed by a variety of environmental factors, but is not completely replaced. As a result, smooth, young skin gradually becomes thin and wrinkled with advancing time.

One successful strategy for improving winkles and making you look younger is to replace the collagen you’ve lost over the years. When collagen breaks down, certain peptides are released. These signal your skin that it has been damaged and needs to manufacture new collagen.

The direct application of peptides to your skin will make it think it has recently lost collagen and has to make more. The most frequently used "signal" peptide for skin care in this function is palmitoyl pentapeptide (Matrixyl). It is effective in minimizing the appearance of fine lines.

Though research is still preliminary, there is promising evidence that peptides play an important role in wound healing and improving certain skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and eczema. Peptides are also involved in hormone regulation, immune activity and inter-cellular communication.

Popular Peptides used in Modern Cosmetics

Acetyl hexapeptide-3 (trade name Argireline) has been promoted as a less expensive, safer, and milder alternative to Botulinum Toxin (Botox). Argireline works by relaxing facial muscles, thereby reducing wrinkles. It is often complemented with Leuphasyl, which lessens the contractions of muscle. This is especially beneficial for minimizing wrinkles around the eyes and forehead. Octapeptide is an elongation of the Argireline molecule. By lengthening and extending muscles under tension, it can reduce the depth of lines in your skin.

Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 (trade name Matrixyl) is found in a variety of skin care formulations and consists of two amino acids linked together attached to a fatty acid, which enhances its absorption into your skin. The structure of Matrixyl is related to the precursor of Type I collagen. Scientists discovered that it stimulates the synthesis of several important elements of your skin matrix, including elastin, collagen, and glucosaminoglycans. Studies have shown that Matrixyl may decrease skin roughness by 13%; reduce the volume of wrinkles by 36%; and decrease depth of wrinkles by 27% after four months when used on the face and neck two times a day.

Peptide 6 contains Argireline, Matrixyl 3000 and a total of six distinct peptides.

No adverse side effects have been reported in the use of peptides.

Lee Slaney is a licensed esthetician with Mango Madness Skin Care, which provides advanced, paraben-free skin care products to help reverse the signs of aging and sun damage to the skin.



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