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Peptides & Your Skin: Understanding The Most Common Types of Peptides In Skincare


Peptides have become increasingly more and more popular in skincare because of their rejuvenating benefits for your skin. If skincare is new to you, understanding the different types of peptides for your skin and how they can address your skincare needs can be a bit tricky. Let’s break down everything you need to know about different types of peptides for your skin so you can choose the right peptide-filled products for you.

What Are Peptides?

Peptides are naturally produced by your body, but you can find lab-made peptides in many of your skincare products

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Often referred to as “building blocks,” peptides are strings of amino acids your body naturally produces. Peptides act almost like a messenger to our cells, communicating the needs of your body. Some help with digestion, some with muscle movement, and others with your skin health. 

In skincare specifically, you may find that some of your products tout peptides as an ingredient. As opposed to the peptides found naturally in your body, the peptides in skincare products are lab-made and mimic the ones you make naturally. These peptides still communicate with your skin cells, but in this instance, they are trying to help your body from the outside. Peptides can help your skin retain moisture, reduce fine lines, and protect your skin from external stressors—among a plethora of other benefits.

Types of Peptides Used In Skincare

Different peptides have different skin benefits—let’s talk about them

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Not all peptides are created equally, and not all peptides will address every skincare concern. Let’s take a look at some common types of peptides in skincare and how they work.

Collagen-Boosting Peptides

Collagen is a protein created by your body that gives structure and firmness to your skin. Some peptides are designed to stimulate collagen production in the skin, which can help improve skin firmness and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. 

Some of the most common collagen-boosting peptides found in skin care include:

  • GHK-Cu (Copper Tripeptide-1): Stimulates collagen production, quickens wound healing, and provides antioxidant effects. 
  • Matrixyl (Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4): Used in many anti-aging products to improve skin firmness.
  • Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-1: Promotes the growth of connective tissue in the skin.
  • Tripeptide-29 - Mimics collagen fragments to stimulate the natural collagen production process.
  • Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7: Reduces inflammation that causes collagen breakdown.


Hydration Peptides

Hydration peptides help your skin retain moisture, and as a result, can help you maintain hydrated and plump skin. Overall, this helps your complexion look much healthier. 

Some of the most common hydration peptides found in skin care are:

  • Aquaporin: Mimics aquaporins, which are the proteins in your skin that bring water to your skin cells.
  • Matrixyl 3000: Strengthens the skin barrier to help your skin retain moisture and can additionally help with collagen production.
  • Ceramide Peptides: Promotes ceramide production, which helps keep your skin hydrated and protected. 
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38: Enhances your skin’s ability to retain moisture.


Anti-Wrinkle Peptides

Some peptides are thought to work similarly to Botox, relaxing the muscles under your skin to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. You’ll find these peptides in products that are marketed for their “wrinkle-reducing” or “anti-aging” properties. 

Some of the most common anti-wrinkle peptides found in skincare products are:

  • Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 (Argireline): Works similarly to Botox by relaxing facial muscles to reduce wrinkles caused by muscle movement. 
  • Acetyl Octapeptide-3 (SNAP-8): Reduces muscle contractions to minimize expression lines.
  • Decapeptide-12: Targets skin cell communication to help with cell regeneration. 
  • Oligopeptide-29: Derived from elastin to help improve skin elasticity.


Brightening Peptides

Some peptides can help even out your skin tone and reduce pigments that cause dark spots. Brightening peptides target the production of melanin, which is the pigment that causes dark spots

Some common brightening peptides found in skincare products include:

  • Nonapeptide-1: Inhibits the production of melanin.
  • Oligopeptide-68: Prevents excessive melanin production and helps fade dark spots.
  • Oligopeptide-34: Disrupts signals that stimulate melanin production.


Antioxidant Peptides

Antioxidant peptides help protect your skin against free radicals that harm your skin.

Some common antioxidant peptides included in skin care products include:

  • Tetrapeptide-30: Shields skin from damage caused by free radicals.
  • Tripeptide-33: Mimics antioxidant enzymes in our bodies while protecting skin from oxidative stress. 
  • Carnosine (L-Carnosine): A dipeptide that helps neutralize free radicals.


Skin Barrier Peptides

Your skin has a natural protective barrier that shields against external environmental damage. Skin barrier peptides can help protect against those environmental stressors and can improve your overall skin health. 

Some common skin barrier peptides in skin care include:

  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5: Improves your skin’s barrier function, maintains hydration, and encourages collagen production.
  • Hexapeptide-48 HCl: Promotes the synthesis of proteins that help keep your skin hydrated.
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5: This peptide is often used not only for its collagen-boosting properties but also for its potential to improve the skin's barrier function, helping to maintain hydration and protect against external aggressors.
  • Oligopeptide-10: Reduces inflammation to soothe and strengthen your skin barrier. 


How To Choose The Best Peptide Skincare Products

With a little bit of research, you can find peptide-filled products that best address your skin concerns

Woman looking at skin in mirror

When choosing your skincare products, there are several factors you need to consider to help you find the right products. Here are some tips to help find the right peptide products for you:

  1. Identify your skin concerns - Make a list of your skin concerns that you’d like to address, such as wrinkles or skin hydration. Since different peptides have different skin benefits, this will help you narrow down your search.
  2. Research your peptides - Research which peptides are the most effective for your skincare concerns from reliable sources. 
  3. Read the label - Most skincare products will clearly list which peptides are used in the ingredients. If it’s available, check the concentration as higher concentrations will be more effective as long as it's within a safe limit.
  4. Check the formula - Skincare products should include other ingredients, like antioxidants or moisturizers, so find a product with a well-rounded formulation based on your concerns.
  5. Read reviews - See if the product you’re researching has reviews from others with similar skin concerns. 
  6. Patch test - Before introducing any new products to your skincare routine, always test a small patch of your skin to make sure your skin doesn’t react negatively. Introduce new products gradually to allow your skin to adjust. 
  7. Be patient - You probably won’t see results overnight, and that’s ok! Remember to be consistent and monitor your results to note any improvements in your skin. 

Peptides open a door of possibility for improving the health of your skin. With their ability to boost collagen production and minimize those pesky fine lines and wrinkles, peptides are your secret weapon for healthy, vibrant skin. Everyone's skin is unique, so it's always a good idea to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized advice. Embrace the power of peptides and discover the perfect products to unleash the full potential of your skin. Get ready to glow and turn heads with your radiant complexion!

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