Peptides: The Buzzy Ingredient You Need in Your Beauty Routine

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Peptides are some of the most recognized ingredients in the beauty world — you’ll spot them in so many anti-aging, revitalizing, and repairing products on the market. They are short chains of amino acids that act as building blocks for necessary proteins in our skin, such as collagen, keratin, and elastin fibers. Dermatologist Michele Green explains that collagen improves the tone and texture of your skin.

Peptides act as a messenger in charge of stabilizing and transporting compounds essential to the production of protein. Thanks to this ability, the ingredient is now known to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This has been proven by many studies—one conducted by the International Journal of Molecular Science showed that in a span of two weeks, a significant decrease in wrinkles was observed after the use of peptides in skincare. Moreover, it confirms that topical application of peptides does work, as it increases dermal collagen expression.

But, skincare isn’t the only aspect of beauty peptides can be applied to. In this feature, we’ll be elaborating on the use of peptides in different steps in your beauty routine.

Peptides in Skincare

Peptides are one of the most buzzed ingredients in skin products. Besides the standard signaling peptides that we discussed earlier, some of the most common peptides in skincare are carrier peptides, neurotransmitter inhibitors, enzyme inhibitors, and structural peptides. To put it in simple terms, carrier peptides link up with other ingredients to help deliver them to your skin. Neurotransmitter and enzyme inhibitors on the other hand help stave off collagen breakdown and work to improve fine lines and wrinkles. Lastly, structural or keratin peptides allow the skin barrier to retain more water for plumper, firmer, and younger-looking skin.

Finding the right type of peptide-enriched product is crucial, too. For instance, opt for products that adhere longer on your skin like a moisturizer, eye cream, or serum, instead of a wash-away cleanser. Drunk Elephant’s Protini Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum is a top pick because of how it sinks quickly into your skin, allowing you to enjoy the full benefits of its eleven signal peptides. For a drugstore alternative, you can also try the e.l.f. Holy Hydration Face Cream.

Peptides can strengthen the skin barrier, lock in moisture, repair damaged skin, and even contain antioxidants that can calm inflammation. Peptides can also be used in conjunction with vitamin C, however, it doesn’t mesh well with ingredients like AHAs. Consult your dermatologist about the best choice of products for your skin type.

Peptides in Haircare

Peptides are known to easily bind with copper enzymes, leading to the creation of copper peptide products. These are not only used for skincare but also do wonders for your hair. Copper peptides aid with new hair growth through the promotion of new blood vessels around the hair follicle. It also increases blood flow and oxygen circulation throughout the scalp. Plus, they are shown to have the ability to extend hair growth cycles and manifest the potential to thicken existing strands.

Copper peptides also fight inflammation and free radicals, which can cause damage to hair follicles — and, much like peptides in skincare, they can boost collagen and elastin levels in the scalp, countering scalp damage and increasing skin thickness.

Copper peptides also fight inflammation and free radicals, which can cause damage to hair follicles. And, much like peptides in skincare, they can boost collagen and elastin levels in the scalp, countering scalp damage and increasing skin thickness. Look out for copper peptides in the ingredients the next time you shop for hair care products. We recommend finding a hair serum like the Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density, or a hair mask such as the cult-favorite Elizavecca Collagen Ceramide Coating Protein Treatment.

Products that make use of these peptides are constantly undergoing research and development, and the market will continue to grow in future years. Already we can see more innovative creations, such as collagen peptide “beauty drinks,” and other forms of ingestible peptide products.

Always make sure you check product labels and ingredient lists to ensure that they are regulated and that you’re getting the most out of your products.

Are peptides a part of your hair or beauty routine? Let us know in the comments below.

Rita Julien
Rita Julien
Rita Julien is a researcher-writer and skincare junkie based in Miami. She hopes to debunk skincare myths and to continue sharing her best beauty discoveries with others.