Is reducing the signs of skin aging, such as wrinkles, loss of firmness and elasticity something you’re interested in? Firstly, join the club, your in the company of most all of us in our late twenties onward! Secondly, if you’re not already, you should be paying attention to peptides.
Why, you ask? Let’s talk about collagen, a word that is thrown around a lot with regards to skincare. What is it, really? Collagen is one type of extracellular matrix protein that can be found in the dermis, composing nearly 75% of this layer. The dermis serves to support the outer layer of the skin (the epidermis) and these proteins, such as collagen and elastin, are responsible for the firmness, suppleness and elasticity of the skin. The levels of collagen in the dermis gradually deplete with age, and can be broken down by free radicals resulting from UV light and pollution exposure. When these proteins are broken down, they are separated into their building blocks: smaller chains of amino acids called peptides. The presence of these protein fragments is recognized by the skin as a signal to begin rebuilding the proteins which have been damaged.
Here is where the peptides in our skincare come in. When we introduce peptides topically, their presence “tricks” the skin into thinking that collagen has been broken down, and encourage it to begin producing more.
Another important thing to note—it is often implied through marketing speak, that the ingredient collagen in skincare products has something to do with the amount of collagen in the dermis. While this ingredient is an effective humectant, and can therefore help to hydrate the skin, collagen molecules are too large to penetrate the epidermis, and so can not add to the total amount of collagen in the dermis.
What are your favorite products containing peptides? If you feel like nerding out some more, I’ve listed some articles below that I found to be particularly informative!