Peptides are string of amino acids, which are the building blocks that make protein in our body and peptides serve as a building block not only for collagen but also elastin fiber, which makes up for our skin firmness and elasticity. In other words, peptides are strings of amino acids that form the building blocks for new collagen and elastin fibers under the skin and the importance of collagen as well as elastin for providing structural integrity and firmness to the skin is well known.
This particular pathway works by virtue of activating the healing mechanisms of the body as peptides provide signals to kick in this healing mechanism. You have likely heard about the buzz around peptides for skin but have you ever wondered what a peptide is and what it does to your skin?
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Neha Dubey, Consultant Medical and Cosmetic Dermatologist and MD at Meraki Skin Clinic in Gurugram, explained, “Apart from being important for the skin, peptides also play a crucial role in many other body functions as they are present in every human cell. Peptides tell our body to produce more collagen where we need it the most. Now it might sound a bit daunting but when you introduce exogenous peptides into the skin either in the form of moisturiser or serums, it tricks the skin into thinking there’s been an injury/wound and it starts the collagen–boosting process. After the age of 30, we start losing collagen at the rate of 1% per year approximately. That’s where the role of exogenous peptides comes in.”
According to the skincare expert, there are different types of peptides present in our body and a few selected ones are specifically beneficial for the skin.
1. Signal Peptides: Most commonly used in skincare. They stimulate the production of structural proteins which helps keep the skin firm.
2. Carrier Peptides: They get their name from being excellent vehicles/carriers of trace elements like copper and magnesium in skin care products.
3. Neurotransmitter Peptides: Found in injectables like Botox. They work by relaxing certain facial muscles to treat lines and wrinkles.
4. Enzyme Inhibitor Peptides: They work by halting the process of natural loss of collagen from the skin.
She advised, “When it comes to skin, to get maximum benefit of peptides from topical formulations look for something in which the stability of all the ingredients is maintained. Your Dermatologist can guide you in this regard.”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Sushma Yadav, Dermatologist, Cosmetologist, Hair Transplant Surgeon and Founder of Skinology Centre in Bangalore, echoed, “We lose 1-2% of our collagen after 30 years of age and our skin’s natural communication channels also slows down over time. When we introduce peptides onto our skin in the form of topical like moisturisers, serums it stimulates our collagen boosting processes, can help improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and over all skin texture. Copper peptides can trigger elastin and collagen production helping your skin look and feel firm.”
She concluded, “Peptides for skin can help repair and improve the skin barrier, retain moisture and the skin is less susceptible to environmental triggers and stress. So when your skin barrier is strong, you are less prone to dryness, itchiness, redness and inflammation. One last tip – when choosing peptides, opt for leave on peptides than cleansers because you want that goodness of peptides to be absorbed.”