Walk down any drugstore beauty aisle and you're bound to notice that peptides are a common ingredient in anti-aging moisturizers and other beauty products. But obtaining smooth skin is about more than slapping on a peptide cream. Understanding how exactly peptides work and knowing how to use the creams properly can help you achieve the best results.
Peptides are made up of long and short chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of cell proteins. They can be either synthetic or natural and may be listed in cosmetic ingredient lists as dipeptides or tripeptides. Peptides are often combined with antioxidants in serums or moisturizers to aid in skin regeneration, healing and firming.
How Peptides Work
Two common signs of aging, sagging and wrinkles, are the result of thinning skin and collagen and elastin loss. Peptides are often used in anti-aging products because they encourage the top layer of skin cells to develop new collagen to plump the skin and ease fine lines. Some studies have shown that peptides help change the membrane of skin structure, which in turn makes it easier for the skin to absorb lotions and serums.
The jury is still out on how effective peptides are in reducing the signs of aging in skin products. Although the effectiveness has been demonstrated in a number of clinical trials, the extent of the effect is mild to moderate, dermatologist Frances Jang told "Elle Canada." Whether or not they reduce wrinkles is not confirmed, but using peptides in a moisturizer can help reduce their appearance since the moisturizing properties can help smooth out wrinkles.
If you do decide to use a moisturizer with peptides, Dr. Oz recommends using it regularly since peptides can change the growth factors of the skin. Some dermatologists also recommend using them in conjunction with retinol, a vitamin A derivative proven to prevent and reduce sun damage, even skin tone and amp up collagen production. Use retinol in the evening before bed and peptides after cleansing in the morning.