Peptides – should we believe the hype?
This expensive mini-protein just may be the key to anti-aging.

Aug 30, 2013 12:48
by Missy

Have you been wishing you'd studied harder during chemistry class? Me too. Getting to the bottom of what goes in to making moisturiser work can be hard to figure out. You might have noticed that many high-end anti-aging products contain an active ingredient known as “peptides”. The cosmetics industry has been showing an interest in peptides as an active component of dermatological products, but some are very expensive.

So what are peptides?

Peptides are broken down portions of proteins produced by the body. While there are many types of peptides, and their roles in the body are varied, those that are of interest cosmetically are the ''bossy'' peptides which tell cells how to react and what to do. Some ''signal peptides” know how to tell the skin to produce more collagen and elastin, and producing collagen and elastin is the holy grail of anti-aging.

So do they work?

There are two types of peptides that have the most evidence for their effectiveness in reducing wrinkles.

The first is signal peptides, the most popular of these for cosmetic use is palmitoyl pentapeptide (Matrixyl).

So long as the peptide is able to be preserved, and so long as the peptide makes it to the right part of your skin that can actively regenerate, there is evidence that peptides can signal to the skin to create more collagen. If you want a cost effective elixir to try, try Olay Regenerist Night Resufacing Elixir. You can find this active ingredient in StriVectin branded products available in Australia at Adore Beauty and Skincare Store.

The second kind of peptide with evidence of efficacy is copper peptide. Because peptides are small they can penetrate the skin’s protective barriers to get to the deeper layers, with copper pharmaceutically attached, the peptide can deliver copper to the living layers of the skin. There is research showing that copper is an effective agent in skin healing, so it has long been used for treating chronic wounds. Copper peptides seem to promote collagen production and can be found in products like Neutrogena’s Visibly Firm Night Cream, and some dermalogica products too.

Why are some peptide serems so expensive?

Not all are. Again, we found Olay to offer an affordable overnight treatment. Also, check out StriVectin products which have been clinically proven to reduce wrinkles. 

What to look out for:

Peptides, like Vitamin A and other proteins, are unstable. That means as soon as they are exposed to air and water they break down and loose their potency. So a lot of work must go into stabilising the base formula, that is, it needs to be paired with other ingredients that will preserve the peptide. Plus this ingredient then needs to be absorbed by the skin, something it can't do by itself. To get the best out of peptides, buy a serum in a droplet bottle or a thick plastic tub or pump from a reputable brand and a reputable reseller, rather than a jar from eBay.

Which should I buy?

Investing in good skincare with proven active ingredients and applying regularly offers you the best chance of slowing the aging process, and ensuring your skin looks it's best as you age. In time the price of these peptide serums will likely come down, while their potency improves. If you're going to the trouble of buying and applying a night cream, it should be one with proven active ingredients at a price you can afford.

But remember, prevention is still better than cure. Take a look at the skin on your breasts that see what protecting your skin from UV light can do. Applying sunblock every day and wearing a hat is cheap and very effective.

Which anti aging creams do you use and believe are worth the money?

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