What Are Peptides and How Do They Work


Whether they’re injected or applied topically, peptides are one of the most powerful ingredients in anti-aging skincare. They’re multi-taskers, stimulating cellular activity and encouraging collagen production while simultaneously decreasing fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, they boost hydration and create firmer skin. And they’re not one-trick ponies, either – different peptides perform different functions.

Essentially, peptides are tiny proteins. They’re the building blocks of every protein in your body, and a large number of these proteins play a role in regulating the body’s systems, for example regulating blood sugar (insulin and glucagon) and controlling appetite (ghrelin). When used in a cream, lotion or serum, peptides have the ability to reduce signs of aging. They can also help with other skin concerns such as reducing cellulite and strengthening hair.

Peptides work by triggering stem cells to create either more stem cells or specialist cells like fibroblasts, which then produce hyaluronic acid and collagen to make the skin stronger and healthier. Peptides also encourage cellular turnover, which means the skin is constantly rejuvenating itself and shedding dead skin cells to reveal new, fresher skin underneath.

In addition to these beauty benefits, peptides can improve athletic performance, promote sexual health, and even treat musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They can also help the body absorb vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

The reason they’re so effective is that peptides are much smaller than proteins, and thus more easily absorbed by the body. Plus, peptide drugs can have less off-target effects than other small molecule pharmaceuticals.

Aside from the beauty benefits, peptides can also be beneficial to your overall wellness by promoting gut health, improving mental clarity and memory, and balancing the immune system. Lastly, they can help prevent age-related muscle loss by fueling collagen and elastin production.

Which Peptides Should I Use?

As with any other ingredient, the type of peptide you choose will depend on your specific skincare needs. For example, carrier peptides stabilize trace elements such as manganese and copper and carry them to the skin where they aid in collagen and elastin production. Signal peptides stimulate the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid and discourage the breakdown of these molecules.

Peptides are incredibly versatile and work great on almost all skin types and can be used to address many different skincare concerns, such as decreasing fine lines and wrinkles, making the skin appear more firm, or minimizing redness and inflammation.

When selecting a product that contains peptides, look for ones that are well-researched and tightly regulated by the FDA. If you’re unsure, ask your dermatologist for advice or refer to the product label to ensure that the product has been properly tested and is safe for you to use. Remember, however, that peptides aren’t a cure-all, so be sure to keep up with your regular skincare routine and continue to see a dermatologist for an overall healthy complexion. If you’re interested in incorporating peptides into your anti-aging regimen, check out Vichy’s Peptide Serum.

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