You’ve probably heard of Matrixyl, Argireline or Copper peptides and their powerful anti-aging qualities. But, unlike retinol, direct acids or Vitamin C, you might be less aware of how exactly they are helping your skin. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions.
What are peptides?
Peptides are fragments of proteins derived from amino-acids. They combine in different ways to form proteins, which are the building blocks of our body and, of course, our skin. Some peptides are produced naturally in our bodies: they work to keep our skin healthy, firm and youthful looking. The peptides in skin care products have similar effects, mimicking the function of natural peptides and enhancing our skin recovering mechanism.
How do they help your skin?
Peptides work to increase skin hydration, firmness and elasticity. They also help lessen hyperpigmentation and smooth fine wrinkles. There are four basic types of peptides used for their anti-aging and restoring properties.
They stimulate skin cells to produce more collagen, elastin and other proteins that support the skin structure and firmness. Matrixyl and Progeline are some of the best-known signal peptides used in cosmetics.
These peptides work in a similar fashion with Botox to inhibit superficial muscle contraction and decrease the appearance of wrinkles. Hexapeptide, also knowns as Argireline, has been shown in studies to reduce certain types of expression lines by up to 30%.
Enzyme inhibitor peptides
They work by reducing the activity of certain enzymes that would otherwise cause skin darkening and the breakdown of collagen. By inhibiting this process, these peptides lessen the appearance of discoloration and preserve the youthful aspect of the skin.
Functioning almost like “delivery agents”, these peptides transport trace elements (such as copper) to the deeper layers of the skin, where they can boost collagen synthesis and the elasticity of the skin. The best known is GHK-Cu, used in wound healing and skin repairing products.
How long until you see results?
With peptides like Argireline, the first results can be seen very quickly, although long term use is still needed for further improving your skin. But, with most peptides, like with other cosmetic ingredients, the key to success is persistence. Keep in mind that the efficiency of the peptides can be boosted by the presence of other active components like antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, ceramides or niacinamide. So, the best thing you can do is find your perfect formula and stick with it in order to enjoy cumulative and continuous results.