Why you need peptides in your skincare routine

By Pauline Muindi | Tue,Dec 21 2021 10:00:00 EAT

 A lot of people don't know the benefits of adding peptides to their skincare routine (Photo: Courtesy)

Peptides are all the rage in today’s skincare. You are likely to find them in moisturisers and serum and they are even available in digestible collagen supplements.

However, many people still have no idea what peptides are and why everyone can benefit from including them in their skincare routine.

What are peptides?

Simply put, peptides are short-chain amino acids that act as building blocks of proteins such as collagen, keratin, and elastin. These proteins are foundational in building healthy skin – they determine how soft, strong, and resilient your skin is.

Applied topically, peptides trigger skin cells to produce more proteins, which makes your skin look younger and healthier.

If you do not have a healthy dose of peptides, your skin will grow weaker and less elastic. Basically, your skin will start sagging and developing lines and wrinkles. It will also appear lifeless and dry.

Peptides are naturally formed in the body, but as you age, the natural production starts to decline. By applying them topically, you can slow down your skin’s ageing process. Peptides are small and can easily penetrate your skin to nourish the cells beneath.

However, all peptides are not created equal. They are categorised as signal, carrier, enzyme-inhibitor, and neurotransmitter-inhibitor – depending on how they work. Let us briefly take a look at each of these categories:

Signal peptides trigger mechanisms that impact wound healing. By making your cells ‘think’ that there is trauma on the skin, they send the body into repair mode. This means more elastin and collagen production, resulting in firmer and plumper skin.

 They will leave your skin feeling healthy and smooth (Photo: Courtesy)

Carrier peptides help deliver trace elements to the skin. Copper, in particular, is a carrier peptide that helps activate wound-healing pathways, which triggers more collagen production. Copper peptides also have an antioxidant effect, which means that they may help in fighting free radicals that cause premature ageing and cancer.

Enzyme-inhibitor peptides interrupt the enzymes that cause a decline in your collagen production. For most people, collagen starts to decline by one per cent every year starting as early as the mid-20s.

Neurotransmitter-inhibitor peptides lock the release of certain chemical messengers that help in muscle contraction. In this way, neurotransmitter-inhibitor peptides have a muscle-relaxing effect. You can compare the effect of these peptides to those of botulinum toxin, otherwise known as Botox.

How to use peptides

Fortunately, you do not have to look too hard to find peptide products. The powerful skincare ingredient has found its way into washes, moisturisers, serums, creams, masks and more.

Once you find a product that you like, read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use it. They might have different directions depending on your skin type.

That said, it is generally safe to use peptides twice daily. For best results, go for a peptide product that you will leave on your skin – such as a serum or cream. Products that you will rinse off almost immediately, such as cleansers and masks, will not give you the most value.

You can easily find peptide products in your favourite beauty and skincare shop or e-commerce store.

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