Expert Topic by Joanne Rendell
What are peptides and what can they do for my skin? By Joanne Rendell
Written by Skin Therapist Joanne Rendell
Do you ever gaze enviously at your friend and wonder why their skin always looks so plump and dewy? The chances are they have probably already discovered the power of peptides. Although peptides occur naturally within our skin, they are also included in many skincare products – and for good reason.
Think of a peptide as the communicator that sends messages to other cells – signalling to those cells to produce collagen and elastin. Peptides are short strings of amino acids that make up certain proteins, such as collagen, needed by the skin. When we add peptides to our skin through creams and serums it can stimulate our skin to make more collagen. And more collagen means younger-looking, radiant skin!
On its own a collagen molecule is actually too large to be absorbed through the skin. However, peptides can penetrate the outer layer of the skin, so instead of sitting on top of it, they sink in more deeply and are absorbed into the skin where they can be used by our bodies.
Which peptides are right for me?
There are four key peptide categories: signal, carrier, neurotransmitter and enzyme inhibitor. Signal peptides tell our bodies to produce more collagen, while carrier peptides deliver trace elements deep within the skin, and help to encourage the healing process. Inhibitor peptides reduce the breakdown of collagen. Neurotransmitter peptides help to smooth the appearance of lines and wrinkles by preventing the release of chemicals that cause muscle contractions. Each of these peptides tends to achieve the best results when combined with other hard-working active ingredients, such as antioxidants and Hyaluronic Acid, so it’s definitely worth identifying which ones are best suited to your skin’s specific needs.
The benefits of peptides combined with Vitamin C
While peptides are hugely effective in their own right at creating skin-boosting proteins, the results can be further enhanced when combined with Vitamin C.
This is because Vitamin C helps to protect the skin from environmental aggressors responsible for creating oxidative stress and free radicals. These hidden nasties can cause the breakdown of proteins such as collagen and elastin. In other words, Vitamin C creates a defensive barrier for the cellular structures that peptides are working hard to create.
Vitamin C plays an important role in the healthy functioning of the body. This powerful antioxidant is also brilliant at tackling signs of ageing in the skin, as it helps to protect it from age-accelerating environmental aggressors such as UV, cigarette smoke and pollution. Regular use should help your complexion look brighter and smoother, while reducing fine lines, wrinkles and photo damage.
This multitasking antioxidant really can supercharge your skincare routine. It’s essential for the synthesis of healthy collagen, which stops your skin from sagging. It has potent skin-brightening benefits too, thanks to its ability to promote healthy cell turnover and block the enzyme responsible for causing pigmentation. And while it isn’t a specialist sunscreen, Vitamin C can boost the efficacy of your daily SPF when layered underneath.
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