Beauty glossary

What Are Peptides?

Without taking you back to science class, your skin is made up of three main substances: water, fat, and proteins. Its most famous protein is beauty’s holy grail: collagen. But elastin and keratin aren’t far behind, and together they help maintain your skin’s structure and function. Proteins are made from long chains of peptides, and peptides are made from long chains of amino acids.

Still with us? The bad news is aging and environmental aggressors (like pollution, UV rays, and stress) can degrade these chains of amino acids, which in turn destroys the peptides and proteins. As a result, expect wrinkles, sagging and a loss of firmness. But all is not lost – when you apply peptides topically they penetrate deep into the skin and tell your cells to regenerate collagen and other much-needed proteins.

What Do Peptides Do? 

Different Peptides have different skin-enhancing benefits, from smoothing wrinkles or boosting hydration to strengthening our skin’s barrier function or increasing firmness. And, thankfully, you don’t need to choose just one. Multiple peptides can be used in the same product (there isn’t one that does everything), with the most popular found in anti-aging treatments.

Now for the biggie; just as all good things come to an end, collagen production decreases as we age – paving the way for sagging and wrinkles. Lucky for you (and me), peptides stimulate collagen production, leaving skin smoother and effectively reversing the signs of aging. So, if you’re already mourning the loss of collagen, it’s totes time to say hello to peptides.

Sound too good to be true? Well, synthetic peptides are even more impressive and can address additional specific skin issues like discoloration and elasticity –  cultivating that youthful glow we’re all after.

Who Should Use Peptides?

Peptides should be worked into any anti-aging skin regimen – who doesn’t want smoother skin? Plus, you can use different peptides to target the various signs of aging all at once. Unlike retinoids and other collagen-boosting ingredients, which often have nasty side effects, peptides are tolerated well by almost everyone. 

How To Use Peptides In Your Routine

This on-trend skin savior can be found in washes, creams, serums, masks and so much more. To guarantee you’re getting the most bang for your buck, we recommend leave-on products like creams or serums, designed specifically to target anti-aging concerns.

Not sure if it contains Peptides? Just look for words that end in “peptide” or begin with “palmitoyl.” For example, palmitoyl pentapeptide, also known as Matrixyl, is one of the most famous collagen-stimulating peptides on the market, and one study suggests that it can actually double collagen levels (pretty impressive, right?). But be warned, if they aren’t stored correctly (some don’t like light or air), certain peptides can degrade.

Our Fave Peptide Skincare Products:

Peptides Source: No7

No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum, $30: Loaded with tons of the superstar peptide, matrixyl 3000, there’s a reason this anti-wrinkle serum caused major queues outside stores across England when it was launched back in 2009 – and that’s because it really works.

peptides Source: The Ordinary

The Ordinary Buffet, $15: We got major feels over this complex serum, which is chock full of skin goodies like probiotics, amino acids and of course, peptides, to target multiple signs of aging in one go. 

Peptides Source: Grown Alchemist

Grown Alchemist Hydra-Mist+, $31: Enriched with a heady mix of peptides and hyaluronic acid, this supercharged mist will plump skin in all the right places.

For more seriously bomb skincare ingredients check out our Beauty Glossary.