What Are Peptides?

Peptides have long been a loved ingredient in the world of skincare, with companies formulating serums, moisturizers, and even supplements that are packed with peptides. But, what are peptides? Let’s break down the science behind this universally loved skincare ingredient.

Peptides are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of every protein in the human body. Proteins such as collagen are made up of long chains of amino acids. Peptides, on the other hand, are made up of short chains of amino acids.

The function of peptides differs significantly from that of proteins; proteins make up the structure of your skin and hair, whereas peptides send signals within the body to stimulate the regeneration of proteins. Proteins are the most important part of healthy skin and hair. When proteins in our bodies start breaking down, peptides tell cells to create more protein. The human body recognizes peptides as a signal that says “Hey, we need to heal this body part!”

Now that we know what peptides are and how they function, let’s talk about exactly how they can benefit anyone’s skincare routine.

The Benefits of Peptides

As we age, protein generation slows down and environmental factors (such as pollution and sun exposure) take a huge toll on the skin. The human body starts producing 1% less collagen each year starting at only 20-years-old!

Peptides are essential to anti-aging skincare as they are behind the production of proteins such as collagen, keratin, and elastin, which are all amazing for the strengthening of your skin. The use of peptides in skincare has been shown to do the following:


Sagging skin is the result of collagen and elastin breakdown; because peptides signal cells to generate proteins, when applied in skincare the anti-aging effects are outstanding. The use of peptides evens out skin texture significantly. Peptides reduce the appearance of pores, fill in fine lines and wrinkles, and firm and tighten the skin.


Those of us with sensitive skin know the pain of inflamed, irritated face days. The anti-inflammatory properties of peptides can significantly reduce redness and irritation. Peptides calm and smooth the skin to alleviate discomfort, as well as hydrate for revitalized, glowing skin.

Protection & Prevention

With so many environmental factors interfering, our skin gets damaged and aged quickly. Certain peptides have antioxidant properties that can help eliminate skin damaging free-radicals. Peptides carry trace elements to skin to heal damaged areas and inhibit the enzymes that are responsible for collagen degradation, strengthening the skin and preventing the loss of protein.

Peptides have so many essential functions that can greatly benefit anyone’s skincare routine. No matter what your goal is, there is a peptide that can help.

How to Use Peptides in Your Skincare Routine

Topical peptides are the peptides used in skincare that are to be applied and absorbed through the skin barrier. The incorporation of topical peptides into your skincare routine is easy, but to get the best results, experts recommend the following tips:

Leave-On Products

Skincare professionals suggest you opt for products such as serums and moisturizers; they are going to be the most effective, as they allow the peptides to absorb into the skin. Products such as peptide-infused cleansers are rinsed off and don’t allow absorption, unlike leave-on products.

Read Labels

When looking for peptide-packed products, look to the ingredient list to confirm. Look for words that end with “peptide” usually beginning with “palmitoyl” (and make sure they are close to the beginning of the list).

Mixing Ingredients

When incorporating peptides into your routine, be mindful of what other products you like to use. Peptides work well with certain skincare ingredients such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and squalane. However, peptides don’t work that great with retinoids and AHA’s.

When looking for products that contain peptides, it’s important to look at the formulations in order to gauge the ingredient’s stability and how well it will penetrate the skin barrier. This can be a little tricky, but a consultation with your dermatologist can make this process simple.

All in all, peptides have been and will continue to be an amazing tool in skincare. The anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties have a place in everyone’s skincare routine.