Knowing peptides and how they cater to skin's anti-ageing needs

Peptides in skincare.
There are hundreds of peptides naturally found in our skin and each one has a unique function. Photo: IANS
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New Delhi: Modern day skincare is evolving on a regular basis and is abuzz with star ingredients that claim to solve our beauty problems. The skincare market is flooded with components like Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C, Peptides and even CBD, a marijuana-derived component claiming to address a plethora of skin issues.

Why peptides?

Peptide is a short chain of amino acid linked in chain by peptide bonds. Typically, peptides are different from protein by being shorter in length.

Protein contains two amino acids L- proline and L-lysine, which supports body collagen and elastin production. The source of protein could be complete or incomplete.

The protein from animal source is complete whereas the protein from plant source is incomplete. Peptide molecule being smaller in size can penetrate skin and offer different benefits, explains Dr. Rashmi Sharma, Senior Consultant Dermatologist, Rosewalk Hospital.

Protein in an adequate amount is required as it is the building block for our skin.

Types of peptides

Carrier peptide: It boosts collagen by delivering trace minerals to the skin which in turn take up collagen and increase growth of new blood vessels.

Signal peptide: Sends signals to increase collagen, elastin and proteins thereby helping in reducing wrinkles.

Neurotransmitter peptides: Softens fine lines and wrinkles by reducing the release of chemicals which causes contraction.

Enzyme inhibitor peptide: Slows down the breakage of collagen so that the skin does not age quickly.

Collagen peptide: It comes in different forms so that the body continues to produce new collagen. It protects against signs of ageing.

Copper peptide: This helps in re-generating and maintaining collagen There are various sources of peptides like peptides creams, peptide supplements and injectable peptides available at present.

The peptides in supplements originate from plant or animal sources of protein, including eggs, milk, meat, fish and shellfish, beans and lentils, soy, oats, flaxseed, hemp seeds, or wheat. However, some peptides such as copper, cannot be derived from your diet.

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Best peptide for skin

When peptides are combined with certain supporting ingredients, they can be more implicit at inscribing your skin's anti-ageing needs. When selecting the best peptides for your skin, go for formulas jumbled with antioxidants like vitamin C or fruit extracts, as well as skin soothing and replenishing ingredients such as aloevera or the ultra-moisturizer sodium hyaluronate.

Natural sources of peptide for skin

The peptides in supplements originate from plant or animal sources of protein like eggs, milk, meat, fish and shellfish, beans and lentils, soy, oats, flaxseed, hemp seeds, or wheat. Some peptides, however, such as copper, cannot be derived from your diet.

Dietary intake of collagen improves skin quality and its elasticity. However, some people find it easy to go for supplements, suggests Dr Sharma.

What are the benefits of Peptide, collagen in skincare?

There are hundreds of peptides naturally found in our skin and each one has a unique function. When we are young each peptide knows its function and does it very well. But then, mostly because of sun damage, peptides levels in skin decrease and many aspects of skin suffer, especially when it comes to wrinkles, sagging, skin discoluoration, hydration, and skin texture, says renowned skin expert Paula Begoun, Founder-Paula's Choice Skincare.

That's where lab-engineered peptides used in skin care step in to help by putting back the peptides that can help skin the most. Research has shown certain peptides work best to target an exact skin concern.

Some peptides help soften expression lines and wrinkles while others target skin elasticity. There are peptides that help improve skin discolourations and others that work with water channels (technically called aquaporins) throughout the layers of skin to improve hydration. That's why a mix of peptides in a skincare product can be so helpful as opposed to just using one or two.

Collagen is the most abundant substance in skin that helps hold it together. Think of skin cells as bricks and collagen is the mortar that holds skin cells together. Collagen is also the healing substance of skin. When skin is damaged, due primarily to unprotected sun exposure, collagen production increases to help repair skin.

With all the blowdry through the parties this festive season your scalp can take a beating. The scalp, just like the skin needs regular and thorough cleansing, rebalancing and moisturizing. Just like you need nutrition to preserve the beauty of the skin, you similarly need supplementing agents to preserve the quality of your scalp. But during the winter, with the temperature dropping, the dry air becomes the root cause of hair damage.

However, if skin is constantly being damaged, it can't make enough collagen to help it stay young and strong. Without ample levels of collagen, the skin weakens, resulting in sagging and the formation of wrinkles.

Ironically, as important a substance as collagen is in skin, it is relatively useless in skin care products.

That's because topically applied collagen isn't able to fuse with the natural collagen in skin, nor can it stimulate its production.

Thankfully, there are other types of ingredients that are able to help skin produce more of its own collagen. Primarily these are skin-repairing and skin-restoring ingredients that keep skin acting young.

This includes retinol, peptides, antioxidants, vitamin C, and hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides-on top of sun protection! If you're not protecting skin from sun damage, you're essentially allowing it to deplete your collagen all over again and undoing all the hard work that those ingredients provide to keep your skin young and healthy.

At what age one should ideally start using Peptide-infused skincare?

There is no age related to most aspects of skin care, especially considering all of us have accumulated sun damage from the time we were born (it is the rare person who uses sunscreen every day). So don't think of peptides as only fixing the problems you have now, as they also help prevent signs of ageing so you have less to deal with in the future. They help repair skin at any age making it more hydrated, resilient, able to defend against environmental damage, and overall making it healthier overall. That's why it's never too early to start-whether you're in your 20s or 60s peptides can help!

What should one look (amount of composition, etc.) at while selecting such products?

As mentioned above, it's important to look for several peptides in a formula and never just rely on one of two. It's also very important to know that skin needs more than peptides to be healthy and young. Skin is the largest organ of the body with a complex assortment of vital substances that skin is hungry for. Peptides are important but skin also antioxidants, skin-soothing ingredients, skin-replenishing ingredients and cell-communicating ingredients (cell communicating ingredients like retinol and niacinamide can directly tell skin cells to look and act like young skin does). This combination (along with daily use of sunscreen) can significantly improve skin.

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Results one can achieve while using Peptide infused skincare

The results you achieve depend on the blend of peptides the product contains along with the other ingredients skin needs. When the product is well formulated results can include:

» Renewed firmness and a plump, supple feel

» Minimized expression lines and wrinkles

» Visibly improvement for skin dullness or discolorations

» Balanced hydration

» Smoother skin

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