Peptides For Skin: What Are They, Benefits, And Side Effects

Reviewed by Dr.Vindhya L Veerula, MD, FAAD
Written by Ramona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach

Serums, lotions, night creams, emulsions, or be it any other skin care product, you will find peptides everywhere. Peptides for skin serve multiple purposes, and there are so many reasons why they are found in almost all products.

Peptides naturally occur in the skin and are crucial for collagen production. In other words, applying peptides to your skin can help it make collagen, giving you youthful, firm, and better skin. Sounds intriguing, right? Read on to learn more about the benefits of peptides, what else they can do for your skin, and how to use them.

What Are Peptides?

What are peptides for skin

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Peptides are chains of amino acids and building blocks of proteins in your body. When amino acids combine in various formations, they create a variety of peptides. And when peptides are formed in a certain way, they create specific proteins.

If you are wondering why this information is important, read on.

Proteins are the most basic building blocks of your skin, organs, and tissues. And collagen is one of the most important proteins in your body. About 75%-80% of your skin is made up of collagen protein.

That’s why when your collagen production is optimal, your skin looks beautiful. And this is where peptides can help you – by boosting your collagen production. Let’s explore this in detail.

What Do Peptides Do For Your Skin?

What peptides do for the skin

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With age, the collagen production declines. As a result, your skin sags and loses its elasticity, and you get wrinkles. Incorporating peptides into your skin care routine can help to a great extent. You can use both topical and oral peptides (which we’ve discussed later). Here’s how peptides help your aging skin:

1. They Have An Anti-Wrinkle Effect On Your Skin

In a double-blind clinical study, researchers studied 20 women between the ages of 40 and 62 years. They were given a formula containing 3% collagen-like peptide and 1% booster molecule. They applied the gel on their eye area for four weeks. The results showed a significant reduction in the surface as well as the depth of wrinkles (1).

2. They Help Reduce Erythema

Erythema or redness of the skin may occur due to a variety of reasons, including infection, inflammation, or increased blood flow in your superficial capillaries. A six- month study on 20 subjects found that both Carnosine (a dipeptide molecule) and N- acetylcarnosine (related to the dipeptide Carnosine) can help reduce erythema when applied to the skin. The researchers also found that these two peptides had antioxidant properties (2).

3. It Improves Skin Firmness And Elasticity

In two separate studies, each examining the anti-wrinkle and anti-sagging effects of Trifluoroacetyl-tripeptide-2, it was found that this peptide improved skin firmness and elasticity and reduced skin sagging (2).

4. They Have Anti-Inflammatory Effects

According to a study, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 has anti-inflammatory effects on your skin. It suggests that this peptide reduces the secretion of IL-6, thus decreasing inflammation after UVB exposure. A blend of palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 and palmitoyl oligopeptide also improves the extracellular matrix structure (a network of extracellular macromolecules including glycoproteins, enzymes, and collagen that supports the cells) (2).

There are about hundreds of peptides out there. However, only a few are used for skin care. Here’s a breakdown.

Best Peptides For Your Skin

Topical peptides are mainly classified as:

1. Carrier Peptides

These are X-50 Myocept, Copper Peptides, etc.

Carrier peptides help in carrying stabilized trace elements like manganese and copper to your skin. These trace elements help in boosting collagen development, improve your skin elasticity, and aid wound healing (2). Copper peptides are commonly used in anti-aging skin care.

2. Neurotransmitter Inhibitor Peptides

These are XEP-30, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-28 Argireline, Syn-Ake, etc.

Neurotransmitter inhibitor peptides inhibit your muscle contraction, giving your skin a botox-like effect. If your muscles do not contract, there is no scope for wrinkle formation. However, this peptide only works on the wrinkles formed by the expression lines and not the ones caused by pollution, sun exposure, and other factors (2).

3. Enzyme Inhibitor Peptides

These are Trylagen, Trifluoroacetyl tripeptide-2, Silk fibroin peptides, Soybean peptides, etc.

These peptides inhibit all the enzymes that break down collagen in your skin. In this way, your skin ages slowly. Most of these peptides usually prohibit the functions of Matrix Metalloproteinases or MMPs. This is a group of enzymes that break down collagen when it develops rapidly (2).

4. Signal Peptides

These are Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-7, Copper Peptides, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Matrixyl-3000, etc.

As the name suggests, these peptides usually send signals to the skin to boost the production of elastin, collagen, and any other protein that the skin might need to stay fresh and young.

Now, the question is, how do you get these peptides? Here’s a list of foods you can include in your diet to increase the peptide content in your system.

Natural Sources Of Peptides That You Should Consume For Healthy Skin

1. Milk

Milk as a natural source of peptides for skin

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Milk is one of the most abundant sources of dietary peptides. The bioactive peptides contained in milk were the first food-derived peptides that were widely studied. Milk is rich in whey protein and casein. After digestion, both these components can be processed into a number of peptides that have antimicrobial and therapeutic benefits (3). Just be careful as dairy consumption can cause inflammation. Choose organic and grass-fed varieties as much as possible.

2. Eggs

These are rich sources of dietary peptides. The peptides IRW and IQW have anti-inflammatory properties and also contain antioxidants.

3. Soybean

Soybean as a natural source of peptides for skin

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Soybean and many other beans contain peptides that are associated with numerous health benefits. A study claims that soybean peptides have antioxidant and anti-fatigue properties. It also claims that soybean peptide can increase Type I collagen in your body (4).

4. Fish And Meat

Fish, especially marine fish, is a rich source of essential peptides and proteins. The peptides in fish can prevent photoaging of the skin. The fish bones and skin are especially rich in collagen. Marine-derived collagen is mostly used in skin care products and is a very effective free radical scavenger (5).

Even meat, such as pork, beef, and chicken, is a rich source of bioactive peptides (6).

Nutrition is key to get healthy and glowing skin. Oral intake of peptides through food and supplements improves collagen synthesis and skin hydration levels and repairs your skin’s natural barrier (7).

Side Effects Of Peptides

Side effects of peptides for skin

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When you start using peptide products, you may notice some side effects and symptoms. These include:

  • Redness
  • Inflammation
  • Itching
  • Rash

To avoid this, always make sure to do a patch test before using a product. Also, before using any peptide, make sure to find out whether you are allergic to it or not. It is better to consult a dermatologist before using any skin care product.

Peptides are present in almost all anti-aging creams, serums, and lotions. They rebuild your skin, repair cellular damage, and boost collagen production to slow down signs of aging. Peptides are the superstars of any anti-aging skin care routine, and the best part is that they suit all skin types and rarely cause any irritation. If you want to use peptides for skin care benefits, get concentrated serums and overnight masks containing peptides. That will allow your skin the time to absorb the ingredient, and you will notice visible results.

You may also consult a doctor before introducing peptides into your skin care routine.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Collagen-like peptide exhibits a remarkable..”, International Journal of Tissue Reactions, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Topical Peptide Treatments with..”, MDPI
  3. Food-Derived Bioactive Peptides..”, BioMed Research International, Hindawi
  4. Effects of soybean peptide..”, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Marine Fish Proteins and Peptides…” Marine Drugs, US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Bioactive Peptides from..”, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine.
  7. The effect of oral collagen peptide..”, Wiley Online Library
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Dr.Vindhya L Veerula

(MD, FAAD)
Dr. Veerula (Dr. V) is a diplomate of the American Board of Dermatology, a Fellow of the American Academy of... more

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