Peptides have been one of the hottest topics of medical and para-medical cosmetics conventions in the past year. These small molecules are currently used in professional cosmetic products and are considered to be highly effective ingredients in anti-aging and skin restoration treatments. Peptides play an important role in healing injuries and repairing the skin, encouraging the production of collagen, relieving inflammation, and more. These benefits have been proven by clinical studies. Thanks to their ability to mediate key biological functions, the leading and most advanced companies in the cosmetic industry are turning peptides into the new weapon in the war against skin aging. But how exactly is it done? The following article shall elaborate on this topic.
Peptides are chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. They constitute an important component in all the cells in our body, including, among others, the skin cells. Each peptide contains 3–5 amino acids. The peptides used in the field of cosmetics are biomimetic peptides (Biomimetics = the mimesis of the body ’s natural biological function) – short peptides containing 3–6 amino acids, which in effect, mimic the natural biological function of the larger peptides produced in the skin. The peptides’ roles in the skin are diversified, as they operate to improve its appearance and texture in several ways:
- ENCOURAGING THE COLLAGEN PRODUCTION
When the skin is exposed to trauma and is damaged, peptides are released from the proteins found in it (the collagen, elastin, etc.). These peptides fulfill different roles in the repair and healing process. They operate as mediators between the cells and the skin layers, signaling to the cells that different healing functions must be performed. Among others, they influence the fibroblast cells— the cells of the connective tissue responsible for the collagen production. The peptides signal to the fibroblasts that collagen production must be increased, and that it must be transported to the site of injury. Therefore, the biomimetic peptides inserted into the skin using the cosmetic products “mislead” the skin into thinking that it has been exposed to injury and thus must produce more collagen.
- INCREASING THE PRODUCTION OF ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT SKIN FACTORS
In addition to the collagen, the peptides also contribute to increasing of the production of additional important skin factors. These factors include hyaluronic acid, proteoglycans (heavily glycosylated proteins that maintain the skin ’s water content), and more.
- FIRMING THE SKIN AND IMPROVING ITS STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION
When our skin begins to age, the connection between the epidermis and the dermis layers dwindle down, which leads to a reduction in the skin’s elasticity, damage to the passage of oxygen and nutritional substances, the disposal of waste, and more. Studies have found that certain peptides are able to accelerate the production of the fibroblasts and keratinocytes to rebuild the connection between the dermis and the epidermis. Moreover, this production assists the formation of additional essential structures in the skin, such as laminin—molecules which grant the skin structure and connectedness. In addition, some peptides are able to refill the connective layer—the dermal-epidermal junction—which supports the epidermis and connects it to the dermis, and thus lead to the reconstruction of the skin, and improve the skin structure and function.
- PROTECTING THE COLLAGEN FROM THE GLYCOLYSIS PROCESS
The glycolysis process creates a reaction between the glucose in the cells and the collagen. This reaction damages the collagen leading to the formation of wrinkles and the sagging of the skin. It has been found that certain peptides operate to protect the collagen from this damaging process.
- REDUCING EXPRESSION LINES
Certain peptides have the ability to block the transmission of nerve signals to the facial muscles, particularly a peptide called Argireline. Clinical studies have proven that this peptide has the ability to block the release of neurotransmitters. In practice, it has been found that Argireline disrupts exocytosis – the final neurotransmission stage before muscle movement. Similarly to Botox injections, this distribution causes the facial muscles to relax. The result is a substantial improvement in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, without requiring injections and the side- effects they may entail.
- INHIBITING INFLAMMATION PROCESSES
Chronic inflammation processes contribute to the destruction of the proteins in the dermis layers and indirectly lead to the premature aging of the skin. As part of their role as mediators in the healing processes, the peptides (found in Perfect Time) signal the skin to release immune system cells in order to accelerate the healing and inhibit the inflammation processes in the skin.
- REGULATING THE MELANIN PRODUCTION
Melanin—the pigment that grants the skin its tone— is produced in the melanocyte cells in the skin. The uncontrolled production of melanin is caused by increased sun exposure, hormonal changes due to pregnancy, taking birth control, taking multiple medications, and other additional factors. This uncontrolled production leads to the appearance of pigmentation spots. It has been found that regular use of peptide-based products effectively assists with lightening pigmentation and age spots, providing an evener skin tone.
*HL magazine article