13 03 what are peptides wrinkle creamsWhat are peptides, and why are they in many anti-aging skin creams?

Amino acids play a key role in the health of our skin by repairing and stimulating new growth. There’s one amino acid that’s getting some serious press these days, for it’s ability to reverse the signs of aging, known as peptides.

To understand how peptides work, one must understand how skin ages. Our skin is mostly made of collagen, a protein comprised of long strands of amino acids that provides the foundation of our skin. “[Collagen] is ample in youth, but disappears with age,” says Toronto dermatologist and Medical Director of Toronto Dermatology Centre Dr. Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC. While women under the age of 30 have ample amounts of collagen, as it breaks down over time our skin becomes thinner and prone to wrinkles.

As collagen deteriorates, it produces peptides. “Peptides are amino acids, which are important in making proteins, such as collagen and hyaluronic acid,” says Barankin. These amino acids send a message to your skin that it has lost collagen and needs to generate more. When peptides are applied topically through skin care products, it causes your skin to think that there is collagen breakdown. Consequently it sends a message to your body to produce more, promoting firmer skin, and fighting the signs of aging by minimizing wrinkles.

Peptides are not only effective as an anti-wrinkle remedy, they have other applications as well. “Some peptides appear to add sun protection to the skin by blocking ultraviolet light,” says Barankin. Other peptides are useful in reducing inflammation and healing wounds.