In short, peptides are the skin’s building blocks; they are the ultimate rejuvenating ingredient. Applied on a regular basis, peptides can continue to ‘feed’ and nourish the skin – stimulating the production of proteins which strengthen the dermal matrix; thus smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles for firmer, plumper and more resilient skin.
As such, many skin care brands have been incorporating peptides into their products to stimulate and support the natural self-repair process of the skin, and enhance the effects of other active ingredients, for example retinoids and hyaluronic acid, for hydration and to help combat the signs of ageing. One brand that has been particularly successful in incorporating peptides is The Ordinary, with its latest multi-peptide eye serum which targets puffiness and dark circles.
However, despite the obvious benefits of peptides there are some concerns regarding their supply; the proliferation of ‘grey market’ novel synthetic peptide hormones (SPH) through sellers on mainstream e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay. This commentary therefore seeks to explore the nature and extent of this burgeoning corner of the wider illicit market for HEDs in the UK.
It is a complex issue with multiple factors, but the primary concern is the ease at which individuals can purchase SPH through these e-commerce platforms. Unlike licit supplements, these products are not subject to the same rigorous regulatory controls as medicines. As such, it is far easier for individuals to buy and consume these compounds without any legal ramifications, and without being aware of their potential health risks. uk peptides