If you follow skincare trends at all, you’ve probably heard the word “peptides” thrown around a lot lately. Peptides are short strings of amino acids that (under the right conditions) create proteins within our body. Proteins are involved in a wide variety of biological functions. They regulate hormones, optimize organ function, build muscle, and keep us healthy.
Peptides have the potential to do the same for our skin, but instead of regulating hormones, they help boost collagen production and reduce wrinkles. They can also improve texture and increase elasticity. In fact, the beauty industry has developed a whole new category of products that incorporate them: peptide-based skincare.
Unlike many cosmetic and supplement products, peptides are drugs that have been well-researched and are tightly regulated by the FDA. They’re often more effective than small-molecule drugs, and are also less likely to have off-target effects, which can lead to bad side effects. This is because they’re designed to be highly targeted, compared with large-molecule drugs that have many different functions.
Peptide drugs come in the form of pills, nasal sprays, and injections, which makes them more convenient to take than traditional medicine. There are even a number of peptide-based skincare products that can be applied directly to the skin. For example, a popular anti-wrinkle serum contains a signal peptide, which sends messages to cells in the face and neck area that accelerate the formation of collagen. The result is a firmer, more youthful appearance. There are also enzyme inhibitor peptides, which inhibit the activity of a specific protein in the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Other types of peptides are used to promote healing and support the skin’s structure, as well as reduce inflammation. Some are also being studied as potential cancer fighters and other health benefits. Insulin, the most famous peptide-based drug, is a 51-amino acid peptide hormone that works by triggering the release of glucose into the bloodstream. There are also other drugs derived from peptides, including the antibodies Herceptin and Humira, which fight cancer and rheumatoid arthritis respectively.
If you’re looking for a skincare product that can help you achieve younger-looking skin, we recommend you check out our Gentle Exfoliating Gelee with Moringa Seed Peptide. It’s an all-in-one cleanser, exfoliator, and moisturizer that leaves your skin feeling smoother and healthier. Plus, it’s formulated with a combination of other natural ingredients that work together to protect your skin from pollution, UV rays, and free radical damage. For a more in-depth look at all things peptides, we spoke to Grove’s personal care product development fellow, Celeste Lutrario, who shared her knowledge of all things peptides.