Join the peptides squad

Posted on August 4th, 2010 by Michelle

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of using a product containing a special, highly touted ingredient to make you look younger even though you have no idea what it is or what it does.  Yeah, us too.  We are familiar with pep squad, pep talk and even Pepto-Bismol. But peptides?  Other than knowing they’re those curious little additions to our anti-aging creams that company’s insist are importany, we hadn’t a clue.

Turns out, peptides are amino acids, or the building blocks of protein. There are basically four types of peptides used in skin care products: acetyl hexapeptide-3, palmitoyl pentapeptide-3, palmitoyl oligopeptide and copper peptides.  Each is thought to have a different, positive effect on skin, but there isn’t a lot of research to back up claims made by the product manufacturers.

As popular as peptides are, whether or not they are worth all the hoopla may be in the face of the user. In one post, calls the anti-wrinkle, anti-aging claims bunk, saying there is little or no supporting evidence.  Another post says that “recent evidence indicates certain peptides can interact with skin to trigger biological activity,” but also notes that the tests were done on tetrapeptide, which wasn’t found in products when that article was originally written.

If you are reading labels, peptides break down like this:

  • acetyl hexapeptide-3 is thought to relax facial wrinkles
  • palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 and palmitoyl oligopeptide may stimulate production of collagen and hyaluronic acid in various layers of the skin, increasing elasticity and smoothness
  • copper peptides, according to, “have been studied due to their ability to encourage the skin to heal wounds” … a peptide pep talk for the skin? The website adds that because they’re not an anti-wrinkle ingredient, they aren’t used in today’s skin care products like they were years ago.
  • palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 is one of the few peptides with research to support its effectiveness. It has been shown to slow glycation damage.

Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop, says that peptides can’t be proven or disproven as topical applications because they aren’t absorbed enough into the skin.  The bottom line is that it appears that using them won’t hurt your skin, and a unproven possibility that they do help.  Having peptides as the main ingredient of a product, however, isn’t reason enough to buy it.

More information on peptides can be found on these sites:

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150BC Romans use yellow eye shadow.

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