by Madeleine Arena, B.S., M.B.A.*
If you’ve read a fashion or beauty magazine, lately you’re probably aware of the astonishing claims quite a few companies have made about their products containing peptides. The claims range from lifting sagging skin, and plumping lips, to reducing dark circles and puffy eyes. Pretty terrific, right. Can peptides be the anti-aging answer we’ve been waiting for, or are they just another hype??
What are peptides?
Peptides are tiny pearls of proteins composed of long or short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Peptides may be natural or synthetic. Synthetic peptides are engineered in the lab and afford cosmetic chemists greater stability control and effectiveness in the skin care products they formulate.
The bottom line
There are compelling reasons to consider using peptides in skin care products. It’s important to keep in mind that the cosmetic industry perpetuates the idea that there is one miracle ingredient or group of ingredients that solves all anti-aging problems. Regretfully, that’s not true. There’s no single solution for all the signs of aging. But wouldn’t it be great if there was one!
Just as the body needs a variety of healthy foods and supplements to achieve optimum health; the skin, the most complex organ of the body, needs a medley of effective ingredients to make your skin appear as young and healthy.
Peptides are tiny pearls of proteins, composed of either long or short chains of amino acids; that can also start or stop a process. By interacting with target cells, peptides regulate many body activities. Proteins are broken into peptides by enzymatic action so they can exert their influence on the body. While some peptides are involved in hormonal activity, others are engaged in the immune system. Other peptides are cell-communicating ingredients that instruct cells how to react and behave. In skin care formulations peptides function as function as “messengers”, and have cell-communicating ability. Products containing peptides must be packaged so that they are protected from degrading – no jars!
Be an educated consumer. Peptide products that claim to work like botox or dermal fillers to reduce wrinkles won’t deliver. Simply put peptides can’t topically duplicate the results of an injectable material. The research substantiating these product claims usually comes from the company selling the peptide or peptide blend to the cosmetic company. More important, the level of the ingredient used in the company funded study is much greater than what is used in the actual skin care products, so the result cannot be achieved. Also, peptides cannot plump lips (at least not to a noticeable extent) nor can they lift sagging skin, lighten dark circles, or eliminate puffy eyes. These claims and more appear on products with peptides, but they are not supported by published, peer-reviewed research.
* Madeleine Arena is a cosmetic chemist who develops private label skin and hair care products for the trade. Madeleine can be reached through her website – www.tscsource.com
Use the form below to send questions to Madeleine.