Should Peptides Be in Your Anti-Aging Skincare Routine?

TL;DR: Yes!


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In the beauty world, the word ‘peptides’ seems as ubiquitous as calls for ‘a healthy glow’ and battles with ‘uneven texture’. But what are they exactly, and are they as important as their prevalence indicates? As it turns out, peptides are much more than just a trending ingredient that will cycle out of popularity as quickly as it cycled in.

“Peptides are amino acids that act as building blocks for the skin," shares board-certified dermatologist Lian Mack. "Another way to say it? Peptides are the smaller parts of the larger structural proteins in the skin.”

Peptides not only occur naturally in our skin, but they are also a part of an even larger picture, as collagen is actually made up of three peptide chains (often called polypeptides), making peptides necessary for collagen production.

 We’re seeing peptides take a front seat in the anti-aging battle our skincare products are waging, because while collagen molecules are too large to absorb through our skin, peptides are not. That means that when we apply peptides to our faces, they can be absorbed past the outer layer of the skin and actually be used by our bodies. “Peptides act as signaling molecules, helping to boost collagen and elastin production,” explains Dr. Mack.

Plus, you can add peptides to the list of important proteins that our body starts to produce less of after we hit 30 (along with collagen and elastin), which means our skin can use the helping hand of receiving additional peptides in the form of our skincare routine.

Peptides play well with others, which is why you can often find them in products alongside other active ingredients. Depending on what other ingredients they are paired with, peptides offer a host of benefits including hydrating, firming and tightening the skin. They can also help reduce the look of pores, diminish redness, ease inflammation and help skin look plumper, therefore diminishing the look of wrinkles.

“When peptides are formulated into skincare, those products improve tissue repair and cell turnover and help prevent and treat the overall signs of aging,” adds celebrity esthetician Sarah Akram,

Both Akram and Dr. Mack recommend that everyone over the age of 30 incorporate peptides into their skincare routine. “Peptides are a valued anti-aging ingredient, so it’s important to incorporate peptides into your skincare regimen in your early 30s,” says Akram. "Using peptides in a nightly skincare routine helps the skin repair itself from environmental stressors encountered during the day and function to slow down the gaining process,” adds Dr. Mack.

If you’re 30+, you can’t go wrong when it comes to incorporating peptides into your skincare routine, but Dr. Mack recommends her patients use Monat Rewind Age Control Nectar, which contains a cocktail of active ingredients including peptides, AHAs and hyaluronic acid to even skintone and fight against fine lines and decreased elasticity. While Akram shares, “Environ Tri-Peptide Complex+ Avance Elixir keeps the skin firm and hydrated while working to maintain plumpness and improving the overall tone/appearance of skin.” We also love Fleur & Bee Crème da la Cream Brightening Moisturizer, which has peptides, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and squalane to plump and hydrate the skin, and if you’re looking to add peptides into your serum step, AMEŌN Aurora Glow Serum contains a combination of five peptides as well as vitamins C and E and niacinamide and offers a serious glowy, pampering skincare experience. You can also end your hunt for the perfect lip treatment after trying the Kosas Plump & Juicy Lip Collagen Booster — it’s packed with hyaluronic acid, peptides, and fatty acids that give you soft, smooth, hydrated, plump lips.

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