Peptides can be found in a wide variety of skin care products today, and there’s a lot of buzz around them. So what are peptides exactly, and what is all the hype about? As to the first question, it’s also important to understand amino acids and proteins. here’s the simplified answer:

Amino acids are the most basic building blocks of proteins, and form some of the most essential compounds to the human body. Amino acids chain together to form peptides. Peptides group together into polypeptides, which then form together into proteins.

So, simply put, peptides are essentially protein fragments, and polypeptides are compounds formed by multiple peptides, and serve more specific functions in the body. Most of the peptides commonly found in popular skin care items are polypeptides, specifically the sort of polypeptides that interact with skin cells, muscles, and collagen production.

These peptides all serve vastly different functions, so to explain why they are such a big deal and are such highly sought after skin care ingredients, we’ll focus in on the function of a few of the most popular skin care peptides.

Acetyl hexapeptide-3, more commonly known as Argirilene, is a fragment of the protein Snap-25, the same protein that Botulinum toxin (Botox) interacts with to reduce deep wrinkles and lines caused by facial muscle contraction. Being a Hexapeptide, it is formed of six peptides linked together. Argirilene acts in a very similar way to Botox, by inhibiting reactions in the body that cause certain facial muscles to contract while smiling or frowning, visibly reducing wrinkles and fine lines. It is arguably the most popular peptide in the skin care market.

Matrixyl 3000 is composed of a palmitoyl-tripeptide, made up of three peptides, and palmitoyl-oligopeptide, composed of four. This pair of polypeptides are designed to work together to simulate the structure of broken down collagen. This signals the skin to produce the two most important proteins for healthy skin: collagen, the main structural protein in connective tissue that provides structure and fullness to the face, and elastin, the protein responsible for the skin’s elasticity. Based on a research study conducted by the company that owns the patent, Matrixyl 3000 was shown to be more effective at improving skin health than the original Matrixyl.

Syn-ake is a peptide that is formulated to reduce signs of aging such as crows feet and wrinkles. It is designed to mimic the effects of the peptide Waglerin 1, which is found in the venom of the Temple Viper. That may sound intimidating, but by replicating the effects of the venom in a controlled way, Syn-ake can safely reduce muscular contractions and cell movement, helping prevent and reduce the formation of wrinkles.

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 is a chain of three peptides that deeply penetrates the skin into the deepest layers, allowing it to stimulate collagen production and healthy tissue growth. Early studies also suggest that it can communicate with skin cells, by replicating the body’s natural communication mechanisms, and cause them to flush out harmful toxins, or render them inert. This combination of functions makes this peptide highly effective at improving and maintaining skin health.

All of these peptides are topical, meaning they can be applied externally to the skin via serums and creams. This eliminates the need for painful injections. Also, because they vary so much in their function, it is more effective to incorporate several of these peptides into your skin care regimen.

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