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It feels like there is a new skin care ingredient that is said to change your skin for the better. Some ingredients are more hype than action, but others are worth it.

Peptides, also called polypeptides, naturally occur in the skin, but they’re also included in many skin care products — and for good reason.

Peptides are amino acids that make up certain proteins needed by the skin. More specifically, collagen is made of three polypeptide chains, so adding peptides can stimulate your skin to make collagen. More collagen can lead to firmer, younger-looking skin.

Your body makes collagen naturally. But over time, collagen production decreases, which can cause skin to look more wrinkled and less even and bright. Before you reach for that bottle, here’s what to know.

The collagen molecule is actually too large to absorb through skin, which is why so many people choose to eat collagen-rich bone broth or take collagen supplements.

The body can use the peptides in the skin. Incorporating peptides into your skin care routine can have many benefits.

Improved skin barrier

The skin barrier is the body’s line of defense against bacteria, ultraviolet rays, pollution, and other toxins. The skin barrier can be damaged from over-exfoliation, exposure to cigarette smoke and other pollution, or even poor sleep. Peptides help build up a stronger barrier.

Reduced wrinkles

Collagen can plump skin and lips. When skin is firmer and plumper, wrinkles and fine lines will be less visible.

More elastic skin

In addition to collagen, peptides also make up elastin fibers, also a type of protein. These fibers make skin look firmer and tauter.

Eases inflammation

Peptides can help ease inflammation, repair damaged skin, and even out skin tone.

Can help clear breakouts

Some peptides are antimicrobial, meaning they can kill bacteria that cause acne.

The outer layer of the skin is more porous than the inside, so the Peptides sink in more deeply. They are messengers for the other cells. They send signals to the cells to make elastin and collagen.

It can be hard to know where to start with so many products with the same substance. Here is how to shop for skin care brands.

  • Pick the right form. You’ll want to choose a product like a serum or a moisturizer that has prolonged contact with your skin. A cleanser, for example, won’t be as effective because it’s rinsed off.
  • Choose other ingredients wisely. Peptides work well in tandem with other ingredients, including vitamin C, niacinamide, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acids. Using a peptide with an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) will actually make the peptides work less efficiently.
  • Look at the label. You ideally want to see peptides listed close to the top of the ingredient list. They may also be listed as “palmitoyl.”

Peptides are often touted as a miracle cure, with some saying peptides work as well as Botox. This is because neurotransmitter peptides can temporarily block chemicals that cause muscle contraction, but it’s not as effective as Botox.

There are still some drawbacks to be aware of, even though peptides can definitely be beneficial to your skin.

Considerations and drawbacks

  • Peptides are often very expensive.
  • Research is still developing. Other ingredients like AHAs and retinol are currently more scientifically backed pro-aging ingredients.
  • “Some of the different types of peptides won’t have an effect on the skin.”
  • The word “peptide” can be used as a marketing term, so ask a dermatologist or another trusted source for recommendations.
  • In rare cases, a peptide allergy can occur.

The building blocks of certain skin-related substances are called Peptides.

A product that contains peptides can lead to a younger looking skin and fewer skin problems. While they are generally safe, more research is needed on their efficacy.