New ingredients continue to emerge every year, each one with claims loftier than the one before about how they will restore skin to its smooth, wrinkle-free toddler state. And I have always been very willing to offer myself up as a skincare guinea pig. Peptides may not be a new ingredient, but after slathering on many products, which they feature heavily in over the past few months, I have found myself impressed by their skin-transforming abilities.
So, what exactly is a peptide? They are organic chemical compounds derived from the building blocks or foundational chemicals of proteins and amino acids, explains dermatologist Dr. David Bank. They are shorter and linked by peptide bonds. And there is not simply one kind of peptide. Bank rattled off countless varieties from milk peptides to peptones to pentapeptides. And these strangely named chemical compounds happen to do wonders for the skin.
Peptides enhance and stimulate protein production so they are capable of repairing the skin, says Bank. And were not talking about dietary proteins here, but the vital proteins that actually compose the collagen network that make the skin supple and elastic. When that network collapses or flattens out due to age or sun damage, wrinkles and stretch marks appear. When the skin becomes weaker after expansion (pregnancy, weight gain), the fibrous proteins beneath the epidermal layer actually tear themselves apart resulting in ridges, furrows and discoloration.
Um, yeah; not so enticing. And thats where peptides can help. Most often found in products for the eyes and face you know, those areas that would usually benefit from toning, smoothing and collagen-building they are both potent and suitable for more sensitive types. Here, our current favorite peptide-packed products:
Nude Skincare Age Defense moisturizer, $78, at Sephora
Milk peptides combine with argan extract and pre and probiotics.
Ren Keep Young and Beautiful Serum, $75, at Space NK
With hexapeptides and wheat-derived native peptides, the name of this product kinda says it all.
Skyn Iceland Oxygen Infusion Night Cream, $75, at Beauty.com
This rice peptide-rich cream does wonders for stressed and acne-prone skin.
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum, $25, at Amazon.com and drugstores
Olays proprietary amino-peptide complex has made their Regenerist line a resounding success.
Dr. Dennis Gross MD Skincare Hydra-Pure oil-free moisture, $78, dgskincare.com
Antioxidants and peptides team up in this lightweight moisturizer.
Clark Botanicals Nourishing Youth Serum, $155, ClarksBotanicals.com
Two powerful neuropeptides combine in this anti-aging serum that is lovely to use in the summer months in lieu of moisturizer.
Strivectin Instant Moisture Repair, $59, Strivectin.com
Super hydrating and chock full of collagen synthesizing peptides.
Related: Magic Mushrooms: Origins New Fungi-Friendly Serum Works Wonders