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Definition: Peptide

A peptide is a chain of protein molecules that serves as a messenger within your body. For your skin, this means that peptides transmit information back and forth between the dermis (the deeper tissue level of your skin) and the epidermis (the surface of your skin). Specifically, they tell the inner levels of your skin when the surface needs repairing.

As we age, the peptide messenger bonds deteriorate, and our skin loses the ability to repair itself as effectively. Skincare companies have begun to tap into the antiaging potential of peptides, hoping that using them in topical creams will mimic the body's natural production of them and stimulate the reformulation of collagen and general healing and brightening of the skin's surface.

As with any cutting-edge skin care, peptide-based products can be pretty pricey. Let me know if you would be interested in a product post about peptides!


Join The Conversation
belletrist9 belletrist9 9 years
Kallinik is right. Amino acids make up peptides. Peptides make peptide chains and peptide chains make up proteins. A peptide is really just any string of amino acids. Most peptides end up making proteins and they're a very, very general unit of the body. 20 amino acids are used to synthesize every single protein in your body, from your hair and nails to the collagen in your skin, to your DNA transcription factors, etc. There are a few classes of peptides that actually stay peptides. Ribosomal peptides and generally act as hormones or other signaling molecules. Nonribosomal peptides do the same but can also act as part of the body's antioxidant defense. What a peptide is meant to do and how and what it signals depends ENTIRELY on its amino acid sequence. Peptides are also not the body's only signalers. Neurotransmitters are a large group but cytokines are the biggest, comprised of signaling proteins and glycoproteins. Neurotransmitters are how your nerves talk to each other and cytokines are largely how your immune system communicates. When you say that as we age, the peptide messenger bonds deteriorate, what exactly do you mean? I will guarantee you that the physical bonds holding the peptide together aren't any different from the first day you were born. Neither does it make sense that the peptides have a harder time getting the message from the dermis to the epidermis. What's most likely is that the body simply stops producing as many peptides just as we stop producing as much collagen as we age (since biologically, it doesn't make very much sense to after we're past childbearing, and therefore mate-attracting, age). So the peptides in these face creams are ones that are supposed to mimic those that our body used to make and used to signal for increased collagen synthesis and "skin building." However, be very skeptical of some of these cosmetic and skincare companies' claims. A lot of those in marketing clearly believe that we, consumers, are stupid and easily awed by big chemical sounding words. A lot of of antiaging products now have "with oligopeptides!" on their labeling as if oligos were some new miracle drug - an oligopeptide is simply an amino acid chain that is less than 30-50 amino acids long. It says absolutely NOTHING about what the oligopeptide does.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
yes please! i used to do a lot of interviews with skincare experts, and all they talked about was peptides, peptides, peptides. i could use a few product recommendations.
jackiehenry jackiehenry 9 years
Yes please!
emily60608 emily60608 9 years
I use a Mary Kay gel with peptides ... it feels good but hasnt really diminished the tiny crows feet I'm starting to get!! I think its also a lot cheaper than other peptide products
sofi sofi 9 years
Yes, very interested. What I have been reading or what I remember (but would love more info) is that the peptides that skin care companies are trying to use are unique because of their size and ability to cross membranes- making them more effective messengers or carriers. Is this true? Of course, it is only in high priced products, right?
kallinik kallinik 9 years
Honey, a peptide consists of amino acid molecules. A protein is simply a polypeptide, not the other way round. I am sorry, but you got your definition wrong.
psyche2 psyche2 9 years
Can you review derm-a peptides plus wrinkle reversal creme? Heard a LOT of good things about it... also do peptides and vitamin c cancel eachother out? Or is that just copper peptides?
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
I'm interested
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Of course I would, no aging for me1 Hahahaha.
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