One important protein in our skin is collagen. Collagen gives our skin its thickness and suppleness.
Peptides are the molecules that build up from smaller molecules called amino acids by binding one amino acid after the other forming a chain. Peptides are chains of amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins in the skin. When peptides form a long chain of amino acids, they become proteins.
Shorter chains (up to 50-100 amino acids) are called peptides. Bigger chains (could be up to several thousand amino acids) are called proteins. Peptides are “smaller cousins” of proteins.
When they are in a short chain of amino acids, they are able to penetrate the top layer of our skin and send signals to our cells to let them know how to function.
When collagen breaks down in the skin (from age, environmental factors like the sun and stress or toxins in personal care products, meds, and household cleaners, etc.), wrinkles form. Peptides applied topically to the skin can send a signal to collagen to prompt the formation of new collagen. Collagen stimulating peptides in skincare products are essential for a healthy looking skin.
There are many peptides naturally present in the body and they typically perform signaling and/or hormonal function. Examples are insulin, endorphin, oxytocin, angiotensin, etc…
Skin proteins are naturally degraded by enzymes, and the products of such degradation are peptides called Matrikines. Matrikines are messenger peptides capable of regulating cell activities. This process trigger synthesis of new proteins, to replace degraded ones.
The protein collagen is a fibrous component of connective tissue, cartilage, and bone, and is abundant throughout the body. As you age, collagen production slows, and what remains begins to break down. The trigger synthesis of new proteins obviously gets slower and less efficient, which contributes to visible signs of aging. Peptides used in skin care mimic those matrikines. When applied they trigger the synthesis of new collagen, elastin, and other skin proteins. They build the dermis, epidermis, and lead to increased volume and smoothing of wrinkles.
Peptides occur naturally in the body and each peptide has a different mode of action.
1. Signaling peptides – stimulate receptors and consequently biochemical reactions for the synthesis of dermal and epidermal components (filler-like peptides)
2. Carrier peptides (delivery systems)
3. Neuropeptides that help relax wrinkles and help to transmit sensory information throughout the body. (Botox-like peptide)
4. Enzyme-inhibiting enzymes that improve under-eye bags, circles or hyperpigmentation
Besides ingredients which are called “peptides”, growth factors (epidermal growth factor, fibroblast growth factors etc) chemically also belong to the peptide group. They are signaling to trigger cellular replication, that way they increase the thickness of the epidermis (epidermal growth factor) and dermis (fibroblast growth factor).
Not at all peptides are created equal, and not all peptide creams are, either. Creams with peptides have shown the ability to reverse signs of aging much more efficiently than those that do not.
Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 (also known as Argireline formerly Acetyl Hexapeptide-3)
A neuropeptide which is often used as a muscle relaxer, blocks signals from the nerves to the muscles. The affected muscle can no longer contract, which causes the wrinkles to relax and soften. Acetyl hexapeptide-3 must be used on expression lines, or wrinkles like forehead lines, crow’s feet (lines around the eye) and frown lines. Wrinkles caused by sun damage and gravity will not respond to muscle relaxers.
Argireline study showed it reduces wrinkles by 30% over a 30-day period.
Some experts believe that the chains of amino acids in Palmitoyl Oligopeptide communicate with the skin’s collagen and boost its production. It works to increase collagen and hyaluronic acid levels. Palmitoyl oligopeptide can help shield the skin from the damaging effects of UV rays.*Repairs signaling sequences and have been developed as cosmetic ingredients that enhance skin rejuvenation.
Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 (also known as Matrixyl and previously known as Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4)
It is a synethsized chain protein linking five amino acid peptides. This chain creates a response in the dermis of the skin that stimulates collagen and elastin fibroblasts and glycosaminoglycans. A small molecule that penetrates the skin easily and is structurally similar to the precursor of collagen type I. It is effective against wrinkles as retinol but less irritating. It improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and the skin’s moisturization levels, and over time, its firmness. *Repairs signaling sequences have been developed as cosmetic ingredients that enhance skin rejuvenation.
* The extracellular matrix (ECM) in the basement membrane that separates the epidermis from the dermis also serves as a mediator of receptor-induced interactions between cells, guiding growth and differentiation. Damage to the ECM leads to repair that is initiated through processes such as protein synthesis and cell differentiation and proliferation. Most of these functions are related to signaling by peptides that are released from the ECM to cells through cell membrane receptors. Products containing these ingredients may be applied as frequently as several times per day.
Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 (also known as Rigin)
Rigin is a peptide that mimics DHEA in the skin. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone produced by your body’s adrenal glands. DHEA tends to improve skin brightness, to counteract the papery appearance of skin and epidermal atrophy, a characteristic feature of hormone-related skin aging. Reduces the production of interleukin-6 (IL-6) by key skin cells, keratinocytes and fibroblasts. IL-6 promotes inflammation which leads to faster degradation of the skin matrix. Has the ability to boost elasticity and firmness of skin. It can also improve skin hydration and smoothness by controlling the secretion of cytokines. Cytokines are cell signaling molecules that aid cell to cell communication in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection, and trauma. CYtokines can regulate the metabolic pathways within cells of muscle, adipose tissue, central nervous system, and liver.
Rigin is often combined with other ingredients, such as palmitoyl oligopeptide, to create a synergistic effect that boosts skin rejuvenation.
Improves lymphatic circulation. The anti-inflammatory properties help minimize eye puffiness and fluid retention under the eyes. It inhibits the enzyme ACE that causes fluid retention and interferes with lymphatic drainage. Its structure resembles lipids found in the epidermis of the skin that help skin retain moisture. Enzyme ACE (Acetylcholinesterase) primary function is to catalyze and promote the breakdown of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. It helps facilitate communications between nerve cells and muscle cells. Acetylcholine is a chemical that is found between the nerve synapses, or gaps, between nerve cells. When activated, it causes the contraction of skeletal muscles and activates glandular functions in the endocrine system.
Most skin care products contain only a few peptides or none at all due to their high prices. While others will put in as many peptides to boost sales but may not necessarily provide the effect required. Using the combination of the right Peptides will provide better results. Applying peptides topically to your skin helps to signal the production of collagen. Peptides are crucial elements in skincare products to ensure healthy skin especially as we get older.
Acti-Labs products that contain Peptides:
✧ UltraDerm (ACETYL HEXAPEPTIDE-8, PALMITOYL PENTAPEPTIDE-3, PALMITOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3, PALMITOYL OLIGOPEPTIDE)
✧ MesoDerm (PALMITOYL PENTAPEPTIDE-3, PALMITOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3, PALMITOYL OLIGOPEPTIDE)
✧ 35+ Radiance Cream (Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide)
✧ Face Food (ACETYL HEXAPEPTIDE-8, PALMITOYL PENTAPEPTIDE-3, PALMITOYL TETRAPEPTIDE-3, PALMITOYL OLIGOPEPTIDE)
✧ Eye & Lip Concentrate (acetyl hexapeptide-8, acetyl tetrapeptide 5, dipeptide-2)
✧ Eye Candy (acetyl hexapeptide-8, acetyl tetrapeptide 5, dipeptide-2)
✧ Tightening Smoothing Base (ACETYL HEXAPEPTIDE-8)
✧ New 3D Corrector (PALMITOYL PENTAPEPTIDE-4)
✧ Foundation Primer (Hexapeptide-3)
✧ Creme Foundation (Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5)
International Journal of Cosmetic Science
In vitro skin penetration of acetyl hexapeptide-8 from a cosmetic formulation
Dual functional bioactive-peptide, AIMP1-derived peptide (AdP), for anti-aging
Peptide delivery to tissues via reversibly linked protein transduction sequences
A single-center clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of a tripeptide/hexapeptide antiaging regimen
Book: Cosmetic Dermatology. By Graf J. Chapter 2: Anti-aging skin care ingredient technologies. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 17-28.
What is Acetylcholinesterase? – Function & Definition
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