Peptides: what are these super smart ingredients?


They’re not just amazing, they’re essential

Peptides NORMAL.jpg
Peptides NORMAL.jpg
Welcome to our Marie Claire Masters series, a new regular beauty franchise that celebrates and utilizes the expertise of women who are bossing it in their fields. Each month these Masters will educate, demonstrate and impart some of their industry wisdom to you the dedicated Marie Claire reader. From current trends and hot topics to how tos and how not tos, these beauty whizz kids are at our beckon call. So get reading, you never know what you tips you might pick up. KT – Digital Beauty Editor

Hello, I’m Paula Begoun, founder of the skincare line Paula’s Choice, and today I start my role as the Marie Claire Skincare Master. In my columns I will be de-bunking skin myths, letting you in on skincare secrets and telling you exactly which ingredients the skincare industry is currently obsessed with and why.

We start with an ingredient that’s having somewhat of a moment: peptides.

What are peptides?

Peptides are found naturally in skin. They are composed of a vast range of tiny fragments of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are a fundamental building block of skin. On their own, peptides are part of the body’s complex communication system that tells different aspects of skin to do a better job.

What do peptides do?

Peptides are an absolutely fascinating group of ingredients that ongoing research has proven can benefit several age related (mostly from sun damage) skin concerns. Whether you’re struggling with wrinkles, loss of firmness, discolouration, dehydration, dullness, and so on, there are specific peptides that can make a difference for each one. However, it really takes a range of peptides to help fight multiple skin problems, there isn’t one that does everything.

While peptides are a natural component of skin, in their natural form they are very fragile, unstable ingredients. To stabilise and create peptides that can actually be absorbed into skin, remain intact, and therefore be able to positively impact skin, they are lab-engineered. When science figured out how to do this, the possibilities and number of peptides available exploded.

Each “designer” peptide can be created to specifically activate a youthful element of skin, for example a peptide to make more collagen, or deactivate a problem in skin, like stop making so much abnormal melanin.

Here are a few peptides names to look out for on ingredient lists on the backs of products:

Types of peptides

  • Tripeptide-1 helps with firmness
  • Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-12 these smooth wrinkles and enhance hydration by strengthening the skin’s barrier
  • Myristoyl Hexapeptide-16 and Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17 help minimise redness
  • Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate improves how skin cells function
  • Azelaoyl Bis-Dipeptide-10 diminishes the appearance of forms of pigmentation, like brown spots

Anyone from teenagers to pensioners can benefit from applying products with peptides, just like they can from other healthy skin ingredients, like niacinamide, vitamin C, antioxidants and omega fatty acids etc. For younger people, it will help stave off the appearance of ageing and for those who are a little older, they can improve the skin look and feel.

Although peptides are an exciting advancement in skincare they have limitations. Any great anti-ageing skincare routine should contain a healthy mix of skin-replenishing ingredients, antioxidants, and other a healthy dose of other anti-ageing ingredients and the best ones do.

Here are a few products with peptides that I recommend

1. Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Firm + Lift Treatment Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, from £56.70 Fabled

peptides Estee Lauder

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peptides algenist

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peptides Paula's Choice

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Why not add one of these to your basket and let us know how you get on? Remember to give a product around a good eight weeks of testing.

See you next month!

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