Types of Peptides in Cosmetics

In recent decades, there have been several peptides developed and many different types of ingredients that offer to formulators as “ingredients that are active”. You can find molecules claimed to turn off melanocytes, even grow hair, boost collagen production. Once the ingredients are marketed a cosmetic drug if they worked and be illegal to sell. If the claims are worded properly some of the active ingredients can be incorporated in the right way and your marketers can use them to urge the consumer to purchase. The popular active ingredients are the peptide. In this article, we are going to look at peptides in more detail.

Cosmetic peptides

If you have taken any biochemistry or biology you may have heard of the word peptide. The word peptides have been used in the marketing stories for decades and with cosmetic consumers. Peptides are a short chain amino acid. Amino acids are what creates all proteins.

Peptides are a lot different to proteins in that they don’t have the same type of secondary folding structure and are much shorter. A chain hooked together with 50 or fewer amino acids are called peptides. Proteins are very organised and very large in a way that they have biological properties e.g. proteins are components of skin and hair. Some peptides are made synthetically to mimic the function of natural peptides and others occur naturally inside the body.

Why are peptides used?

In cosmetics, peptides can be used for various reasons depending on the peptides that are used also. The main primary reasons include anti-irritation effects, anti-aging effects, and marketing. One of the main reasons effectively is the marketing story that peptides tell you. Peptides used in cosmetics do provide some evidence that they do work.

Types of peptides

There are 4 types of peptides these include enzyme inhibitor peptides, signal peptides, neurotransmitter inhibitor peptides, and carrier peptides. There are also many currently being tested for research, you can find more info about them at peptidesuk.com.

Enzyme inhibitor peptides

Enzyme inhibitor peptides decrease the breakdown by proteins and collagen by process interference that breaks down the proteins. E.g. enzymes like matrix metalloprotease and MMP degrade collagen structural proteins. Peptides that are extracted from proteins that are rich can repress MMP enzyme activities, therefore, keeping more collagen around. Enzymes can also be inhibited specifically proteases through peptides derived from soy proteins. They may have some potential for reducing pigmentation and inhibit hair growth.

Signal peptides

Signal peptides such as Ipamorelin can be used in skin cosmetics as they can cause stimulation to skin fibroblasts which will produce more elastin, other proteins, and elastin in the matrix of the dermis. If these structured proteins are boosted this can make the skin look fuller and firmer. GHK was one of the 1st discovered peptides. In the early 1970s, it was originally isolated from human plasma.

Neurotransmitter inhibitors

Neurotransmitter peptides inhibit acetylcholine released by various interactions chemically and are added to cosmetics in ways of reducing wrinkles. The most extreme neurotransmitter includes the botulism toxin (Botox) and the poison curare. Some peptides that are less invasive have been developed for use on the skin and the hypothesis to relax the facial expression muscles which would cause a lot of fewer wrinkles.

Carrier peptides

Carrier peptides deliver trace elements such as magnesium and copper which can help with enzymatic processing and wound repair. These trace elements have been shown to improve the elasticity of skin, skin appearance, and pro collagen synthesis.

Do peptides in cosmetics work?

From a marketing point of view they do work to sell the product.
From a cosmetics point of view, they shouldn’t be allowed to work. With the ingredients claiming they do work if this is true, then these peptides should be considered as a drug and not a cosmetic. If the products work, then they would be misbranded drugs. If they are a cosmetic, then they do not work.
Some research evidence has shown when GHL-Cu is applied to the skin topically it will have a firming effect.