12 Peptide-Powered Skincare Products for a Younger-Looking Complexion
As much as we're all told to love the skin we're in — and as much as we really, truly do! — that doesn't stop us from wanting a firmer, tighter, brighter complexion. And while those results used to go hand in hand with a trip to the cosmetic dermatologist, nowadays you can stroll down the beauty aisle for an OTC solution that, while not as instant as an injection, can be just as good. The trick is to look for products jam-packed with peptides. "Peptides are proteins that strengthen one’s own key proteins — collagen and elastin," says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection. "We need these building blocks to help reinforce our collagen because collagen synthesis wanes with age." That's the short of it, so we dug a little deeper to really learn why this ingredient is such a star in skincare.
"Peptides are bonds of amino acids, which are the building blocks for protein," says Sameer Bashey, a Beverly Hills-based cosmetic dermatologist at ZO Skin Centre. In addition to collagen and elastin, other integral components of skin, including the basement membrane zone (what attaches the epidermis to the dermis), are all made up of protein. "Our skin is actually comprised of 75 percent collagen protein," he says. "These proteins are constantly being updated and turned over. It is imperative that adequate peptides be provided to the skin during the turnover process, for building new collagen, healing, repair, and to decrease inflammation." In other words, peptides are an integral ingredient in any quality anti-aging skincare routine.
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If you're wondering why peptides are so important if protein is the main goal, take notes. You'd never want to rub a protein smoothie across your face — it not only would be messy but ineffective too. The reason peptides are so much different is due to their size. "Peptides are small molecules consisting of amino acids linked together," Loretta Ciraldo, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Loretta skincare, says. "When the amino acid chain is bigger, we classify it as a protein." That said, peptides are actually just small fragments of protein, but just as powerful when it comes to caring for the skin. "Because peptides are very small they can penetrate well into living layers of skin," she says.
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Now that you have a better grasp on the why of peptides, it's time to tackle the how. As with any new skincare product in your routine, you have to think about when to apply it to get the best results. "I like to apply peptide-based products after the skin has been washed, scrubbed, stripped of oil (toner), and after other ingredients, such as glycolic or salicylic acid, are applied," Bashey says. "It is generally the last thing I recommend to patients to put on their face in the morning before sunscreen." Lamees Hamdan, a Dubai-based medical doctor turned founder and CEO of Shiffa Skincare, takes it a step further and says that you want to use a form that it easily absorbed into the skin. As small and effective as peptides are, they'll only work if they have the chance to really sink in. "There is no use in having peptides in a cleanser that gets washed off, or in a thick cream that doesn’t fully get absorbed," she says, pointing out the light serums probably work best.
(Image via Luxy/Getty)
Now, as with any skincare advice, there's always two sides to a story. And, according to Ciraldo, the best method of application is with all your other skincare faves — save for sunscreen, that is. "At Dr. Loretta and within my practice, we advocate cocktailing products in the palm of our hand and then applying them together in a single step," Ciraldo says. "The only thing that you can't cocktail is your sunscreen, since the FDA suggests that this is put on last of all." Beyond how you choose to layer them into your daily regimen, Vargas says that's it's also a good idea to include weekly peptide masks in your routine for even more anti-aging results.
Armed with all the information you could ever hope for on peptides, it's time to put the products to work. Ahead, you'll find 12 of the most highly rated peptide products that will inspire you to make room on your vanity ASAP.
(Image via GI/Jamie Grill/Getty)
Revision Skincare Revox 7 ($130)
Joanna Vargas Bright Eye Hydrating Mask ($60 for five sets)
2. Dr. Loretta Tightening Eye Gel ($60)
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