How to Use Peptides In Your Skincare Regimen to Optimize Your Health








Reference Lab

MAY 16, 2022



Peptides are much more than the latest skincare phenomenon, they’re the real deal! These tiny proteins are what make up the cells in your skin, hair, and nails. Much like how you can’t make a sandcastle without sand, you can’t build up your skin elasticity without peptides and proteins.

Additionally, peptides are critical in regulating your biological processes and ensuring optimal cell function, which is why peptides should play an integral part of your current skincare regimen. Keep reading to learn the answers to the most commonly asked questions, such as “What is a peptide?” and “How can I incorporate peptides into my skincare regimen?”.

What are Peptides?

Amino acids are the “building blocks” of the peptides and proteins in your body. Much smaller than proteins, peptides are short chains of these amino acids, connected together from end to end, folding together to create the shape of a protein. 1

Peptides used in skin care products come in three forms: 1
  • Carrier peptides to deliver healing factors.
  • Signal peptides to trigger a biological response.
  • Neurotransmitter peptides to regulate muscle contraction, including inducing muscle relaxation.
When linked together into longer chains, called polypeptides, peptides dictate a protein’s structure. Besides providing proteins with their basic form, peptides also help skin cells communicate by working as tiny messengers that trigger the creation of collagen and elastin — compounds that give your skin its bounce and firmness. 1
The true power of a peptide, however, stems from its size. Because it’s much smaller than a protein, peptides can penetrate into areas that larger proteins can’t reach. Where other skincare ingredients fail due to their limitations in size, tiny — but mighty — peptides succeed.

How should peptides be used as part of your skincare routine?

Considering the significant benefits of peptides and their ability to induce profound changes in your skin, incorporating peptide-containing products into regimen should be strongly considered. When navigating how to use peptides in skincare, it’s important to note that they can be incorporated into your routine through two different routes: orally or topically.

Oral Peptide Supplements

Nutrition plays a predominant role in the health of all your bodily systems, including your integumentary system – your skin. Collagen peptides, for example, are bioactive nutrients that are proven to boost skin barrier function by increasing levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid, both integral for radiant and healthy skin. Peptides, being the building blocks of all living things, are first and foremost present in foods, especially the following protein-heavy foods. 2
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Beans and lentils
  • Hemp seeds
  • Wheat
You can also augment the peptides you obtain from your diet through oral peptide/protein supplements. A 2021 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, found that oral peptide supplements. 3
  • Increased skin hydration after 8 weeks
  • Enhanced collagen density in the skin after 4 weeks
  • Improvements remained even after 12 weeks of using peptide supplements
An oral peptide supplement delivers peptides via the digestive and circulatory system, but the gastrointestinal acids often degrade the peptide bonds into individual amino acids before circulation, then deliver those amino acids to all tissues in the body, not just skin.
Fortunately, peptides are also effective when used in topicals. Topical peptide supplements are an ideal way to deliver peptides straight to the areas you need them the most.
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Topical Peptide Supplements

Because of their size, peptides make excellent ingredients in topical skin care products. Their minute size enables them to penetrate the skin into areas where other ingredients would simply sit atop the skin barrier, whether in face wash, mask, cream, or serum form. Peptides can sink into the skin, encouraging the production of collagen and elastin in deeper layers. Numerous studies indicate that topical peptides can improve skin texture, strengthen skin barrier, prevent and heal photodamage, and diminish scars. It’s important to note, however, that not all peptides are made equal and some are larger than others with diminished penetration abilities. Therefore, peptides contained in skin care products should be tested for their ability to penetrate the skin’s deepest layers. 4,5,6


How often should you use topical peptides?

The recommended frequency of use for a topical peptide as part of your skin care routine ultimately depends on your preferences, the manufacturer’s directions, and your skin type. For most people, however, a twice-a-day application works best, typically in the morning and at night. Furthermore, a peptide that can be safely left on the skin in the form of a cream or serum can offer the best results. 4,5,6


Do topical peptides pair well with other ingredients used in your skincare regimen?

You’ll be happy to hear that peptide products pair well with most of your current skincare products. Unlike other ingredients, peptides don’t strip the skin (like retinol) or neutralize other ingredients (like salicylic acid). Peptides work excellently alongside other ingredients, like hyaluronic acids and vitamin C. Additionally, you may consider pairing harsh skin products, such as retinol, with the use of a peptide moisturizer to build the skin’s barrier back up. Therefore, there’s no need to throw away your expansive skincare collection! If you are interested in learning how to use peptides in skin care, know that you can simply add a peptide-containing product to your current routine to further optimize your skin health. There’s no need to worry about debating between incorporating peptides vs retinol into your routine - you can use them in tandem.


What should you avoid using peptides with?

Products with alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) may reduce a topical peptide’s effectiveness, so avoid using AHA’s with your topical peptide. Also, you want peptides to remain as close to your skin as possible and penetrate with optimal effectiveness. When using other skin products, makeup, or sunscreen, layer your peptide-product topically onto your skin first.


How can you determine which peptide product is best?

There are so many peptide products on the market these days that it’s hard to know which ones work the best for your skin type. When attempting to find the right peptide product, pay attention to the product’s scientific credibility and ensure there are validated studies to support the peptide’s safety and efficacy.
Penetration studies, in particular, are key studies that should be conducted on a peptide ingredient. These studies offer an evidence-based peek at how well a topical ingredient will travel through the skin’s layers, ultimately determining how effective a peptide can be when applied topically. 7.
OneSkin is one of a select few companies that use penetration studies to ensure product efficacy. We have performed extensive research to confirm the ability of our proprietary peptide, OS-01, to penetrate down to the dermal layer of skin. Additionally, our scientists have developed a body of data supporting OS-01’s ability to improve collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin production, increase the skin’s epidermal thickness, and improve skin’s barrier function. The OS-01 peptide is ideal for topical application due to its superior penetration capabilities and its positive and proven impacts on healthy skin function. If you’re looking for a peptide-product with strong scientific credibility, OneSkin’s OS-01 Topical Supplements are an ideal option.

Key Takeaways

  • Peptides are short chains of amino acids ( the “building blocks” of the proteins in your body) connected together from end to end.
  • A peptide’s small size enables it to penetrate deep into skin tissues, effecting change that can lead to an improved skin barrier, skin damage repair, improved skin texture, and improved skin elasticity.
  • Oral peptides can be obtained either through your diet or through oral peptide supplements. However, oral peptides, including collagen, are easily broken down by digestive acids and not delivered locally, therefore topical peptide-containing supplements offer a superior delivery method for skin health improvements.
  • Not all peptide-products are made equal. Before using a peptide-containing product, it’s important to confirm the peptide’s scientific credibility and penetration capabilities.
  • OneSkin’s line of Topical Supplements have been scientifically tested and validated, including through extensive penetration studies, confirming the OS-01 peptide’s ability to reach the dermal layer of skin.


Sources:

  1. https://www.dermatologytimes.com/view/what-are-cosmeceutical-peptides
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326701#summary
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26362110/
  4. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190134
  5. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-18454-z.pdf?origin=ppub
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892/#R62
  7. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/srt.12968

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.