When used in skin care, peptides can trigger communication between cells and positively restructure DNA. This can “turn back the clock” on common concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, melasma and sun damage.
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that act as building blocks for proteins in the body. They’re found in foods (such as eggs, milk and fish) and are the building blocks of hormones, neurotransmitters, growth factors and other substances that perform a wide range of essential functions in your body.
In the lab, peptides are used to make drugs that mimic or replace something your body makes naturally. For example, a peptide can be used to make an antibody that helps the body fight infections and to repair DNA. Some antibodies are already in use in medicine to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases, such as Herceptin for breast cancer and Humira for rheumatoid arthritis.
Besides making antibodies, peptides can be used in supplements and cosmetics. Collagen peptides, for instance, help the body build collagen and improve skin elasticity, while a copper-binding peptide promotes wound healing and muscle recovery. And antimicrobial peptides may protect against bacterial infections or produce melanin, a pigment that offers protection against sun damage.
Some peptides can even be used to make vaccines. They can trigger an immune response to treat a particular disease or infection, such as herpes simplex virus or chickenpox. The advantage of peptides is that they’re more targeted and less likely to cause side effects than small-molecule drugs.