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Peptides: Ready for Primetime?

By: Ahmed Abdullah, MD, FACS
Posted: June 28, 2011, from the July 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
skin care client using peptide-based formula

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With so much excitement surrounding peptides, the field of researchers investigating their potential is broadening, and their work is proving fruitful. In just the past few years, several new studies have demonstrated a wider potential for the use of peptides. For example, it is believed that the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory characteristics of certain peptides may prove useful in the treatment of psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.12, 13 As the development of synthesized peptides continues to move forward, it is expected the applications for peptides in skin care may broaden to include UV protection, treatment of an array of skin disorders, greater use as a melanin suppressant and much more.

However, while peptides are indeed showing promise as a capable and perhaps even impressive anti-aging ingredient, it’s important that their use be realistically approached. Currently, much of the enthusiasm surrounding their use is being fueled by consumer anecdotes of successful results. Although these are useful, they cannot be the measuring stick by which the ingredients you recommend are determined.

Until the true potential of peptides is better understood, it’s important to err on the side of caution by providing clients with the facts so they have realistic expectations before they purchase a peptide-based skin care product.


1. MP Lupo and AL Cole, Cosmeceutical peptides, Dermatologic Therapy 20 5 343–349 (2007)

2. C Cullander and RH Guy, Routes of delivery: case studies (6). Transdermal delivery of peptides and proteins, Advanced Drug Delivery News Rev8 291–329 (1992)