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Targeting Skin Renewal With Peptides

By: April Zangl
Posted: October 31, 2012, from the November 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
professional skin care client applying peptide-based serum

Peptides remain a buzz word in the world of anti-aging skin care due to their performance and their ability to be used by all skin types without causing irritation or sensitivity. It is likely that your clients have either heard of them, currently use peptide-based skin care or are interested in finding the right peptide-focused product. They continue to evolve and have developed a cult following along the way based on their results. It’s important to know where peptides originated and how they develop.

Peptides are proteins

Peptides are tiny protein fragments—think of them as a series of amino acids that improve cell communication—but the correlation of how important the composition of a peptide is to the body and skin is not always made. How exactly do protein fragments or amino acid chains improve the look and health of skin? In order to understand this, the significance proteins have within the body and skin must be realized.

Within the skin, collagen is made of protein, which is comprised of amino acids. In fact, collagen makes up for 25–35% of the whole body’s protein content,1 and this percentage is divided between at least 24 different types of collagen that contribute to everything from structural concerns, such as anchoring the skin together, to the appearance of skin’s elasticity on the surface. Awareness of the decline of collagen as a person ages, and the need to maintain healthy and ample collagen to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles is increasing. Many are unaware that other protein-based structures, including laminin and elastin, contribute to skin’s strength and to an overall youthful appearance, but also decline with age, similar to collagen. The role protein plays in the body is an essential one.

Aside from water, protein is the most abundant molecule in the body. Proteins do more than strengthen the body; they are essential to every organism and are required for nearly every process within cells. Hormones rely on proteins to transmit messages throughout the body. Proteins affect a person’s thoughts and emotions by supporting both neurotransmitters in the brain and enzymes that catalyze chemical reactions. They balance fluids and electrolytes, and assist in the regulation of the acid-base balance. They also serve as transportation vehicles for nutrients. An understanding of the role of proteins in the body serves as a foundation for comprehending the function of peptides. The role proteins play within the body correlates with the actions of four categories of peptides, including signal peptides, enzyme inhibitor peptides, neurotransmitter inhibitor peptides (otherwise known as neuropeptides) and carrier peptides.

Addressing aging

Peptides already exist naturally within the body. Protein is ingested through the diet, not only from meat, but also from a variety of plant sources, allowing people to obtain essential amino acids. These amino acids combine in specific sequences that result in peptides that perform a variety of critical functions. One of those functions is the process of creating collagen. A polypeptide undergoes a series of three processing reactions to eventually form a collagen molecule. Each collagen molecule is made up of 1,050 amino acids and creates a triple helix, where three protein chains are twisted together in a specific shape to form a sturdy, stable protein strand. These different strands of collagen then form a network with the body and skin, giving it its structure. By supplementing the skin from the outside with topically applied peptides, the outward reflection of supporting these natural processes is skin that looks and acts younger.

Sell More Spa Products by Understanding the Function of Ingredients

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