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What Are Peptides and How Can They Benefit Your Skin?

We break down the science behind how collagen boosting peptides, what they actually do for your skin and body and the best collagen-infused skincare formulas to add to your routine.

1. What are peptides?

    a. Are peptides safe?

2. How do collagen boosting peptides benefit your skin?

3. How to use peptides in your skincare routine

    a. Do collagen boosting peptides cause acne?

When we talk about skin aging, one tried-and-true ingredient that has been backed by science for its efficacy is collagen. Skincare enthusiasts love collagen for a solid reason: This protein is already found in tissues and organs and is touted as being the key to keeping skin supple and firm.

While collagen is a long-standing staple of anti-aging regimens, peptides for skin are the lesser-known part of the equation. Here’s everything you need to know about collagen benefits, how peptides work and all of the ways you can rebuild collagen in your skin.

1. What are peptides?

Peptides are the building blocks in your body that make up protein. When amino acids link together, they form chains called peptides. Once these peptides are formed , they assemble together to create proteins. The assembly of peptides can form different types of proteins that your body uses to build bone, cartilage, muscles, skin, hair and much more.

Collagen is a versatile source of protein and the main structural protein in the skin. Sure, there’s other important elements in the mix, but this protein makes up 75% to 80% of the dermis. The dermis (the second layer of skin) is where most of your collagen is found—and also where it’s produced. Skin cells in the dermis known as fibroblasts synthesize the collagen that holds the rest of the dermis together, giving skin its underlying structure.

There’s lots of buzz about collagen use in skincare or as a supplement. The thing about collagen is that it’s a relatively complex and large molecule, which means it doesn’t penetrate the skin when we use it in skincare. To get around the sizing issue, most moisturizers, serums and ingestible powders touting collagen as their main ingredient contain hydrolyzed collagen, also known as collagen peptides. Essentially, hydrolized collagen is collagen that has been broken down into smaller more easily dissolvable amino acid chains. These smaller molecules can get past the skin barrier and make their way into the dermis.

a. Are peptides safe?

Are peptides bad for you? The short answer is no. Your skin is in a constant cycle of collagen creation and breakdown, but we do hit a point when the cycle is off balance. After the age of 30, we lose 1% of our collagen stores per year—this is from increased collagen breakdown and slowing of collagen production, both caused from aging. The body already produces peptides and collagen, so supplementing them, either by ingesting them or applying them topically, is not only safe but also beneficial.

2. How do collagen boosting peptides benefit your skin?

More bad news: Existing collagen begins to break down—a process called fragmenting. The main cause is aging, but other factors such as exposure to pollution, smoking, stress and ultraviolet rays can wreak havoc by producing free radicals in our skin. These free radicals break down healthy collagen fibres, adding to the destruction of our remaining collagen.

Almost every desirable trait of healthy skin comes down to collagen. The more of this protein we have stored in our skin, the more plump, firm and radiant our skin looks. Peptides work to rebuild and repair damaged cells and signal the skin to produce collagen, slowing down the skin aging process. They also have antioxidant properties to neutralize the silent damage that occurs from our daily exposures. Peptides are a safe and effective anti-aging skincare ingredient for all skin types, including those with sensitive, dry or acne-prone skin.

And what about dietary collagen supplements? A collagen-rich diet or collagen supplements may also help support the skin, hair and nails. Preliminary studies from Skin Pharmacology and Physiology and Natural Medicine Journal suggest that ingestible collagen peptides may be more easily absorbed by the body (than when they are applied topically) and may subsequently boost collagen production in the skin’s deeper layers. Since collagen is a protein, many dermatologists believe that the digestive system will break down dietary collagen into amino acids before it ever reaches the skin. For now, more research is needed before committing to increased dietary collagen or collagen supplements for their anti-aging benefit. Until then, the amino acids from dietary or collagen supplementation can be used to promote the health of your hair and nails.

3. How to use peptides in your skincare routine

In the right formula, peptides help cultivate the radiant glow we all strive for. While taking supplements and adjusting your diet may help your skin, hair and nails, you’ll also want to consider adding Vichy’s collagen solution to your skincare routine to maximize the benefits of peptides on the skin.

Think of Vichy LiftActiv Collagen Specialist as your daily collagen boost, intensifying your own body’s production of collagen. Inspired by a new generation of aesthetic procedures, this collagen face cream harnesses two key ingredients for younger-looking skin: hyaluronic acid and rice peptides. It’s also formulated with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps brighten the skin. The rice peptides help ramp up collagen production, resulting in smoother, firmer and softer skin.

a. Do collagen boosting peptides cause acne


Peptides as a topical skincare ingredient are not linked to acne breakouts. But what about oral hydrolyzed collagen, also known as collagen boosting peptides, found in powders or gummies? The answer is still no. “Ultimately, peptides do not trigger acne but the vehicle in which they are delivered might,” says Dr. Sonya Abdulla, a Toronto-based dermatologist. “Whey protein supplements used to build muscle mass and muscle recovery are commonly associated with acne flare-ups since they may affect the hormonal profile and trigger inflammation, but collagen supplements are not.”


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