Everything You Need to Know About Peptides: The versatile skincare ingredient that boosts any skincare routine

Photo Credit : Biossance

While other ingredients might generate more hype, peptides are an under-the-radar option that has long been used in skincare formulas–well over 40 years in fact–and for good reason. Versatile and with a wide safety profile, peptides are essential for healthy skin function and a must-have in all skincare routines, according to dermatologists.

Let’s start with the science: Peptides are fundamental components of cells that carry out important biological functions. Structurally, peptides are made up of chains of amino acids–or fragments of protein–and these proteins are the building blocks of skin. In the context of skincare, proteins almost always refer to collagen, the protein that gives your skin its structure and peptides, when applied topically, can stimulate the production of more collagen.

But there’s more. Different peptides have different roles and functions; and in skincare there are five different types of peptides that are commonly used: Signaling peptides, carrier peptides, enzyme-inhibiting peptides, neurotransmitter-inhibiting peptides, and structural/keratin peptides. 

Signaling peptides tell the skin to do something, for example stimulate the production of collagen. Carrier peptides deliver trace elements (like copper) to the skin. Enzyme-inhibitor peptides hinder the activity of enzymes that degrade proteins and cause hyperpigmentation. Neurotransmitter-inhibiting peptides relax the muscles resulting in a mild Botox-like effect. And last but not least, structural or keratin peptides improve skin barrier function, allowing skin to retain more water and therefore look plumper. 

Peptides in skin care are usually derived from plant sources like yeast, rice, silk, and microalgae or created synthetically for better stability. Since our bodies make peptides naturally, they are fairly universally tolerated in skincare formulations and a good ingredient for those with sensitive skin. While peptides are powerful on their own, experts recommend cocktailing them with other hero ingredients for best results, as they can boost other actives like vitamins A and C, retinol, squalane, and hyaluronic acid. Another plus: they can be incorporated at every stage from cleansing all the way through to moisturizing and even makeup.

Here. five peptide packed products we love:

Marine Collagen Lift

This tightening, plumping, pore refining mask contains geothermal dried wild organic Icelandic sea kelp, which delivers vital transdermal minerals, while arctic marine collagen peptides instantly plump and replenish aging skin.

$70.00 $49.00

Squalane + Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum

Powered by a proprietary rapid plumping complex, this innovative copper peptide serum encourages collagen production so skin is left bouncy and plump while locking in instant and long-lasting hydration.


Probiotic-Tensive Hydro Firming Body Cream

This anti-aging, multi-correctional body cream uses potent concentrations of clinically-proven antioxidants and high-performance peptides to deeply hydrate and visibly improve the complexion’s appearance in a single step.

Wet Lip Oil Gloss

Skin-ify your makeup routine with this hybrid lip treatment and gloss that’s packed with peptides that plump and hydrate, all while providing a juicy slick of color.


Marula Botanical Hand Cream

Formulated to regenerate, repair, deeply hydrate, soothe, even skin tone, brighten, restore comfort, and protect (phew!) this rich hand cream is formulated with Swiss garden cress, Alpine rose plant stem cells, peptides and hyaluronic acid.

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