Ingredient Column for Skin Deep Magazine

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Ingredient Column for Skin Deep Magazine

Peptides  are a huge buzz word today, some companies touting their entire line on fancy peptide serums or cremes.

There are literally hundreds of peptides and many categories both biologically natural and synthetic and guess what? Skin cells do not know the difference.

Peptides fall into three BASIC categories)

1.SHORT (2 amino acids with one peptide bond

  1. MEDIUM (Tripeptides or tera peptide, most common in skin products)

3.LONG(Polypeptide chains.)

Peptides are worker bee’s in helping to assemble and construct protein building blocks.

They are also the conveyor belt in the collagen factory, the fibroblast cell that carries the amino acid components from the front door of the factory to the loading dock which are then thrust out into the matrix as new, teenage collagen fibers. On their own, they are not a primary source of power—more of a precursor to other complex molecular actions.

There has not been much research on peptides independently for skin care (outside of the companies that create products based upon peptides) But some of them appear to help other ingredients react in the  cell structures of skin more efficiently. Because peptide IS a buzz word—it sounds important so people are attracted to anything that states peptide on it. The real truth is many things naturally contain peptides such as Vitamin C, retinoids and other co-enzymes so adding expensive peptides as another ingredient may be carrying coals to Newcastle so to speak.

Copper peptides for example, really do have an effect in being anti-inflammatory by suppressing inflammatory cytokines. I have used it during topical procedures where it only stays on the skin for a certain amount of time. With the looming research on too much copper loaded into the epidermis creating contraindications, I would rather be safe than sorry later on. Copper peptides do have helpful benefits, but again, not a primary energy source—more of a good intense support vehicle.

Whenever I see a particular ingredient endowed with too many attributes (collagen enhancing, promotes elastin and glycosaminoglycans etc.) I have to chuckle and think of those old Western movies where the man is waving a bottle called Dr. Smith’s Magical Elixir” that cures all ills!

There are many complex molecular activities that keeps the marvelous organic computer that we call our body in repair—and most the essential (outside) tools required are simple and singular, not multi-faceted.

The peptide combo which makes up Argireline does seem to have an effect on skin. When formulated into a good, transepidermal delivery system there is a 20-30% less muscle contraction at the site of application. The effects seem to accumulative and maintainable.

But it is certainly not a substitute for medical BOTOX™ or DYSPORT™. Claims that these serums or cremes “go beyond” these medical aesthetic innovations are absurd and are marketed with the fear factor and expense of medical aesthetics in mind.

In fact, Argireline in a thin W/O formulation is a very good follow up to BOTOX etc. and will help maintain the precise and dramatic effects of these injections.

My contention with adding isolated peptides to formulas that already contain peptide action in other, primary ingredients is that on their own they are very small, fragile amino acids. The synthesized models seem more durable that the biologically natural, but still, we have no real parameters on how long will they survive in a product? Will the  stay active enough  to even get into the skin?

My personal take is that there are  ways to build better worker bees,  keeping  them under the DALTON RULE, thus easy to administer topically. The DALTON rule is anything under 500 can penetrate the epidermis (but many times more unstable) and anything above 500 are not directly permeable into the epidermis.

But for now, ingredients that naturally contain peptides and the tried and true Argeline doing its one little job is what we can take to the bank as effective.

The problem is: A great many products contain very active ingredients with extremely high frequencies that do effect activity and changes in the epidermis—mocking the natural functions of the skin at its best—as in young. Slapping a new and popular peptide into this product would not necessarily make it better or more efficient.

Yet back this up with a big marketing campaign, a few pseudo-scientific phrases lifted from Google and the product flies off the shelf.

The end results of treatment that creates the real change evoking factors of the product that determines the result the marketing people wave about as “proof”of the powers of peptides

Food for thought


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