Exploring the benefits of plant and collagen peptidesPosted on October 7, 2021 Written by: 100% PURE ®
As skin care continues to innovate, something new has been filling the shelves. But they’re not just in serums and moisturizers, they’re even in powders and coffee creamers; we’re talking about collagen peptides!
While collagen peptides are found in our own bodies, emerging research on their benefits is still quite recent. So, how do collagen peptides support healthy skin, and how can we use them? Most importantly, do collagen peptides really give you plump, youthful-looking skin?
What Are Peptides?
Peptides, also known as collagen peptides, are tiny pieces of protein from collagen. More specifically, peptides are a type of amino acid that builds up collagen with three polypeptide chains.
Where Are Peptides Found?
Collagen is one of the most important materials in our skin. Think of it as the building blocks of our skin, hair, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. In our skin specifically, it keeps things plump and firm while preventing sagging.
Our bodies produce collagen naturally. However, the production slows as we age over time. That leads to fine lines, wrinkles, and a reduction in bounciness. While aging is a perfectly natural process that’s a privilege to experience, it’s certainly valid to want to age gracefully. Collagen peptides may be able to help with this.
Plant peptides are widely used in skin care, and are a popular option for vegan-friendly formulas. They can be found in peas, oat kernels, yeast, and more.
How do collagen peptides work, and why should we use them in the first place? As mentioned above, collagen production in our skin slows down over time. But how do peptides help?
To put it simply, peptides are a bit tricky. They’re not going to replenish collagen in the body the way a moisturizer helps replenish dry skin. Instead, peptides work a bit more like “signals” which alert your skin to trigger the healing process. And when the skin heals itself, it’s going to create more collagen for making repairs.
Typically, peptides are depleted by the classic aging factors in our environment. These include UV damage, stress, smoking, and free radicals. For those with premature aging in the skin, peptides can help alert it to create more collagen (and possibly hyaluronic acid). That can help restore the skin barrier and promote plumpness.
Here’s another twist: not all peptides are created equal. In fact, there are hundreds of different peptides, and certain types of peptides are more effective for the skin.
For example, some peptides specialize in delivering minerals to the skin. Those are known as “carrier” peptides. On the other hand, “enzyme inhibitor” peptides slow down the skin’s collagen breakdown process.
Then, there are “signal” peptides. Those work to promote the building of proteins like collagen and elastin. Finally, “neurotransmitter” peptides block the chemical reactions known to cause muscle contractions in the face which lead to wrinkles.
According to experts, peptides can actually be quite effective in skin care, specifically for the purpose of promoting plumper, more youthful skin. In one Korean clinical trial in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22 healthy women ages 40-60 were given a peptide complex treatment. During that time, their face and neck wrinkles were assessed and proteins in the skin were tracked over two weeks.
From this trial, it was confirmed that peptide complexes are effective as an anti-wrinkle cosmetic ingredient. Wrinkles faded noticeably in the subjects. However, it’s important to choose the right peptide skin care. This means considering a few factors.
First, make sure you’re choosing a product that stays on the skin. For that purpose, consider a serum or moisturizer over a cleanser, which just rinses off.
It’s also important to consider any additional ingredients in the product alongside the peptides. This is because peptides tend to work well alongside ingredients such as vitamin C, niacinamide, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid. However, AHAs can actually weaken their effects.
Additionally, it may be worth going for products that contain copper peptides specifically. That’s because they help to not only boost collagen production but may even help maintain collagen over time.
Aside from peptide skin care, there’s a good chance you’ve seen at least one supplement brand offer collagen peptides you can eat. They may have been gummies, a powder, or even a coffee creamer. But what are peptides in food and do they work if you ingest them?
When we ask these questions, there are several factors to consider. Some of them almost conflict with each other.
For instance, collagen peptides absorb fairly easily into the body, especially when compared to collagen supplements. This is because while both are made of the same amino acids, peptides consist of shorter chains. That makes them more digestible. However, experts are still not certain as to how much of a collagen peptide product is actually absorbed into the bloodstream.
As for the research, there have been studies indicating that collagen supplements can promote elasticity in the skin. However, many of these have been funded by private companies selling them. That calls the studies into question for bias.
Even still, one 2019 review from the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that collagen could increase elasticity and moisture, as data showed in a few double-blind placebo-controlled studies. In short, it’s still up for debate whether collagen peptides work as a supplement.
Nonetheless, dermatologists consider collagen peptides to be a safe skin care ingredient. While it’s still uncertain whether edible peptides work, the research behind topical peptides is promising.
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The information in this article is for educational use, and not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should not be used as such.