Every single time you hear someone talking about a new skincare product, they’re constantly dropping terms like “amino acids, skin peptides, peptide complex” etc. It all sounds great but what the heck are amino acids and peptides? More importantly, do they work for you skin? If so, why?
OK, let’s get this out of the way first. I’m not a scientist and this is NOT going to be a deep dive into all of the technical, science, related facts about amino acids and peptides. This is meant to explain, in plain English, what amino acids and peptides do for your skin and why you should or shouldn’t be excited about them the next time someone breaks down a new skin product.
In short, amino acids are the building blocks of protein and a handful of amino acids are essential to life itself for human beings. In terms of skin care and beauty, amino acids are basically the raw building blocks of your skin, collagen and everything else in your appearance. The right amino acids can be applied topically as a way of more efficiently absorbing them into your skin. More specifically, a good skincare brand will use specific amino acids as a way of promoting topical absorption. Basically, the idea here is that instead of just eating these raw building blocks and having them convert into healthy skin, collagen, elastin etc – you apply them directly on your skin as well so as to help with build or repair. Is this a big deal? YES! If done properly, its a huge deal. You can moisturize and put all sorts of things on your skin but if you don’t have the building blocks for producing new skin, new collagen, elastin and everything else, you’re going nowhere fast.
What about peptides?
There’s two things to start off by saying. First, peptides are what we get when we combine amino acids in different ways – we produce something new called a peptide. Second, this is probably the future of all skincare if not a lot of medicine in general as the possibilities are nearly endless. By taking amino acids, these biological building blocks, then combining them in different ways – scientists are able to manipulate the body and skin in some pretty cool ways. For example, some peptides target the glycation process itself! In English, the glycation process basically means the formation of wrinkles. Wrinkles don’t happen because your skin is old contrary to popular belief. It’s not like you have the same skin you had as a baby. You’re constantly producing new skin. What happens though is that processes in your body change with age and your body becomes less efficient at building this new skin or preserving it and you start seeing skin sag (elastin) or less fullness in your skin (collagen) or even wrinkles (glycation). With peptides, the right combination of amino acids product what we call a peptide and these can potentially target anything and everything. The example I gave was of some new ones that target wrinkles. As time goes on, the peptides that chemists and skincare companies should figure out will become much better and start specifically targeting everything you can think of from dark spots to wrinkles and everything in between. So is it exciting? YES!!! It’s super exciting and there’s new information popping up all of the time.
In short, amino acids are the building blocks our bodies use and peptides are combinations of various amino acids that can target very specific functions in our bodies from wrinkles to preventing collagen loss and and endless number of other things. Amino acids have all been discovered and new applications are popping up all the time where peptides are being created and discovered everyday with a very bright future.
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