Peptides are one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients found in skin care today. Their effectiveness has been demonstrated in clinical trials and they have been shown to boost collagen production in skin cells. When used along with techniques to prevent wrinkles, they can lead to a much younger looking complexion.

Peptides and Skin Cell Biology

Peptides are made of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, an important component of all cells. Proteins provide structure in cell membranes and act as messengers between layers of skin. They serve as a primary natural component to keeping skin cells looking youthful and their breakdown contributes directly to skin aging and wrinkles.

Collagen Stimulation With Peptides

In youthful skin, collagen is a primary protein component that acts as a support structure to skin cells and keeps skin supple and thick. As skin ages, the gradual loss of collagen results in wrinkles, age spots and other problems. Peptide skin care products can stimulate collagen production and help prevent the breakdown of collagen already in the skin.

Peptides Biological Anti-Aging Action

Other ways peptides work to improve skin tone and make wrinkles vanish is by increasing the synthesis of glycosaminoglycan, repairing and helping the skin form new capillaries and by acting as natural antioxidants on the skin surface.

Do Peptides Really Work

A study presented at the 20th World Congress of Dermatology on July 1-5, 2002 in Paris, France found that high concentrations of peptides worked as well as retinol in getting rid of wrinkles but its results came much more quickly.

Specific Peptides Used in Skin Care

There are a few major peptides used in skin care today. These peptides are the most common ones found in skin creams and lotions:


These peptides are one of the most clinically effective peptides found to date. The specific pentapeptide palmitoyl pentapeptide-3, sometimes called palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 or matrixyl, has been shown to reduce wrinkle depth and number as well as make the skin smoother in manufacturer-sponsored studies.

Copper Peptides

Copper peptides have a copper molecule attached to them. Copper is useful in healing damaged skin as well as promoting collagen production. GHK copper peptides are a specific copper peptide shown to be effective for healing skin damage. This is especially useful for skin that has undergone procedures such as dermabrasion or laser resurfacing, since these processes usually slightly damage the outer layers of the skin.


The theory behind neuropeptides is that these peptides can block signals from the nerve muscles in the face, acting like a milder version of Botox. The neuropeptide Acetyl hexapeptide-3, also known as argireline, is of particular interest, since it has been studied in nerve cells in the lab. Since there is little scientific research done on these molecules so far, many scientists doubt that neuropeptides can penetrate the skin well enough to be truly effective.