The Peptide Revolution

Vol. 1 •Issue 4 • Page 41
The Peptide Revolution

One of the newest ingredients to hit the skin care scene, peptides can rebuild the dermal matrix.

When it comes to skin care products, consumers want the latest ingredients that will combat wrinkles and restore a youthful appearance. Physicians, too, want ingredients that can maintain the results they’ve achieved with BOTOX® and fillers. Both parties may have found what they’re looking for with peptides, one of the newest ingredients to hit the skin care scene.

Long chain proteins cannot penetrate the epidermis because of their molecular size. But peptides can. These molecules are built up from smaller protein molecules (amino acids) by binding one amino acid after the other, forming a short, penetrable chain.

Chemists synthesize these short chains to perform specific functions, such as stimulating the healing process and rebuilding the dermal matrix. Therefore, when a product contains peptides, the protein has been synthesized to its most useable form to the dermal layer. This capability makes the peptides more available to efficiently build and repair the dermal matrix by “turning on” the fibroblasts responsible for these activities. Peptides can be viewed as keys to the biochemical pathways on the outside of fibroblasts, unleashing the chain reaction to build and repair this supportive layer of the skin.1

Peptides are naturals for preparing and supporting treatments in aesthetic practices. They can strengthen the skin pre-treatment, allowing optimal response. And they can maintain the skin, post-treatment, through the same mechanisms of fibroblast stimulation.

Popular Peptides

The following highlights some peptide ingredients, along with their uses in aesthetic practices:

Acetyl Hexipeptide-3 are six amino acid peptides in a chain. They simply keep the signal protein (catecholamine) from efficiently triggering a muscle contraction. They do this without paralysis, however, allowing natural expression and movement in the target area while relaxing the muscle that’s causing the wrinkle. With continual use, the skin smoothes and the repetitive motion wrinkles decrease.

Products with Acetyl Hexipeptide-3 can be used between BOTOX® injections to maintain quality of the treatment. Patients use the product daily in their home care regimens.

Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 and Dipeptide-2, and Palmitoyl Tetrapep-tide-3/Lipopeptide P al-GQPR perform specific actions to noticeably reduce under eye puffiness in about four weeks. Dipeptide-2 helps correct poor drainage by increasing the lymphatic exchange and achieving proper circulation of the extra cellular fluids. This is achieved by inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme. Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3/Lipopeptide Pal-GQPR peptide counteracts skin slackening, perking up and increasing the firmness of the fragile skin area around the eye. It also decreases irritation that could lead to puffiness.

Products containing these peptides support eye treatments and surgery to help maintain eye tissue firmness. They also increase healing and reduce -puffiness. These products are ideal in the pre-surgery regimen of home care, from consultation to surgery, and then in continued post-surgical care. They also are excellent products for routine care, reducing dark circles and puffiness around the eyes.

Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 stimulates the development of new collagen, elastin and glucosaminoglycanes (GAGs) in the dermal layer of the skin as no other topical ingredient has done before. It has five amino acid peptides in a chain and is a synthesized protein, as are other peptides, assembled to create a heal-and-repair response in the dermis of the skin. This particular peptide stimulates the collagen I, collagen III and elastin fibroblasts, as well as fibrectin (FN) and GAGs. FN and GAGs are important components that moisturize and support the dermal matrix. When topically applied over time, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide–3 noticeably increases skin thickness and improves the appearance of aging skin. It also can stimulate the production of collagen IV fibroblasts.2

This ingredient is considered a must-use in anti-aging products because it highly stimulates the production of important dermal materials, such as FN and GAGs. Aside from including it in topical anti-aging home care regimens, many physicians are prescribing products with Palmitoyl PentapeptideÐ3 for use between BOTOX® injections. Doing so stimulates the development of collagen and elastin in the dermis of the relaxed wrinkles.

Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 markedly suppresses the body’s production of interleukins, particularly IL6, the chemical messengers that trigger the body’s acute inflammatory response. Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 has four synthesized amino acids in a chain. Under normal circumstances, very little IL6 is secreted, and its secretion is strictly controlled. However, as we age, our regulation system develops defects, and significant levels of IL6 appear in the plasma, even when there’s no inflammatory stimulus. This produces high levels of inflammatory proteins in the tissues, a loss of healing potential and slower tissue regeneration. Similar to DHEA, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 can restore cytokine equilibrium, bringing forth more youthful skin.

This ingredient is a synergistic support for creating an optimum environment for other active ingredients with anti-aging goals. It reduces inflammation, a potential trigger for aging.

Oxido Reductases-Soy Peptides-Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Extract is a new anti-aging complex that improves microcirculation. This, in turn, increases the oxygen supply to tissues, strengthening and protecting the integrity of collagen and elastin in the skin. In doing so, it inhibits elastase and collagenase. Free radicals are minimized, as is the inflammation caused by them. This visibly reduces puffiness and dark circles around the eyes. In addition, it noticeably reduces wrinkles and fine lines after only four weeks.

This complex consists of specially purified soy and rice peptides, and biotechnologically produced yeast protein. It exerts a positive, localized effect in improving the oxygen supply to the thin, delicate subcutaneous fatty tissue around the eyes. It also reduces inflammation processes and the harmful effects of chronic UV radiation damage. This ingredient is ideal for eye treatment, since it reduces puffiness while strengthening the skin around the eyes.

New peptides are being developed often, and cosmetic chemists, who incorporate these ingredients into skin care products, are excited about their possibilities. The ones I’ve listed are only the beginning of the technological developments of peptides.

Skin rejuvenation treatments and surgery are best supported by products containing Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 and Acetyl Hexapeptide-3. Eye rejuvenation and surgery care are best supported with preparatory home products containing Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 and Oxido Reductases-Soy Peptides-Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Extract.

How soon will patients see results? While injections and fillers can produce immediate wrinkle-smoothing effects, peptide products take time–anywhere from two to 12 weeks–depending on the health of the skin and depth of the wrinkles. Peptides are not a miracle, but rather a physiological development. As with other dermal stimulators, patients must use the product continually. If they don’t, the skin will eventually return to its former condition. Be sure your patients understand this.

What Studies Show

Studies comparing improvements with Palmitoyl Penta-peptide-3 to those containing Retinol were not dramatic in difference. However, the women in the study preferred the product with Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 over the one with Retinol, which caused redness, stinging and peeling.3 Their preferences fortified the finding that Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 had no destructive effect on the barrier properties of the skin, based on TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss). In contrast, Retinol is well known for its barrier destructive properties.4 They also preferred the product with Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 because there was no photosensitivity, a concern with Retinol.

Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 fared much better than vitamin C in their comparison, however. A brand name 5 percent vitamin C was tested against a 3 percent Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 on 10 women for six months. Women who used the Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 product showed a much higher reduction on wrinkles in studies of density, roughness, volume and depth.

In the study comparing Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 against TGFB1 (Trans-formation Growth Factor Beta 1) and vitamin C, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 produced a 217 percent rate of collagen synthesis; TBFB1 produced a 133 percent rate of synthesis; and vitamin C, a 142 percent rate of growth.5

Peptides are being combined with acids in results-oriented skin treatments. For example, glycolic and lactic acid are being combined with peptides in new treatments of varying depths. These new treatments do not produce the high irritations of many peels–a situation physicians and patients desire–while appearing to stimulate the dermal layer.

Stay tuned as new advances continue to change the landscape of skin care.

For a list of references, go to and click on the references toolbar.

Sam Dhatt, MS, MBA, has formulated and manufactured successful skin care products for more than 300 companies during his 20-year career as a formulator. A highly respected and award winning cosmeceutical chemist, he is CEO of Allure Cosmetic Inc., a formulation company, and Dermaquest Skin Therapy.