There is an increasing demand for effective anti-aging ingredients with high activity at low dosages in sophisticated cosmeceutical products. Peptides have been studied for more than 50 years, and are one of the most popular functional ingredients in skin care products. Peptides are short-chain proteins that naturally occur in the skin and act mainly as messengers (signalling peptides) or hormones. Furthermore, they have been shown to play a key role in natural skin healing processes. Products containing peptides are claimed to have smoothing and nourishing effects on the skin. Both the peptides and their degradation products are key players in fields of cosmetics and dermatology. The amino acid sequence and chain structure determine the specific biological activity and function. Constantly developing technologies enable the purification and development of toxicologically safe peptides with high specific mechanisms and local effects.
Short proteins, derived from hydrolysed collagen, appear to act as “messengers” that stimulate skin cells to perform particular functions. Consequently, as aging skin produces less collagen, the ability to stimulate the endogen synthesis materially helps preserve the vital intercellular matrix and reduce the wrinkling process. Based on its function as messenger protein, oligopeptides are high in demand in skin care products as so called matrikins or collagen boosters. In effect, peptides such as Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 and Tripeptide-1 stimulate the skin to synthesize collagen I and III, while reducing enzyme to protect the integrity of elastin and collagen. However, amino acids, which result from the degradation of soybean or hydrolyzed milk protein, have been shown to be effective on the skin surface via increasing of skin moisture. Certain polypeptides such as poly-gamma-glutaminic acid are also known for their moisturizing effects
Other peptides are described as having a “Botox-like” action. Pentapeptide-18 and Acetyl hexapeptide-8 (Argireline) are examples of peptides that act via muscular relaxation, to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of mimic wrinkles.
Several peptides have hormone-like functions. With aging, the ability to produce the hormone thymopoietin is reduced. Biopeptides, such as Acetyl Tetrapeptide-2, are designed to compensate the natural loss of thymic factors, which are responsible for cell renewal and boost the skin’s natural immune function. Further signaling molecules, which modulate a variety of important skin physiological processes, are cytokines, such as TGFbeta or growth factors, such as fibroblast growth factor (FGF).
Another key anti-aging function for peptides is the reduction of puffy bags; Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5 has this impact and is used as a key ingredient in eye serums. It has been reported to reduce the decomposition of the collagen, to increase the lymph flow and to prevent edema.
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