top of page

Peptides explained!

Updated: Jul 30, 2022

Peptides have been around for years, yet more recently, there has been an increase in marketing them in skincare products! No doubt you have seen the many collagen supplements being sold on the market. Well the trend for these ingredients in skincare is growing at a fast pace.

So what is the big fuss about? What are they and are they helpful to have

in your skincare? What do I need to know if I am looking to purchase a skincare product with peptides in them?

Peptides are short chain amino acids which are tiny fragments of a longer protein. They have the ability to promote stronger, healthier and more youthful collagen in our bodies and as we age these proteins break down a lot faster! So the theory is due to the size of the peptide, it has the ability to permeate deeper into the epidermis for enhanced, firmer looking skin.

There are 3 main proteins that involve skincare in our bodies. These are collagen, elastin and keratin. These are proteins made up of peptides.

There are 4 types of peptides which I'll go through below:

  1. Carrier peptides - these carry minerals to boost collagen and firm the skin and combat discoloration from photo aging, also known as photo damage, solar damage or sun damage.

  2. Enzyme inhibitors - these block the reaction in our bodies of protein break down, so the aim of these enzymes is to slow down the breakdown of collagen in the skin.

  3. Signal peptides - these peptides send what are like 'false' signals to the epidermis that instigate the production of more collagen to repair and restore skin.

  4. Neurotransmitter peptides - in our skin there is a chemical released within the neurotransmitter which causes our muscles to contract. This peptide slows down the contracting of muscles that cause wrinkles! I don't know about you, but I love the laugh lines on peoples faces and it is part of our natural beauty, but each to their own and I am writing this blog post to inform and educate so you can make your own conscious choice about the skincare you use, the ingredients in it, why they are in it and what they do.

Let's look at some of the benefits of having peptides in skincare. Bear in mind this always depends on the blend and type of peptide and also the % in a formulation, and if it is backed up by testing and research. These beauties are definitely not as backed up by research with actives like retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, Vitamin C and antioxidant rich ingredients and if you hear it being marketed like it is botox, this is not true and has not been backed by research!

The benefits:

  • Helps to decrease fine lines

  • Improves the skin barrier due to increased collagen production

  • Locks in hydration

  • Firms the skin

If I am looking to buy a skincare product that has peptides in it what should I be looking for and what questions should I be asking?

Make sure you purchase one that is clear on which one of the four peptides are in the product, so you purchase the right one for the results you are seeking. If a plant based product is important to you then confirm that the product and peptides are vegan. I cover plant based peptides further down in the blog post.

A common inhibitor peptide is nano peptide - 1.

Acetyl dipeptide - 1 cetyl ester is an arginine based carrier peptide that sends signals to muscles

to relax them. A couple of common blocker peptides are Palmitoyl Oligopeptide and Caprooyl tetrapeptide - 3. There are hundreds of different types and many with long names that you cannot pronounce but if you're going to be shopping for a peptide product, it's good to get used to what those names look like.

These peptides are most likely synthetic (made in a lab), and are most likely not vegan but confirm this first. Some of these peptides specifically the signal types may irritate the skin, so it's important to always test patch first.

Natural peptides!

  1. Plant-based collagen - this is fermented from yeast and are isolated glycoproteins which deliver moisture like animal derived collagen.

  2. Hexapeptide - 11 - this is also derived from yeast extracts, this natural peptide works on improving and enhancing skin tone and elasticity and cell renewal and to boost hydration in the stratum corneum.

  3. Hydrolised protein - Elastin.

  4. Hydrolised pea protein

  5. Hydrolised lupin protein

  6. Hydrolised silk protein (not vegan but natural)

  7. Hydrolised Quinoa protein

  8. Hydrolised wheat, soy and rice

These hydrolised proteins above are great at supporting our skin, and hair health, improving skin elasticity, texture and the moisture in our skin. We use both wheat and soy protein in some of our haircare and skincare products at Mia Belle.

So there you go, I hope you go away understanding just that little bit more about these peptides we keep hearing about in skincare products, so you can make your own conscious choice about the products you use on your skin. I hope this has been helpful and as always leave us a comment below and send us any questions.

Cath xoxox

(Founder and formulator Mia Belle)

51 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page