Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Rupali Goswami (Beauty Expert)  on 09th Nov 2020

Peptides for skin: Uses, Benefits and Side Effects

Peptides for skin

Peptides: this trendy skincare ingredient in the market becomes a talk of the town and says it can help make your skin feel better inside out. Some elements are overhyped, but some are beneficial, and their performance is magical.

Peptides are one such ingredient that specializes in the anti-aging department and can also help with smooth skin, hydration, and skin restoration. There is so much research that has been done on peptides and its remarkable benefits for the skin. 

Did You Know:

Molecules in peptides consist of between 2 and 50 amino acids, whereas proteins are made up of more than 50 amino acids. 

What are Peptides? 

Peptides are also known as polypeptides that occur naturally in the skin and can be found in many skincare products.

Before getting on to what peptides are, let us first understand amino acid as both proteins and peptides are made up of amino acid strings, which are known to be building blocks of the body held together by peptide bonds. The primary difference is peptides contain smaller chains of amino acid than proteins.

Our skin needs proteins, specifically collagen, which comprises three peptide chains that can help stimulate your skin to produce more collagen resulting in a firm and younger-looking skin.

Lack of peptides can damage the skin, resulting in a change in the skin texture, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness, and your skin will also lose its ability to bounce back as it used to. 

Did You Know:

Peptides are smaller than proteins. 

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Benefits of peptides:

Many people choose to eat collagen-rich food in their diets or introduce collagen supplements because the collagen molecule is considered to be a lot larger to absorb through the skin.

Peptides readily absorb into the skin no matter where you put them on your entire body. It has been known to provide a lot of benefits, such as: 

1. Help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines: 

Collagen works as a significant fibrous protein for the connective tissues in our bodies, and by stimulating collagen production, peptides can help plump your skin. Peptides help rebuild collagen production, and when your skin is firm and plumped up, the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles lessens.  

2. It works exceptionally well to strengthen skin's barrier: 

Skin issues like acne, eczema, and rosacea can make skin barrier weak and cracked. Skincare products containing peptides can help strengthen the skin's barrier by keeping it intact and healthy.

The peptides' size is small enough to effectively penetrate the skin's outer wall and slowly works through the deeper layers. 

3. Help increase collagen production: 

Our bodies can naturally produce collagen in the skin and elsewhere in the body, decreasing as we age. Being an effective form of protein collagen is necessary for our skin's health to define its structure. When peptides are applied topically, the process works, so peptides send signals to the skin's cells and inform it to produce more collagen, promoting healthier skin. 

4. It has antioxidant properties: 

Peptides contain antioxidants that can help soothe and calm your skin by fighting damage from free radicals, including UV rays, dirt, pollution, and other environmental aggressors.  

5.  Helps achieve smooth texture and evens out skin tone: 

An increase in collagen production promotes healthier, more transparent, and plumper skin, which creates a balance in both areas that helps improve the texture of the skin and even out the skin tone. Adding peptides in your skincare routine will help address primary skin concerns like these. 

6. Help seal hydration inside the skin: 

The decrease in collagen production can also cause significant dehydration in the skin; it mostly happens as we grow older. Peptides help boost collagen production, which ultimately helps seal the hydration inside the skin

7. Make skin more firm: 

As we stated above, peptides signal the skin's cells to produce more collagen and inhibit nerve signals that can soften fine lines and wrinkles caused by the muscles' movement. That's why peptides are highly popular and also considered as a topical alternative to botox. 

8 Can be helpful in clearing breakouts:

Some peptides have antimicrobial properties that are known to kill bacterias that cause acne. Introducing a serum or a moisturizer that contains peptides will help reduce your breakouts. 

A tip from our side:

Consulting your dermatologist will help you find the best product containing peptides that would suit your skin type or any skin concerns you may have. 

How do peptides work in your skincare routine? 

Peptides have become one of the most common and trendiest ingredients found on many store shelves in different forms, such as serums, moisturizers, creams, face washes, masks, etc. Usage of peptides is dependent on your skin type, skin concerns, and which product suits you the best.

Peptides are best used as a leave-on product such as a moisturizer or a serum that your skin can absorb within the deeper layers to give it plenty of time to make it work properly.

So, if our body is already producing peptides naturally, why do we need more of that? Experts say it is all related to aging. After turning 30, the rate of losing collagen per year becomes 1 percent. The natural communication channels of our skin also slow down.

The working of peptides is a little more complicated. Peptides are seen as signals by our bodies to start with the healing process by producing more collagen where you need them the most. For example, if you are healing from an injury in your knees, then those peptides will give the body signals to focus all its efforts on healing that particular joint.

The same goes for the process of skin aging; if you are going through premature aging, then those peptides will signal the skin cells to produce more collagen and even hyaluronic acid resulting in plumping up the skin and restoring the healthy skin barrier.

When exogenous peptides are introduced in your skincare routine in the form of a moisturizer or a serum, it tricks your skin into thinking that there has been a wound or an injury in that particular area, which signals into stimulating collagen boosting process.

As there are hundreds of peptides, not all of them are created equally for skincare. Some peptides are more effective than others. For example, enzyme inhibitor peptides work in such a way that slows down the skin's natural collagen breakdown while carrier peptides track down minerals to the skin to boost collagen.

Signal peptides act as a messenger to different skin parts to promote elastin, collagen, and other proteins. Neurotransmitter peptides restrict the chemical release that causes muscle contraction helping smooth out fine lines and wrinkles. 

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How to choose products containing peptides?

If you are a beginner, it is hard to know where to start from, as there are many skincare products in the market containing peptides. Here is what to keep in mind while you are choosing peptides products: 

1. Know the right form: 

Skincare products that have prolonged contact with your skin would be much more beneficial to use rather than, say, a face wash because you will rinse it off in a minute or two. Instead, go for a serum or a moisturizer to see better results with your skin. 

2. Be careful while choosing other ingredients: 

Peptides work well with other ingredients such as niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants. However, using acids like AHAs immediately before or after peptides will show less efficient results.  

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3. Labels are the most important: 

You would want peptides to be listed in one of the first ingredients on the labels. You may also see them listed as "palmitoyl." 

A tip from our side:

If you want to introduce peptides in your skincare routine, you might not want to waste your money on a peptide filled product that will be on your skin for like a minute or two. Yes! We are pointing out towards a face wash. Opt for products with a smaller molecule size that will deeply penetrate your skin, such as a moisturizer or a serum. 

Side effects of peptides 

Peptides are often considered miracle workers; some even say it works as botox because neurotransmitter peptides are known to restrict chemicals that cause a contraction in the muscles temporarily.  

  • Other ingredients like AHAs and retinol are backed up by more scientific research in the anti-aging department than peptides. 
  • Not necessarily all kinds of peptides will show improvements in the skin. 
  • The "peptide" word can sometimes be used as a marketing term, so consulting with your dermatologist before using peptides will be a good step towards improving your skin. 
  • In some rare cases, peptide usage can lead to allergies such as itching, rashes, or skin sensitivity.


Peptides are an amazing addition to your skincare routine because they can address so many skin concerns, but there is still a lot of research that has to be done on peptides and its process. Just be careful while choosing your skincare products containing peptides as per the requirement of your skin.