FEB 2019

DAYSPA is the business resource for spa & wellness professionals! Each issue covers the latest in skin care, spa treatments, wellness services and management strategies.

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© GETTY IMAGES Scientists began researching peptides in the early 1800s and synthesized the fi rst about a century later, but it wasn't until the late 1980s that one—a copper peptide—was incorporated into skincare products. Still, things progressed slowly until the beginning of 2000, when palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 (trade name Matrixyl)—found to be particularly effective for collagen and elastin stimulation, as well as wound healing—was introduced. At that point, the beauty industry got completely on board, and in the years since, a wide range of peptides have been developed to offer a bevy of complexion-boosting benefi ts. "Today, the vast majority of brands incorporate peptides into their products in some way," says Neal Kitchen, PhD, chief operating offi cer and chief geneticist of HydroPeptide. FORM AND FUNCTION Although often referred to as a single ingredient, there are in fact hundreds of different peptides. "Each is unique and very versatile in how it can impact the skin," notes Kitchen. For cosmetic purposes, they're classifi ed by function into one of four types: enzyme inhibitors, neurotransmitter inhibitors, signal peptides and carrier peptides. The inhibitor peptides slow undesirable processes such as too-rapid elastin and collagen breakdown, overactive infl ammatory response, hyperpigmentation and excessive muscle contractions that lead to expression lines. The signal peptides—which include the aforementioned Matrixyl—encourage healthy cellular activities, such as collagen and elastin production. Meanwhile, carrier peptides deliver benefi cial minerals like copper to skin cells to aid in healing and protein synthesis. Peptides' actions occur in the deeper layers of the skin, which is what makes them so uniquely effective. "Their true magic is their ability to act as cell communicators that send signals telling skin to act in a healthier, younger way," adds Kitchen. "Signaling ability is really what sets peptides apart as a revolutionary ingredient." But for all their potency, they're unlikely to cause any kind of unwanted reaction, such as dryness, redness or irritation, even if used continuously. "It's like vitamins," says Sonia Boghosian, CEO, founder and education director of Bio Jouvance. "Your body takes only what's needed." Indeed, as Kitchen notes: "Skin has a fi nite capacity for certain processes and functions. For this reason, we use peptides that never 'go too far' when signaling the skin." PEPTIDES ARE SO SAFE AND EFFECTIVE THAT PROS RECOMMEND THEY BE USED LIBERALLY. Februar y 2019 • 53

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