The Power of Peptides in Cosmeceutical Products and Why They Produce Better Results, according to a Dermal Therapist

Peptides can do incredible things for the skin. Dermal therapist and cosmeceutical skincare formulator, Douglas Pereira explains why they’re considered a holy grail ingredient.

What are peptides?

Douglas, explain what a peptide is and why they are used in skincare.

“Peptides are short chains of amino acids held together via peptide bonds. Amino acids are considered the building blocks of proteins, with some of the more famous skin-related proteins being collagen and elastin. Peptide chains aren’t long enough to be considered a true protein, but that’s not a bad thing! These fragmented portions of proteins are more easily absorbed by the skin.

Applied topically, peptides for skin are found in a variety of formulations, including serums, moisturisers and eye care. Married up in a formulation, peptides and more common actives like Vitamin A, B, C and hyaluronic acid make a powerful, sophisticated and elite product that is sure to achieve results for the end user.

[There are] five categories of peptides [with varying] benefits to the skin –

• Signal peptides: Signal peptides get their name because they signal your skin cells to produce collagen, elastin and other forms of proteins that can help your skin look more youthful,

• Carrier peptides: Carrier peptides help stabilise and deliver copper to certain enzymes in your body. This helps improve functions such as collagen and elastin growth. It also promotes wound healing, 

• Enzyme-inhibitor peptides: This type of peptide minimises enzyme activity which in turn slows down the degradation of the skin’s structure. This includes the breakdown of collagen and elastin, ultimately reducing skin discolouration. Skin looks more youthful and even-toned, 

• Neurotransmitter inhibiting peptides: There are the newest peptides in cosmeceuticals. These peptides were developed to mimic the action of Botulinum toxin. Neurotransmitter-inhibiting peptides block the release of a chemical called acetylcholine at the neuromuscular junction to inhibit muscle contraction and relaxation,

• and Structural peptides: There are fragments of structural proteins such as keratin. An example would be keratin peptides. These peptides improve skin barrier function.”

Douglas Pereira

Why use peptides?

You have opted to hero peptides in products across the Douglas Pereira Skin Health range. Why?

“When I first decided to embark on creating my skincare range, I knew I wanted to formulate a range of products that used the most effective and result-driven ingredients, no matter the costs. I wanted to launch a skincare brand that did not compromise quality and results over profits. 

Having this vision allowed me to be able to use the best-of-the-best list of ingredients with no boundaries; it allowed me to use more sophisticated and premium ingredients not normally used within a single formulation. So, with this limitless law I gave myself, I had the scope to be able to work with some of the best peptides available.

One of the key reasons I chose to work with peptides in my formulations is due to their fast-acting nature. I found through my research and personal use of that after just a few days of using a peptide-formulated product, that the skin would very quickly experience the intended effects. 

When it comes to cosmeceutical formulations, my belief is that peptides are the driving force behind the prevention, intervention and rejuvenation of the skin and its ageing process. Using various combinations of peptides alongside actives like Vitamins A, B, C and hyaluronic acid in the one formulation can elevate the results produced by a product from great to amazing.

The key benefits of peptides for the skin include – a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, the creation of firmer feeling skin, an improved skin barrier, a reduction in inflammation, minimised appearance and triggers of skin discolouration and pigmentation, and the relaxing of muscle contraction.”

“When it comes to cosmeceutical formulations, my belief is that peptides are the driving force behind the prevention, intervention and rejuvenation of the skin and its ageing process.”

How do we use peptides?

For first-time peptide users, how does the skin take to them? Do we need to build up to daily use?

“Peptides are great for first time users as they have minimal to no side effects so you don’t need to build up to daily use. But if you are using a product that contains other actives that need to be slowly introduced then naturally I would recommend following the product directions.”

We spoke about Douglas Pereira Skin Health as providing an elite offering to skincare users, namely because of the range’s premium ingredient portfolio. Are peptides more expensive to formulate with, compared to more common actives?

“Absolutely. Peptides are a costly ingredient to use compared to other actives such as Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid. The reason for the higher cost is generally due to the complexity in producing them. This is why you generally see peptides used in combination formulation with other actives, and very rarely see standalone peptide products jam packed with just pure peptides.”

Best peptides to use

How many of your Douglas Pereira Skin Health products contain peptides? What are the key peptides you use in your formulations?

“Most of the products in the Douglas Pereira Skin Health range have been formulated to include peptides. The range has 32 products and 24 of them contain peptides, with most of these being serums and moisturisers. I have also used peptides in my mineral makeup collection. 

Here are six of many peptides I currently use in my formulations – 

  1. Tetrapeptide 30:

Tetrapeptide-30 is a synthetic peptide containing the amino acids proline, glutamic acid, and lysine. It acts on and within specific targets of skin to reduce factors and interrupt the pathways that lead to the appearance of pigmentation, discoloration and an uneven skin tone.

  • Visibly diminishes hyperchromatic spots
  • Brightens skin and improves the evenness of skin tone
  • Reduces acne lesions
  • Alleviates melasma on ethnic skin
  • Provides a significant anti-inflammatory effect
  • Safely inhibits the pigmentation process without toxicity or a rebound effect.
  1. sh Oligopeptide-1:

Sh-Oligopeptide-1 or rh-Oligopeptide-1 is also called Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF). EGF is a special snowflake when it comes to skincare as the molecule directly stimulates the proliferation of epidermal cells. It was the first Growth Factor that made its way into cosmetic products. And has powerful wound healing and skin renewal properties, repairs damaged skin DNA, assists in the reduction of the appearance of fine lines and rhytids, skin texture and pore size. 

  • Sophisticated Biomimetic Peptide, that accelerates the growth of epidermal cells
  • Essential for cell proliferation, DNA repair and protein stimulus  
  • Fundamental aspect of healthy skin regeneration
  • Reduces wrinkles, stimulates collagen and improves elasticity
  • Accelerates wound healing
  • Prevents scar tissue formation, maintaining skin health
  • Reverses existing scarring and structurally reforms, promoting a youthful appearance
  • EGF research results were named as the top of ten scientific achievements by American magazine ‘Science’ in 1999.
  1. SNAP 8 – Acetyl Octapeptide-3:

This is an Amino-peptide that blocks transmitter signals from facial muscles to the skin. This skin-smoothing peptide is the ultimate prevention active – it reduces the muscle contractions that cause expression lines, especially around the eyes and forehead, by safely inhibiting acetylcholine. Studies have found wrinkle reduction after 28 days of twice-daily use. This peptide also helps strengthen and protect the skin’s natural barrier from premature ageing by preventing moisture loss and pollution damage.

  • SNAP 8 is a mimic of the N-terminal end of SNAP 25. It competes with SNAP 25 for a position in the SNARE (SNAp Receptor) complex, an essential process for neurotransmitter delivery
  • By modulating its formation and destabilising this complex, the release of neurotransmitters is inefficient, weakening muscle contraction
  • Reduces repeated facial movements preventing the formation of lines and wrinkles 
  • Maintains youthful structural fibres of collagen, elastin and packing of the lipid matrix
  • Maximum wrinkle reduction value found with usage of 10 percent SNAP 8 was 63.13 percent
  • 34.98 percent wrinkle depth reduction after 28 days with 10 percent SNAP (applied twice daily).
  1. Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7:

This is a four amino acid peptide with the amino sequence of glycine-glutamine-proline-arginine. It is attached to palmitic acid (a fatty acid) to increase oil solubility and skin penetration.

It works by reducing the production of the signal molecule, which promotes inflammation in the skin and less inflammation means slower degradation of important things (like collagen) that results in younger looking skin for a longer time. 

  • Stimulates regeneration of collagen fibres in the dermis by acting as a cellular messenger
  • Increases hyaluronic acid, helping to tighten skin by attracting moisture to the epidermis
  • Skin penetration enhancer
  • Decreases inflammation by suppressing Interleukin (created in response to damage) which leads to cellular deterioration
  • Accelerates healing by relieving chemical pressure on the skin
  • Induces natural collagen production for skin healing and rejuvenation
  • Symptoms of rosacea may be alleviated
  • Reduce the appearance of uneven skin tones
  1. Beta-White Peptide™:

This is an Advanced Lightening Agent Biomimetic Peptide. Beta-White helps reduce the appearance of age spots and brightens skin complexion by targeting two different proteins associated with the production of melanin, tyrosinase and MITF, both of which play an important role in the production of the substance that gives skin its pigment.

It is different from other whitening ingredients because it essentially supports healthy melanin synthesis in the skin, managing pigmentation levels so future dark spots are less likely to be visible while current dark spots fade.

The ingredient has been shown in studies to manage the production of dark spots – especially those that are a result of photo-aging caused by exposure to pollutants and UV rays – resulting in a more even skin tone.

The peptide is encapsulated in such a way that it is able to not only better penetrate skin, but is also released continuously, so pigmented cells are targeted even hours after the initial application.

In clinical trials featuring participants ages 33-55, 100 percent of Beta-White users reported brighter skin, others saw a more uniform complexion and some saw a reduction in dark spots.

  • First ingredient with a unique inhibitory action on MITF (Microphthalmia – associated transcription factor) cellular pathway
  • Reducing MITF activity as well as Tyrosinase aids B-White to reduce Melanin 
  • B-White binds to the TGF-B receptor on Melanocytes. This specific binding introduces an intracellular cascade leading to reduction in MITF activity
  • B-White has the ability to modulate constitutive (natural skin colour) & facultative (UV induced) pigment
  • Traditional lightening methods address Tyrosinase inhibition only
  • Liposomal encapsulation stabilises & delivers Oligopeptide-68 (Biomimetic Peptide TGF-B)
  1. ChroNOline™ (Caprooyl Tetrapeptide-3): 

ChroNOline™ is a biomimetic lipopeptide derived from a growth factor that boosts the production of key components at the dermo epidermal junction (DEJ) for maximal reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Boosts the production of key components of the DEJ (collagen VII, laminin-5 and fibronectin) reinforcing healthy skin structure, volume and definition
  • Helps accelerate the reduction of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after only 28 days for younger skin appearance
  • Activates skin repair.”

Next month, Douglas will launch his 99% Platinum Peptide collection. The collection will boast three advanced serums containing an exclusive ‘11complex’ – a complex made up of eleven cutting-edge peptides.

Here’s 7 products packed with peptides and worth stocking now:

HydroPeptide Cleansing Gel

Contact BLC Cosmetics

Douglas Pereira Skin Health Cera Fort Restore Serum

Contact Douglas Pereira

Douglas Pereira Skin Health EGF Peptide Serum

Contact Douglas Pereira

Ultraceuticals Ultra B2 Hydration Mask

Contact Ultraceuticals

Rationale #2 The Light Creme

Contact Rationale 

InClinic Cosmetics Platinum Mineral Foundation

Contact InClinic Cosmetics

Endota New Age Body Firming Serum

Contact Endota

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