Peptides are components that are rapidly gaining popularity in the beauty industry, especially in the anti-aging realm. Our skin needs them because peptides are responsible for numerous biological functions, like the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. In the past, we only got these components exclusively from food. But today, scientists synthesize peptides in the lab and actively implement them in cosmetic treatments. Our team studied the latest research, talked with experts, and figured out how peptide injections can improve skin.
Table of Contents
What are Peptides?
Peptides are chains of amino acids that serve as the building blocks for proteins. They are much shorter and smaller than proteins and consist of between 2 and 50 amino acids.
We start with a single amino acid, and then once we hit a few amino acids, we can call it a peptide. Long molecules of multiple peptides are known as polypeptides ( or proteins).
Peptides were discovered in 1902 by Emil Fischer. He suggested that the amino acids have a particular type of bond. We can compare this connection to a construction set in which a specific part clings to another. In chemistry, it is called an amide, but Fisher named it – a peptide.
Until the 2000s, scientists were not particularly interested in peptides, but this changed with the discovery of palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 (Matrixyl). Since then, studies on the effectiveness of peptides as cosmetic components have become more frequent, and more substances have been synthesized.
Peptides are produced naturally in the body and act like messengers. They give commands to the cells and organize proteins. One of the most well-known multiple peptide subunits (polypeptides) is collagen. This is a major component of the skin that provides structure, strength, and support.
Today, more than 80 approved peptides are used in the skin care market, and hundreds more are waiting for their future implementation. With the development of this trend, it is quite difficult to single out a certain gold standard among them.
There are many peptide stars you can find in the current market. For example, Waglerin-1 (Syn-Ake) corrects wrinkles. Tetrapeptide-15 (Skinasensil) suppresses allergic reactions. Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 (Rigin) restores the skin at the cellular level.
Benefits of Peptide Injections for Skin
Peptides consist of small molecules that can easily penetrate into the deep layers of the skin and work with essential elements. Let’s see what they do:
- Manage hypersensitivity and reduce redness
- Enhance the synthesis of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid
- Neutralize free radicals and stimulate skin immunity
- Increase or suppress melanin production
- Speed up skin regeneration and improve wound healing
Which Peptides Do We Use in Cosmetic Treatment?
- Signal Peptides stimulate collagen, elastin, and other protein production. They are normally present in the skin: when collagen is destroyed, the signal peptide tells the body that it is time to synthesize a new one. Unfortunately, when we age, this natural signaling system fails. An example of a signal peptide is Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4 (Matrixyl 3000).
- Neurotransmitter Peptides provide a botox-like effect, relaxing the muscles that cause wrinkles. One of the examples is Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 (Argireline).
- Enzyme-Inhibiting Peptides suppress the activity of enzymes that break down proteins. However, there is little evidence of these peptides’ effectiveness, and they are often added to skin care products as additives. The most popular enzyme-inhibiting peptides include soy, silk, and rice.
- Carrier Peptides deliver trace minerals, such as copper and magnesium, to the skin to boost collagen growth and wound healing. One of the examples is Copper Tripeptide (GHK-Cu).
- Immunomodulatory Peptides strengthen the skin’s barrier and inhibit the production of cytokines. One of the examples is Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7. This peptide reduces inflammation and eases redness.
- Melanogenesis Regulatory Peptides weaken or enhance the production of melanin pigment under the influence of ultraviolet rays. One of these peptides is Acetyl Hexapeptide-1 (Melitane). It doesn’t have anti-aging properties but stimulates the production of melanin.
Indications for Peptide Injections
- Loss of elasticity, fine lines, wrinkles
- Damaged moisture barrier, eczema, psoriasis
- Dull and uneven skin tone
- Acne, inflammation
- Under-eye bags and puffiness
- Scars and post-acne marks
Who Should Not Get Peptide Injections?
Despite the fact that peptides are safe components, they have contraindications. You shouldn’t get peptide injections if you have diabetes or cancer.
Cosmetic Procedures With Peptides
Peptide injections are usually used in bioreparation. This is a non-surgical cosmetic rejuvenation method involving tiny injections of hyaluronic acid (HA) in combination with peptides. The specialist assesses the client’s skin to select a specific type of peptide to solve a concrete issue. Besides, the injector can mix several different peptides to achieve the best result.
The main advantage of the technique is the use of absolutely safe formulas that undergo the highest quality control and have a high level of purification. Bioreparation with peptides is good on its own and as a preparation for other cosmetic treatments – for example, before laser resurfacing or RF lifting. In this case, the recovery period is faster and easier, and the effect is more noticeable.
How to Prepare for Peptide Injections?
First, you should refrain from drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and taking anticoagulants (Warfarin, Clopidogrel) 3-4 days before the procedure. It is also recommended to avoid sunbathing and visiting the solarium a week before treatment – otherwise, the risk of a large number of bruises increases. If necessary, your healthcare provider prescribes a course of antiviral and vasoconstrictive therapy and postpones the procedure if this day falls on menstruation.
What to Expect During the Procedure?
- Preliminary Examination. At this stage, the injector determines the general condition of your skin and selects the most effective combination of peptides.
- Allergy Test. The specialist injects a small amount of the drug under the skin on the back of your hand. If, within 10-15 minutes, there are no suspicious allergy symptoms, you will proceed with the procedure.
- Skin Cleansing and Disinfection. The injector removes makeup and disinfects your skin to destroy the pathogenic microflora, which is the main cause of infection.
- Anesthesia. Bioreparation is a well-tolerated treatment, although it may be accompanied by some pain. Many clients want to get local anesthesia before injections.
- Introduction of Peptide Injections. After the anesthesia takes effect, the specialist injects the drug using the thinnest needle, which minimally injures the skin. Depending on skin issues, microinjections are made on the cheeks, cheekbones, and forehead.
- Re-disinfection. After the injections, the specialist gently wipes the skin with an antiseptic.
- Post-procedure Care. In the last stage, the injector applies skin care products to enhance the drug’s effectiveness.
After the procedure, you should strictly follow your injector’s recommendations in order to avoid any adverse reactions. In the first 2 – 3 days, papules, bruises, and hematomas may form at the injection sites. There may also be some minor pain. All these symptoms are normal and disappear within a few days. If your condition worsens, you should immediately consult your healthcare provider. Rehabilitation lasts an average of 2 – 5 days. During this period, it is important to stick to the following rules:
- Refuse to use decorative cosmetics
- Don’t touch, rub or scratch the puncture site
- Avoid visiting the swimming pool and saunas
- Apply sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Refrain from intense physical activity
- Take a break from spicy, salty, fatty foods
- Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes