The cosmetic industry represents a huge worldwide sector. Between skincare, makeup, and haircare, it is growing faster than most other industries, and its market value is estimated to be worth almost $805 billion by 2023.
The key to this evolution is innovation. Every brand tries to create new products with new compositions in order to target a maximum of people. More and more people are very careful about each product’s contents, which is why brands always have to conduct lots of research and find a way to make the perfect product, containing the best natural elements possible.
For a while now, it has been noted that peptides are more and more used in cosmetics due to their properties. Peptides have even been described as the skincare ingredient of the future. So, what do these peptides do? And, how are they implicated in cosmetics, you ask?
Peptides in skincare
According to dermatologists, peptides are building blocks for proteins, known as keratin, collagen and elastin. They are responsible for the texture, tone and appearance of the skin. The human body needs peptides all the time to function properly.
In terms of skincare, peptides strengthen those proteins and they also preserve and restore the skin. There are many peptides that exist, and they all have different effects. They have the ability to reduce lines and wrinkles, strengthen the skin barrier, lock in the hydration, increase collagen production, help in terms of firmness, smooth out a person’s complexion, and repair damaged skin.
Moreover, when the skin starts to change with time and age, putting more peptides on your skin improves the collagen production and starts working to repair your skin as well. But why put more peptides in the body if it already contains a lot? According to specialists, the body loses 1% of collagen per year after the age of thirty, and also due to extensive sun exposure.
Nowadays, four types of peptides have been mostly used for skincare, and they each have a very specific role.
The four types of peptides in skincare
Carrier peptides: Carrier peptides are essential to the human body as they transport wound-healing elements like copper (which serves as an antioxidant and works against premature skin aging) and manganese (which intervenes in collagen synthesis, and is very important for bone and joint construction). In skincare, these peptides help improve collagen synthesis, and reduce wrinkles and fine lines. This way, they keep the skin’s appearance firmer and fuller.
Signal peptides: When we get older, the collagen in our body is destroyed, and can’t replace itself on its own. This is what creates wrinkles and lines. In order to enhance one’s appearance and to look younger, new collagen needs to be injected. Applying serums and moisturizers containing signal peptides improves the fines lines, stimulates collagen production, and improves the elastin of the skin. Peptides also increase the protein in the body.
Neurotransmitter peptides: These peptides are very important in the skincare composition because they restrain acetylcholine, which is what activates muscle movements. These peptides are practically Botox, which is why they are nicknamed “Botox-like”. They have the ability to relax muscle contractions on the face, which helps to minimize certain types of wrinkles such as crow’s feet and laugh lines. These are becoming key ingredients with their anti-aging abilities.
Enzyme inhibitor peptides: A lot of enzymes in the human body can have undesirable effects on the skin. For example, the enzyme protease breaks proteins and peptides. Others break down collagen. In that case, enzyme-inhibiting peptides work to stop the multiplication of these bad enzymes, and keep the healthy structure of collagen, maintaining the elasticity in the skin. Also, enzyme inhibitors are often used in pigmentation treatments. They help even out skin tone and erase aging marks.
These peptides have played (and will continue to play) a major role in the cosmetics industry. In consequence, the demand for high quality cosmetic peptides will definitely rise in the years to come.
Peptides in makeup
The best way to put peptides in your beauty routine is to pick moisturizers and serums, containing peptides. But you can also find peptides in makeup. For example, applying a foundation including neuropeptides treats and increases the aspect, and feel of your skin. Also, neuropeptides lessen lines and wrinkles, soothe redness, and even out the skin over time.
But this is not all. Brands have also researched a way to put peptides in makeup removers. Nowadays, it is more and more common to find cleansers and wipes containing peptides. They generally have the perfect formula to improve the eyelashes (strengthen and increase lash volume) and the skin.
When skincare meets haircare
Components you would normally put in skincare are now used in haircare, and it has amazing results. Back in the day, it used to be simple, but now, some special ingredients are being increasingly used, such as peptides, collagen and antioxidants. These are all the components that you typically have in terms of your skincare, but not typically for your hair care, until now.
So, what are the benefits of having peptides inside of hair products? Well, first let’s start with the scalp, which is what powers hair growth. It will determine whether the health of your hair is favourable. In this case, peptides work the same way as they do on the skin. They can penetrate into the top layer of the skin, and help rebalance and restore your scalp.
Moreover, researchers have discovered that copper peptides can also be a great help to your hair!
- Block the DHT found in our scalp, which is responsible for the hair loss
- Increase the hair follicle size, which thickens your hair and they also help the hair grow faster
- Heal and repair the damage to the scalp. The anti-aging properties of the peptides also help to strengthen your hair.
- Extend the life of the growth phase. The hair growth will be stronger and last longer
Furthermore, natural antioxidant peptides have the same goal in skin and hair products. They stop the oxidation process, and they protect the hair against any aggression, and preserve the color and shine of fibers, covering and protecting them against UV. It is easy to find shampoos, conditioners, serums and sprays containing these peptides.
In the long term, all these ingredients can make the difference to your hair, and it will become stronger and thicker at the roots.
Why don’t we find peptides in every cosmetic product?
Even tough theses peptides are very good for the skin, it is difficult to find them in every product on the market. So, why is that?
First, it is not known whether peptides will last in the formulation of some products, and whether they will maintain their biological activity. Also, products with peptides are quite expensive, which is why they are often in high-quality products.
Moreover, products don’t need a lot of peptides to be efficient, but there is a bigger chance that the peptides won’t last long. It is probable that they will decompose and lose most of their properties (They will still have the hydration effect, but the collagen production will disappear).
The future of peptides in the cosmetic industry
The cosmetic industry is consistently evolving, and brands have to adapt to the new trends and choices made by customers, much like environmental concerns, for example. In the years to come, brands will be expected to go much further and deviate from their respective comfort zones.
Customers are currently more attentive to the contents of cosmetic products; which is ultimately what motivates them whether to buy a product or not. They search for the maximum effect, containing minimal chemical products, as they fear what these could do to the skin. Consumers have effectively switched over to natural and engineered alternatives. In that case, peptides are going to keep strengthening their position in this industry, as the composition of these peptides is extremely natural. This natural composition mimics the environmental movement towards electric cars. Right now, laboratory alternatives are the future of cosmetics.
It has also been noted that people consume less than before. Consumers are starting to realize that using less products is beneficial for their skin, body and hair. Applying too many products on the skin confuses the body’s cells, which provokes the opposite effect on the skin. Knowing that, brands try to adapt their products to make them as complete as possible, in the best, most natural way possible.
The next decade will be essential for personal care and beauty. Everything will be assessed, from consumers’ preferences to their personal opinions. Consumers who want both organic and artificial products will mostly lean towards lab-grown ingredients, and their trust in biotechnology will increase.
With time, more research and discoveries will be made, and the properties of peptides will keep improving, making them even more essential to the cosmetics industry.