What do you think when confronted with the vast array of beauty products on the market? How do you choose your beauty products? Many individuals rely on factors such as brand appeal, advertising claims, personal recommendations, or simple convenience. What few imagine are laboratories filled with scientists concocting formulas filled with cutting-edge ingredients. If you are having trouble reconciling the image of a nerdy scientist in a white lab coat with the beautiful models filling the pages of beauty magazines, you are not alone. Read on to learn why you should be thinking about science to get the best results from your beauty choices.
One of the best examples to illustrate the successful marriage of science and beauty is the new generation of anti-aging products. Ingredients such as alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, retinol, and sunscreens have traditionally been the mainstay of these products. While they remain important components, other active components such as peptides, antioxidants and botanical extracts have increased the potential effectiveness of anti-aging products. Peptides, the small subunits of proteins, are causing a great deal of excitement in particular. As biologically active components, they have ability to affect changes to the appearance of the skin. The specific action of each peptide depends on its natural role so they act selectively and are quite potent.
Before discussing the potential advantages of peptides, let’s review how skin changes with aging. The epidermis, or outermost layer, thickens in response to persistent sun exposure, and exfoliation decreases, giving skin a roughened texture. Sun exposure also causes clumps of melanin to form, resulting in age spots. In the dermis, collagen, the structural component of the skin, deteriorates, along with its associated components, elastin and hyaluronic acid. The result is dry, discolored, wrinkled and sagging skin.
Peptides have been extensively studied in regards to tissue repair during wound healing. Certain peptides are known to act as growth factors and stimulate the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. In addition, peptides can also suppress inflammatory processes known to contribute to collagen degradation. Since changes to collagen are associated with aging skin, it was naturally concluded that these same Peptides Forum peptides may be beneficial in anti-aging products. Towards that goal, scientists have isolated an amazing array of peptides for use in skin care products.
Peptides, specially treated to allow penetration into the skin, can act in one of three ways: as signaling entities, copper delivery vehicles, or neurotransmitter inhibitors. The specific activity of any given peptide is related to its structure, and a variety of results may be obtained. Signal peptides trigger collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production, and act as anti-inflammatory and skin lightening agents. Peptides are also used to deliver copper, a trace element necessary for processes associated with collagen production. Unable to penetrate skin alone, once stabilized by peptides, copper can be delivered to the dermis. Finally, some peptides are thought to block the transmission of nerve signals to muscles, decreasing the repetitive muscle movement associated with certain types of wrinkles, such as frown lines.