Peptides in Skincare

Are Peptides Really an Anti-Aging Miracle or Just Marketing BS?


Unless you have been under a rock you could not of failed to notice the flurry of news that has surrounded Australia’s sports codes over the last six months.  Peptides have caused the biggest controversy in recent sporting history. While these chemicals may be banned for our sporting stars, cosmetic brands are championing peptides as the biggest break through in skincare ever. set out to discover just what they actually are and more importantly, do they really decrease wrinkles and make skin look younger? To put it bluntly, is it worth spending money on high priced moisturiser or is this just another marketing claim?

What are Peptides?

Peptides are short chains of proteins that (theoretically) are easily absorbed into the skin because they’re small enough to penetrate deep into skin’s layers. They’re meant to signal your body to start building up collagen, which results in smoother, firmer skin. The most common peptides used in skin care are acetyl hexapeptide-3, palmitoyl pentapeptide (Matrixyl)., palmitoyl oligopeptide and copper peptides.

OK, but do they work?

Yes. And no.

According to Paula Begoun, author of 20 best-selling books on skin care, makeup, and hair care including The Cosmetic Cop, peptides have the potential to work but lack some necessary scientific developments. Namely, according to Begoun, “Peptides must be stable in their base formula, they must be paired with a carrier that enhances absorption into the skin, and they must be able to reach their target cell groups without breaking down.”

Most moisturizers on the market today can’t deliver on those requirements, but the skin care industry is pushing for more breakthroughs. In the meantime, some peptides have developed to the point that they can offer some good – just not miraculous – benefits.

The most effective peptides are copper and Matrixyl (palmitoyl pentapeptide). Research shows that copper can reach the deepest layers of skin and stimulate the healing process, which is the skin’s way of manufacturing more collagen to replace lost cells. Copper has traditionally been used to treat chronic wounds, and it’s inclusion into skincare has had good results. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, which is used to fight free radicals that contribute to ageing skin.


Matrixyl, is one of the most popular peptides used in skin care today. It penetrates deeply and stimulates collagen production in the matrix layers of the skin as well as hyaluronic acid, a moisturizing, plumping element that results in youthful looking skin.

The jury is still out on acetyl hexapeptide-3, also called neuropeptides. Some skin care brands claim that this ingredient has the power to lift sagging skin and create the same effects as those of a laser or Botox. Unfortunately, most experts agree that there is no research or scientific evidence to prove that those type of results are possible. Yet!

So, do peptides really work? Yes. As long as you keep your expectations realistic. Check for copper peptides, oligopeptides or Matrixyl to get a product with proven research to support the claims. Luckily, products containing those ingredients won’t necessarily cost you an arm and leg just to rejuvenate your complexion.

Do you want to learn more about peptides? Watch this video from the creators of Dermalogica to discover how they use a range of peptides to develop results-oriented ageing skin care.


Writer and expert