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Peptides en cosmétique.

What are peptides and what are their uses in cosmetics?

Peptides are short, linear sequences of amino acids. Their similarity to the protein structures present in our skin makes them perfectly tolerated actives with no contraindications. What are their benefits for the skin and hair? Let's focus.

The different types of peptides.

Peptides are small-sized proteins.They are composed of chains of amino acids (aa) linked together through peptide bonds. The use of peptides in skincare is beneficial when the production of collagen in the skin slows down. Indeed, these proteins promote the synthesis of collagen to prevent skin sagging and aging.

Peptides are categorized into 4 groups based on their biological actions:

  • Signal peptides (e.g.: acetyl tetrapeptide-9acetyl tetrapeptide-11 , palmitoyl tripeptide-1, cyclopeptide-5 , etc...): As soon as they embed themselves into the skin pores, these peptides stimulate the synthesis of collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans in the dermis. These actions promote skin firmness.

  • Enzyme inhibiting peptides (e.g.: acetyl tetrapeptide-2, pea peptides, etc...): These peptides block undesirable enzymes such as tyrosinase (an enzyme that stimulates melanin production) to make the skin radiant and even. They also slow down the enzymatic process that breaks down collagen.

  • Neurotransmitter inhibiting peptides (e.g., acetyl hexapeptide-8, etc...): Once released into the skin, this category of peptides relaxes the muscles to reduce expression wrinkles and fine lines. They are often compared to "botox" due to their inhibitory activity on the release of toxins that induce muscle contraction.

  • Carrier peptides (e.g.: copper tripeptide-1, etc...): As their name suggests, they optimize the transport of essential trace elements through skin cells. Carrier peptides release copper or magnesium to stimulate the skin's bioactive molecules and promote the healing process.

What are the beneficial effects of peptides in cosmetics?

When applied topically, exogenous peptides induce changes in the complex pathways that regulate the expression of skin proteins, generally to prevent signs of aging.In other words, peptides are most often used to trigger a signaling cascade and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.These fibrous proteins present in the dermis provide flexibility and firmness to the skin, but their content in the skin tends to decrease over the years. Moreover, some peptides can also boost the production of hyaluronic acid in the skin for a hydrated, plump, and smoother skin.

Furthermore, peptides can have functions beyond their role in diminishing the appearance of wrinkles. They can influence various biological skin processes such as inflammation, cell proliferation, melanogenesis, oxidative stress, and so on. When applied to hair follicles, certain peptides provide re-densifying properties. They stimulate, strengthen, and densify the cells of eyelashes and eyebrows, while also helping to keep them healthy.

In regards to the I.N.C.I. nomenclature, Greek qualifying prefixes are used. For instance, di-, tri-, tetra-, pentapeptides refer to peptides of 2, 3, 4, and 5 amino acids in length, and so forth. There are plenty of variations: Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, Hexapeptide-2, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-9, Alanyl Glutamine, Acetyl Hexapeptide-1, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-11, Carnosine, Cyclotetrapeptide-24 Aminocyclohexane Carboxylate.

In which Typology skincare products can peptides be found?

We have included pea peptides in the following two treatments: the scalp serum densifying with 2% peptides andginger extract, and the lash & brow serum with 2% pea peptides andcastor oil. The pea peptides are rich in phytonutrients, particularly in isoflavones. They stimulate specific molecules in the dermal papilla that are essential for reactivating the growth of hair, as well as other types of hair such as lashes and eyebrows.

Furthermore, the density & firmness complex combines three peptides: cyclopeptide-5, acetyl tetrapeptide-9, and acetyl tetrapeptide-11. The 3 peptides present in this serum work simultaneously on different targets involved in the support and density of the skin. The acetyl tetrapeptide-9 acts on the lumican protein to strengthen the skin's structure. The acetyl tetrapeptide-11 acts on a protein present on the skin's surface to "smooth" it. The cyclotetrapeptide-24 is an antioxidant and helps to combat free radicals.


  • BOREL J. P. & al. Stimulation of collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures by a triterpene extracted from Centella asiatica. Connective Tissue Research  (1990).

  • Dr. KRIVOSHIEV B. Peptides and proteins in cosmetics. Biorius

  • LINTNER K. Peptides : What else ? Cosmeticobs (2014).

  • SCHAGEN S. K. Topical peptide treatments with effective anti-Aging results. Cosmetics (2016).

  • SALVADOR FERREIRA M. & al. Trending anti-aging peptides. Cosmetics (2020).

  • PERLIKOWSKA R. & al. Signal peptides - promising ingredients in cosmetics. Current Protein and Peptide Science (2021).


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