Youth and good skin are wasted on the young. Oblivious to the abundance of collagen that keeps our skin plump and taut, our tender years pass by with a definite lack of appreciation for the beauty of mere youth.
Until one day, we wake up with our first wrinkle. At which point, you either decide to break out the skincare weapons or let nature take its course. If you’re in the second category, good on ya. But if you’ve decided to fight aging skin with everything you’ve got, it’s time to add peptides to your beauty routine.
Peptide is probably a skincare buzzword you’ve heard bandied about along with other key ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and collagen. But do you really know what peptides are and what they can do for you?
Today we’re going to fill you in on this skincare powerhouse as well as our favorite peptide moisturizers. But first, let’s start by explaining what peptides are.
All About Peptides
Peptides are amino acids that make up certain proteins needed by our skin – like collagen and elastin. If you’re a skincare junkie, you already know that collagen and elastin are responsible for keeping our skin plump and firm. And while our body makes them naturally, over time, our production drops which eventually leads to wrinkles and sagging skin.
The good news is that peptides act like a messenger to our body and can stimulate it to produce more collagen. So why not just buy a moisturizer with collagen? While collagen is actually great for moisturizing the outer layer of our skin, it’s too large a molecule to actually penetrate it.
Peptides, on the other hand, can be absorbed by the skin, where they can be utilized by the body.
The Benefits of Peptides
So what exactly can peptides do for you? Read on!
Peptides Can Help Reduce Wrinkles
As already mentioned, peptides sink deeply into our skin, where they can stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, which keep our skin plump and firm (and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles).
Peptides Can Improve the Skin Barrier
The skin barrier is the outermost layer of our skin and protects us from things like bacteria, pollution, ultraviolet rays, cigarette smoke and even a bad night’s sleep. By adding peptides to your beauty regime, you can strengthen the skin barrier and protect yourself from toxins and other damaging factors.
Peptides Can Reduce Inflammation
Peptides can also help repair damaged skin, reduce inflammation and even out skin tone.
Peptides Are Good for Acne
Some peptides are especially good at killing bacteria which helps to fight acne breakouts.
Peptides Are Gentle on the Skin
If you have sensitive skin, it’s also good to know that peptides are non-irritating. (If you do have a reaction to a peptide moisturizer, it could be due to another ingredient.)
What to Know About Peptides and Your Skincare Routine
Before you start using peptides, there are a few things you should know about adding them to your beauty regime.
First of all, be sure to pick a peptide product that has prolonged contact with your skin, like a serum or moisturizer. While skin cleansers with peptides may sound great, they’re not very effective because the peptides are washed off of your skin immediately.
It’s also important to be aware of how you combine peptides with other skincare ingredients. Peptides work well in combination with things like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, niacinamide and antioxidants. But alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and free acids like glycolic acid can reduce their effectiveness by breaking the peptides down. You can still use these types of acids, but not at the same time as peptides for the best results.
Our Favorite Peptide Moisturizers
Now that we’ve covered peptides 101, let’s go over our list of favorite moisturizers and serums that feature this key ingredient.
Fans of the reasonably priced skincare line The Ordinary will be thrilled to know that they also make a fast-absorbing serum with five different peptides and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin moist while also boosting collagen.
Willing to splurge a little more? For around $30, you can buy the free radical fighting Buffet + Copper peptides 1%.
This cruelty-free moisturizer features a patented blend of three different peptides to boost the skin’s elasticity. But that’s not the only reason we like it. It also contains ultra-stable, medical-grade vitamin C to brighten the skin, as well as green tea extract to fight free radicals.
And to top it all off, it has a yummy citrus smell we can’t resist!
If you struggle with acne or sensitive skin, this antibacterial and antifungal peptide formula with lilac leaf stem cell extract helps to regulate sebum and reduce inflammation while soothing dry, dehydrated skin.
The key peptide ingredient is the reparative and collagen boosting Matrixyl Synthe’6. This cream also contains cranberry fruit extract, a powerful antioxidant with antibacterial and nourishing properties.
And while it’s a good choice for acne-prone skin, this moisturizer also works especially well for anyone with dry skin.
This cult favorite serum is adored by all skin types for its firming, calming and brightening properties that help give your face that special glow. So what’s in the secret sauce? A proprietary blend of peptides to boost collagen and help diminish wrinkles.
But this hard working formula doesn’t stop there. It also contains powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory niacinamide to brighten the skin and hyaluronic acid to moisturize and plump it. And to pump up your glow even further, it’s also infused with peach and Asian yam extracts, which are chock full of vitamins, fatty acids and antioxidants.
It’s like a meal for your skin!
Although most of us tend to focus on our face and neck, peptides can also be beneficial for the skin on all parts of our body. To help restore elasticity and hydrate the skin below your chin, we like this serum from Boscia.
Tetrapeptide-3 helps to stimulate collagen production while niacinamide brightens and promotes protein synthesis to improve texture for a more youthful look and feel. We also like that this serum is vegan, cruelty free and free of artificial colors, preservatives and fragrances.
This lightweight moisturizer is great for layering under makeup and sunscreen as it never leaves your skin feeling greasy. But beyond its great texture, you’ll love this cream because its Tri-Tide Peptide Complex helps to stimulate collagen and firm your skin.
The addition of antioxidant rich hibiscus also helps protect you from free radicals, while the special ingredient madecassoside soothes inflammation and repairs damage to your skin. The formula is rounded out with niacinamide to even out your skin tone.
There’s a reason this cream is a best seller!
This effective boosting serum uses 8 powerful peptides to fight wrinkles and discoloration while increasing the firmness of your skin. It also features hydrating amino acids to restore and fortify the skin, as well as repairing ingredients like licorice to soothe redness and irritation.
For added flexibility, you can use this serum alone or add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer or body lotion. Paula’s Choice is also fragrance free and contains no parabens.
Peptides can be used over the entire face, but a moisturizer made especially for the eye area can help firm this delicate part of our skin as well as diminish the appearance of crow’s feet. This mid-range priced cream contains triple oligo peptides along with hyaluronic acid and cucumber to restore elasticity, diminish dark circles and wrinkles and depuff the eye area.
We also like that this lightweight cream absorbs well and can be worn under makeup. Another nice plus is that it’s cruelty-free and has the clean seal of approval from Sephora.
This popular moisturizer is packed with nine different peptides to plump and firm your skin. But it doesn’t stop there when it comes to restoring your youthful glow. Other key ingredients include water lily stem cell extract to replenish the skin with antioxidants and nutrients, as well as soybean folic acid (vitamin B) to improve elasticity.
Over time, you should see an improvement in the firmness, texture and tone of your skin.
Fans of this peptide moisturizer rave about its lightweight but hydrating feel. Infused with multi-performance peptides, it firms the skin, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and diminishes dark spots.
This formula is also fortified with hyaluronic acid to moisturize your skin and improve elasticity. Topping off this well rounded moisturizer are antioxidants like vitamin C and bearberry to smooth inflammation and protect your skin from free radicals.
Add it all up, and you have firmer, more radiant skin.
Fans of natural beauty will appreciate this organic moisturizer whose star ingredient is a peptide illuminating complex with hibiscus seed botanical peptides and gardenia stem cells to promote elasticity. It also contains yellow plum extract to reduce inflammation.
Other key ingredients include arctic plants and berries, which are well known for their ability to reduce and prevent the signs of aging. Prepare to get your natural glow on!
This firming formula contains a whopping 21 peptides and neuropeptides to fight fine lines and wrinkles. And to further improve your skin’s elasticity, texture and tone, it also utilizes gamma proteins that harness the effects of Asian natton gum.
Hyaluronic acid, squalane and phyto fleur cactus also help to make it a highly effective moisturizer, while trehalose prevents future moisture loss.
Developed by surgeon Dr. Antony Nakhla, this cutting edge serum boasts a truly impressive list of ingredients to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, boost firmness, increase brightness and fight dark spots. First of all, it features a proprietary ingredient called Peptide-Rich Plasma which contains powerful peptides, amino acids and growth factors.
Other skin savers include the antioxidants ferulic acid and resveratrol plus a super antioxidant blend of vitamins A, C, E and COQ10 to fight free radicals.
This moisturizer is also vegan, cruelty-free, GMO-free and contains no parabens, phthalates, fragrances or sulfates and makes a sustainable addition to your skincare routine.
On the high end of green beauty is this rich, peptide-powered formula that’s especially soothing for dry skin. Other hydrating ingredients include dual weight hyaluronic acid and a sugar carbohydrate complex that promotes the production of the skin’s natural moisturizers.
Finally, the addition of red maple bark helps to reduce premature aging while also adding moisture.
It’s also soothing to know that this product is formulated with only clean ingredients and is vegan and cruelty-free. Good for your skin and good for the planet!
Yes, you will pay a premium price for this anti-aging serum, but skincare fanatics rave about its ability to fight sagging skin, reduce the look of wrinkles and give them an overall more youthful appearance.
This blend of peptides, antioxidants and other powerful anti-aging ingredients is designed for all skin types and will also help to improve the tone and texture of the skin.
Peptides Plus Patience Equals Better Skin
Well, that wraps up our favorite peptide moisturizers and serums. We hope that you feel more in the know about this A-list ingredient and how it can help firm your skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and give you an overall more youthful appearance.
Of course, no skincare ingredient can give you overnight results, no matter how powerful. Adding peptides to your beauty routine is a great step, but you may have to wait several months before you start seeing a transformation.
But give it time and stay consistent, and you may find that peptides put the pep back into your skin.
You might also be interested in: What Does Micellar Water Do For Your Skin? [With 6 Of Our Favorite Picks]
Our 15 Favorite Peptide Moisturizers:
- The Ordinary Buffet
- Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C + Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting and Brightening Moisturizer
- Face Reality Cran Peptide Cream
- Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum
- Boscia Peptide Youth Restore Firming Body Serum
- Then I Met You Calming Tide Gel Cream
- Paula’s Choice Boost Peptide Booster Serum
- Sobel SkinRx Oligo Peptide Eye Cream
- Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer
- HydroPeptide Face Lift Advanced Ultra Light Moisturizer
- Eminence Organic Skincare Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream
- Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Wrinkles Resist Moisturizer
- Eighth Day Reparative Moisturizer
- Tata Harper Creme Riche Anti-Aging Peptide Night Cream
- SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum