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Lipids & Peptides for Skin Care

Lipids & Peptides for Skin Care Lipids & Peptides for Skin Care


Peptides for skin care became a popular notion when French women named a product used for stretch marks as the best antiwrinkle cream for the face. Soon cosmetic manufacturers were rushing to include the peptide ingredients responsible for the antiwrinkle effect in their own formulations. Lipids became popular on the heels of the fish oil craze, when consumers learned of their many health properties.


A peptide is a compound consisting of two or more amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and proteins are found in every skin cell, which explains why peptides are important to skin integrity. Lipids are fatty or waxy organic compounds that play a major role in the structure of cell membranes, imparting strength and elasticity to the skin, or epidermis. The outermost layer of the epidermis is called the stratum corneum and is basically composed of proteins floating around in a sea of lipids. In terms of skin care, peptides and lipids go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Peptide Functions

Cosmetic peptides serve two general functions: they reduce wrinkle depth and length, and they impart botox-like effects by interfering with facial muscle contractions. Sederma is the manufacturer of the popular wrinkle-reducing peptide called matrixyl. According to Sederma, matrixyl works in the skin by mimicking the action of natural wound healing. Lipotec is the manufacturer of argireline, and the company markets the peptide as an alternative to botox injections, claiming it targets wrinkle formation in a safer, gentler way.

Lipid Functions

The magazine "Cosmetics & Toiletries" lists the primary lipids in the stratum corneum as ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. They make up approximately 50, 25 and 10 percent of the lipid mass, respectively. Ceramides act to maintain the water permeability barrier function of the skin. Cholesterol provides fluidity in what would otherwise be a rigid membrane, and fatty acids are the building blocks of ceramides. An upset in the balance of these lipids creates problems ranging from dry skin to psoriasis.


Peptides are water soluble, while lipids are fat soluble, making them incompatible as coingredients in the same product formulation. Emulsifiers effectively overcome the solubility problems, but according to SpecialChem, a major supplier of ingredients to the cosmetics industry, they can also prevent active ingredients from penetrating the skin. Gel formulations are water based, while lotions and creams are lipid based. Lipid formulations that most closely match the body's natural lipid ratio mentioned above are readily absorbed.

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