If you’ve been digging into the amino acid craze in skin care, you’ve likely come across the terms “peptide” and “protein” in relation to amino acids. While peptides and proteins are similar in structure, there are a few defining differences between them. Here is everything you need to know about amino acids, peptides, and proteins and why these substances are integral to your skin’s health and beauty.
Amino Acids as Building Blocks
Of the three substances, amino acids are the smallest. They are considered the “building blocks” of life because they combine in various patterns to form both peptides and proteins. Within human skin, amino acids have been shown to play important roles in collagen production, UV protection, wound healing, and hydration. Which functions they perform, however, are unique to the specific combinations of amino acids that are joined together through peptide bonds.
What Is a Peptide?
A peptide is defined as a group of 2 to 50 amino acids . Peptides can be broken into subgroups to further categorize their “chain” length of amino acids. The shortest peptides, for example, are called dipeptides, as these consist of two amino acids. Tripeptides consist of three amino acids, and tetrapeptides consist of four. Polypeptides are long chains of amino acids.
No matter their length, these chains of amino acid sequences each have an α-amino at one end and an α-carboxyl at the other. This determines the beginning of the chain (the α-amino) and the end of the chain (the α-carboxyl). Thus, it is possible to have two different peptides that contain the same amino acids, yet are arranged in opposite orders . This is important to note because depending on the specific amino acid sequence, a vast number of peptides can be created, all having unique functions within the body and skin.
What Is a Protein?
Proteins are similar to peptides in that they are also formed of chains of amino acids. The primary difference between the two is that proteins consist of longer chains of amino acids, traditionally 50 or more. Proteins make up a large percentage of the mass of all living organisms and are therefore vital for the optimum function and health of our bodies. Like peptides, various proteins perform different functions and can be specialized depending on their location within the body. Collagen, for example, is one of the most abundant proteins in human skin and is what provides its firm, youthful structure, look and feel.
Collagen-Nourishing Skin Care
Although the human body naturally synthesizes collagen using the amino acids glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine, this process begins to decline over time . Collagen degradation is largely accelerated by extrinsic factors like UV exposure, air pollution, cigarette smoke, and a high-sugar diet. As collagen production drops, signs of aging such as lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin become more apparent.
To help reverse these effects and restore a smoother, firmer, and more radiant complexion, you can apply topical amino acids. Because of their central role in collagen production, as well as their many other skin benefits, amino acids are excellent anti-aging ingredients.
AminoGenesis Therapeutic Facial Repair anti-aging moisturizing cream contains a powerful concentration of 17 plant-based amino acids to help improve the look and feel of deep expression lines, sagging skin, discoloration, and a dull, lackluster complexion. You can also give your skin a boost of amino acid nourishment by using a facial cleanser like AminoGenesis Really, Really Clean that not only gently sweeps away dirt, oil, makeup, and pollutants from your skin, but also provides the anti-aging and hydration benefits of amino acids.
Understanding the function of the ingredients that are included in your skin care products can help you to choose the most effective products for your unique needs. Amino acids are quickly becoming popular ingredients in anti-aging skin care for their ability to create peptides and proteins. Look for these ingredients in the products that you use on your skin everyday to see a significant improvement in the overall smoothness and radiance of your complexion.