There are many different types of peptides, and they can have very different effects on the skin. Dr Sommerlad suggests looking out for carrier and signal peptides (copper is the best carrier peptide, while signals include carnosine and n-acetylcarnosine; many palmitoyl tripeptides and hexapeptides are also good) as well as enzyme inhibitors or neurotransmitter peptides (although she warns that there’s not enough evidence to support these yet). You may even want to look out for antimicrobial peptides as they can help reduce inflammation and aid wound healing.
There is a tonne of research to prove that some peptides can tighten loose skin, repair the skin barrier, improve firmness, elasticity and clarity, smooth roughness and soften wrinkles. And there’s more – some can attract acne-causing bacteria away from the skin, resulting in less breakouts and inflammation.
However, one thing to keep in mind when shopping for a peptide serum is that it’s important to pair it with other key skincare ingredients to maximise its benefits. “Peptides work as messengers to tell your skin cells to do something,” explains Ifeoma Ejikeme, Founder & Medical Director at Adonia Medical Clinic. “So, it’s very important to add them into your routine alongside other effective products such as retinol, vitamin C, SPF, niacinamide and more.”
To help you find the best peptides uk for your skin, we’ve rounded up some of the most hard-working formulations to rework your skincare regime.
A firm favourite of Hailey Bieber’s Rhode beauty line, this serum combines a blend of active peptides and amino acids to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also enriched with niacinamide and vitamin C to brighten the complexion and improve skin radiance.
For younger-looking skin, this formula is said to reduce muscle contractions that cause premature wrinkling and fine lines. It’s infused with three peptides, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to boost collagen and elastin production for a plump, rejuvenated complexion.
For targeting dark circles and signs of fatigue, this serum from Indeed Labs is formulated with a complex of peptides, copper and zinc to brighten the complexion while also hydrating and minimising the appearance of fine lines. It’s been infused with antimicrobial and antioxidant ingredients to support healthy skin, too.