Peptides in Skin Care Q: I am back with another qstn. I am interested in skincare for the 40+ group {way over 40+ actually}.....but 40+ seems to be when things start to shift!....I've had good luck with the phytoestrogens. Red Clover, Black qstn is for my younger friends and what ingredients are the most beneficial for preventing some of the issues I face now, where perhaps they won't have such an extent? Is loss of elasticity and the rest of it simply a given that we must expect/accept? If there are specific ingredients that would deter this somewhat to use when one is young.....say 20's, 30's....what would these ingredients be? Realizing the importance of vitamins and anti-oxidants at any age I'm wondering if someone started young with proper ingredients, might they have fewer issues to face with aging? Factoring in the vital importance of diet/exercise....etc. that definitely helps 'insure' future developments..or lack of them. From items I've read of yours it is all in bilogical reaction..........and importance in the formulation. Or are we all just trying too hard and simple is best. If you only had the option of 3 ingredients to use......ever........what would they be? I've heard the less ingredients a product contains, the better. I'm sure nobody is going to use just 3 ingredients, but I am curious if you had to, which ones you would choose? o.k.....this is really ANOTHER qstn here I am throwing in: what is your take on PolyPeptides? Argireline, their sufficient safety data to ever comfortably use these?......I've read where 10% is suggested to be of any effect.....10% seems a lot for an ingred. with no 'history' much {i.e. Argireline}. thanks again! Jeflin

A: Dear Jeflin,

Before I move on to your question about peptides, just a brief addition to my previous reply about ingredients: a product can be perfectly formulated with 10 ingredients, or with 30. As much as it is science, it is also luck coming across the right formula for a certain product. Out of so many variables, all similar, one is going to be just right. When approached like that, the goal then becomes to make that perfect product regardless of how many ingredients it will take. If the list of ingredients is long mostly due to additives to the basic emulsion - they are there to create the feel and the texture of the cream. These are not insignificant requirements, because most people will base their purchasing decision on how the product feels and smells. The efficacy of any product can be shown only after it's been used, i.e. after the purchase.

Let's move on to the peptides now: Argireline is said to have the effect similar to Botox, that is, it relaxes facial muscles, and consequently wrinkles. There are studies that show efficacy, there are also good reasons to be skeptical. Again, it is a new product. This challenges it on two levels - the efficacy and safety. Efficacy is difficult to assess not only because there are no large scale studies yet, but because no two people's skins are the same. One person may see a little result, and another a great deal more. Safety - yes, not known. There are no indications that it is dangerous, and it is not irritating, however whether it will be safe after a long-term use, nobody knows. Another issue with Argeriline is the very effect it produces. Relaxing is opposite of tightening, and while it is good to reduce the appearance of wrinkles through relaxed muscles, most people desire to have their skin look tighter.

Matrixyl, another popular peptide, has a completely different action from Argeriline. It was discovered that it promotes the production of collagen, elastin and glucosaminoglycans in the skin's matrix. This is fantastic, but it was also in vitro. In vivo, some people seem to have very good results, some not nearly as much. There is no irritation but safety remains unknown, like with other novel ingredients.

What that means is that these and other ingredients are promising. A combination of level of use, different formulations and natural varieties in individuals' skins will always make it challenging to elect a single ingredient as the anti-aging cure. A company promoting a product will focus its claims on the positive findings from research. Anybody else can only say: maybe. A sensible, high quality combination of active ingredients is always a good choice in skin care, but the answers past that are in fact to be found in your own experience.

My best regards,

Ivana K.

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