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Biomimetic peptides: what they are and their cosmetic applications

Peptides in human physiology

Peptides and proteins are polymers of amino acids. Peptides are short chains of amino acids. The name peptide comes from pepton [peptos: digested (Greek)]. Naturally occurring human peptides are known for cell communication such as: protein regulation, cell proliferation, cell migration, inflammation, angiogenesis, and melanogenesis. This results in a wide variety of physiological processes including including defense, immunity, stress, growth, homeostasis and reproduction.

Peptides in cosmetics

Biomimetic peptides for skincare and beauty
Biomimetic peptides for skincare and beauty

In the late 1980s, the first copper peptide was incorporated into skin care products. Peptide development proceeded slowly until the early 2000s, when palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 was stabilized.

What are Biomimetic Peptides?

Biomimetic peptides are synthetic peptides created in laboratory based on natural peptides. They mimic elements present in nature and are modified to maximize their effectiveness. They are formed from amino acid sequences similar to those of natural protein. They have been used in cosmetics in recent years with great success among consumers, who recognize their great effectiveness even when compared to more traditional active ingredients.

Research on biomimetic peptides

Academic and industry laboratories have developed many short, stable, synthetic peptides that have roles in extracellular matrix synthesis, pigmentation, innate immunity, and inflammation. These peptides are used for collagen stimulation, wound healing, “Botox-like” wrinkle smoothing, as well as antioxidant, antimicrobial, and whitening effects.

Topical cosmeceutical peptides can be classified as signaling peptides, carrier peptides, neurotransmitter inhibitor peptides, and enzyme inhibitor peptides.

It was always assumed that due to the outer skin barrier, the molecular weight of the peptides should be less than 500 Da, otherwise the peptide would not be able to reach the active layers of the epidermis. The moderate log octanol/water partition coefficient should be between 1 and 3, the melting point should be less than 200°C, the water solubility should be >1 mg/mL, and there should be no or only few polar centres.

But more recent studies have shown that larger molecules can still cross the skin barrier, especially in the case of dry and aging skin. Synthetic peptides consist of chains of amino acids which can now be modified in various ways for different functions such as increased skin penetration, increased special receptor binding, stability and solubility.

A number of peptides are capable of triggering a signaling cascade. They are released from the extracellular matrix and are also called matricins or collagen stimulators. These peptides increase the proliferation of collagen, elastin, proteoglycan, glycosaminoglycan and fibronectin. As a result, photo-damaged skin pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles are reduced with the regeneration of skin matrix cells. Skin elasticity increases and the skin appears smoother and firmer. Synthetic peptides modeled after repair signaling sequences such as those described in this section have been developed to rejuvenate the skin.

Twenty years ago, no scientist would have ever thought that the development synthetic or natural peptides for cosmetic purposes would be so effective. Researchers identified specific peptide sequences that allowed to target the most aesthetically important skin layers. Since 2000, the use of peptides in cosmeceutical products has increased dramatically, and this highlights the need to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the different molecules as well as the physiological principles underlying their use. The commercial potential of these molecules is high, especially for those peptide sequences with cosmetic properties (for example, anti-aging, antioxidant, whitening). Nowadays, peptides can be developed or modified in numerous ways for solubility, better penetration, increased receptor activity, etc.

The selected peptides have excellent records of non-toxicity and stability.

With topical treatment, in the frontal region, the anti-wrinkle effect of the botulinum injection was highly intensified at all times, extending its benefit for several months. The topical active ingredient almost tripled the anti-wrinkle effect compared to the control treatment in the frontal region, in the periorbital region it enhanced the wrinkle-smoothing effect induced by the toxin over the course of six months.

Biomimetic peptides for the treatment of wrinkles and expression lines
Biomimetic peptides for the treatment of wrinkles and expression lines

The topical active visibly enhanced the effect of a botulinum toxin treatment and extended its anti-wrinkle benefit on the skin.

Surgical and non-surgical procedures to address unwanted signs of aging, especially expression lines and lines induced by repeated muscle contractions, are widespread. Botulinum toxin injections are one of the most requested treatments because they are effective and less invasive than surgery, even if with some restrictions.

The peptide-based cosmetic almost tripled the anti-wrinkle effect of the control treatment in the forehead region after six months and clearly slowed down the reappearance of expression lines in the crow’s feet area. Thus, the ingredient proved to be an ideal topical complement to botulinum toxin injections, with demonstrated efficacy in clearly prolonging their anti-wrinkle anti-expression effects.

Today the hexapeptides are used more often than the botulinum toxin, beacuse the treatment is reversible. The duration and the long-term results depend both on the concentration of the “Botox-similar” hexapeptide and on the active ingredients (complementary and additional), which can either bolster the moisturizing and elasticising effects, or increase the penetration and deep skin availability.

What are the benefits of biomimetic peptides in face creams and cosmetics?

Biomimetic peptides have proved their effectiveness in reducing wrinkles, expression lines and caombating skin aging. They stimulate the skin cells in the production of collagen and elastin, promoting tone and hydration and making it look younger.

The biomimetic petide Palmitoyl Hexapetide-19

The Palmitoyl Hexapeptide-19, which is used in our cosmetics line, is a new sophisticated hexapeptide, with a useful cosmetic effect in the reduction of mimic wrinkles on the face, caused by the contraction of the facial muscles. It implements a physiological mechanism of the skin itself, with a high specificity of action on neurotransmitters.

Anti-aging serum with biomimetic peptides (palmitoyl hexapeptide-19)
Antiage serum with biomimetic peptides with similar botox activity (palmitoyl hexapeptide-19)

Its activity is similar to that of botulinum toxin, which is why this peptide is also called “Botox-like”. It acts by competing with a protein, transiently destabilizing the formation of the SNARE process (the SNARE is the whole process of skin tension and muscle contractions), following which wrinkles appear on the face. Therefore, by applying a cosmetic containing hexapeptide 19 to the skin, the tonic contraction of the facial muscles responsible for the deepening of expression lines is reduced. Hexapeptide 19 (like all peptides) is a safer solution than the botulinum toxin, with no known side effects. In fact, the peptide affects only the SNARE process, slightly modifying the structure of a protein, while the botulinum toxin destroys it causing irreversible muscle paralysis.

Check out ourANTIAGE SERUM WITH BIOMIMETIC PEPTIDE with botox-like action (palmitoyl hexapeptide-19). Now available on our online shop.

Do you want more information about our products, some advice on the right ones to choose or on the active ingredients used? CONTACT US by chat, Email, Whatsapp, on Facebook or Istagram.


“Topical Peptide Treatments with Effective Anti-Aging Results”

Silke Karin Schagen Beldio Research GmbH; Kramerstrasse 15, 87700 Memmingen, Germany; Academic Editor: Marie Loden

“Approccio peptidico per migliorare l’efficacia antirughe tra le iniezioni”

28 ago 2014, Marta Rull, Cristina Davi, Elena Cañadas, Núria Almiñana e Raquel Delgado, Lipotec S.A.U, Gavà, Spagna