Oh, sweet peptides, how we love you so.
Protein peptides are the little powerhouses of the skincare world, delivering anti-aging benefits to complexions everywhere.
The addition of peptides to your menu of esthetics services will allow your facials to pack a punch and your clients to reap the benefits. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to acquaint yourself with peptides and see what all the buzz is about.
The Science Behind Peptide Facials
Thanks to technology, we have peptides, which are used in estheticians’ offices and medical spas everywhere. So, what exactly are they and how do they benefit the skin?
Scientifically speaking, peptides are short chains of amino acids—you know, those basic building blocks of proteins you probably learned about in science class. Peptides are created through the digestion of proteins in the body. Because many types of peptides are easily absorbed into the bloodstream, they also make very effective skin care ingredients.
Where Has All the Collagen Gone?
Collagen is our skin’s best friend; it gives our skin support and thickness. Young people have a lot of it, which is why their skin is smooth and taut. As we age, we lose collagen, which results in thinner skin that begins to sag. Collagen is a protein that’s made up of long chains of amino acids; when broken down into a string of 3 to 5 amino acids, they are called peptides. These mini strings of amino acids are really active molecules, so their presence in skincare products is unlike any other type of treatment.
Custom Peptides for Different Applications
Peptides are not one-size-fits-all. Depending on how they are strung together, their effect is different. For example, peptides may work as hormones, natural pain relievers, and neurotransmitters. When used for anti-aging purposes, peptides are great at penetrating the skin’s protective barrier and reaching into the deeper layers of skin.
How They Work
Now what’s really amazing is how peptides work. On the skin, they act as sort of a signal, telling the skin that it’s damaged and needs to make more collagen. In other words, peptides trick the skin into making collagen.
Many peptide products attach copper to the peptide. So when the peptide penetrates the skin, it also delivers copper, known to encourage skin healing. Some peptides even block the transmission of signals from nerves, leading to smoother skin, similar to the results that come with Botox injections.
Considering the quality of peptides is a must, as not all peptides are created equal. There are synthetic peptides, plant peptides, even peptides from a cow’s colostrum, but the most effective peptides are from our own cells. Human-derived peptides come primarily from either human conditioned fibroblast media or non-embryonic human stem cells.
Collagen vs. Peptide: What’s the Difference?
A host of products claim to deliver collagen to the skin. However, because collagen is actually a large molecule, it does not readily penetrate the skin. Therefore, products with collagen provide little benefit to the skin. This is why collagen has long been injected into the skin, a procedure that only medical professionals are allowed to perform.
While some topical products actually contain collagen, most products billed as having collagen actually have collagen boosters—a.k.a. collagen messenger peptides!
Performing Peptide Facials
Estheticians introduce peptides to clients’ skin in a number of different ways, most often as part of a multi-step facial. Micro-needling procedures or peels prepare the skin to accept the peptide treatment and ensure it is delivered deep into the layers of the skin.
Deep exfoliation via micro-needling, peels, and masks remove dead skin cells and open up pores so they better accept the peptide treatment, which stimulates collagen and hyaluronic production.
Peptides may be applied to the skin using a mask, serum, or gel, or as part of a peel or mask.
Peptide facials come in a variety of names, depending on the esthetician practice or salon offering them. For example:
- Swift Lift Peptide Firming Facial: Four Seasons Resort, Orlando, FL
- Peptide Facial Peel: Navii Salon and Spa, Schererville, IN
- Hydropeptide Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Facial: Chuan Spa, Chicago, IL
- Pumpkin Peptide Facial: Connie Lee Studios, Plano, TX
- Illuminate (uses active peptide serum): The Spa at Weston, Palm Springs, CA
Advanced Esthetician Training in Performing Peptide Facials
A solid understanding of peptides and how they work to improve the skin is a must for any esthetician who wants to be recognized as an expert in offering peptide facials. You will find that most courses, seminars and programs in peptides and peptide facials are offered through peptide manufacturers and distributors.
For example, the Physician’s Choice of Arizona PCA Skin Academy has a program leading to the PCA SKIN Certified Professional designation, which includes a comprehensive education in their peptide product line, including ExLinea Peptide Smoothing Serum, Perfecting Neck and Decollete, and Total Strength Serum.
Likewise, Skin Script Rx has a course entitled, “Demystifying Chemistry Series: Class #1 How to educate and recommend (and sell!) EFA’s, Antioxidants and Peptides.”