Biomimetic peptides, by mimicking natural proteins, activate cellular functionality, thus improving the skin’s conditions from the inside out. Peptides mimicking natural defensins are being increasingly used in anti-aging cosmetics.
They are the product of the most modern technologies: lab-produced peptides, i.e. small protein fragments, capable of mimicking the effects of natural proteins by participating in intercellular communication mechanisms. Their name is biomimetic peptides, and they are being increasingly employed as anti-ageing ingredients. Some (e.g. citrulline) stimulate collagen synthesis, others (such as argireline) have botox-like effects, others still increase the synthesis of hyaluronic acid in the skin (such as palmitoyl tripeptide).
Apart from these three main categories, we nowadays also have peptides mimicking defensins, small proteins which are naturally produced by our skin possessing antimicrobial properties, which are also crucial in wound repair. Researchers have added defensins to a serum, a cream and a mask and have asked a group of people to use the three products in their daily routine.
44 women, aged 41 to 71, agreed to participate in this double-blind placebo study. The test compares two treatment methods: some subjects use products containing a studied substance (in this case, defensins), while others use products identical in formula, differing only by the lack of said ingredient (placebo). Neither the participating subjects nor the researchers know which of the products contained the ingredients in question; this would avoid influencing both the experts’ and the participants’ judgment of the formula’s effectiveness. At the end of the period of use, results from the two treatments are compared, evaluating any differences and their meaning. This method, commonly used for the study of drugs, is being increasingly used for cosmetic-clinical tests.
After 3 months of regular and continuous use, the results showed that defensin-enriched formulas helped thicken the epidermis, reduce the size of pores, superficial wrinkles and dark spots; it furthermore significantly increased skin firmness, hydration and elasticity compared to the placebo.
These peptides, which can either be synthesized in a laboratory or extracted from plants, are truly revolutionizing the world of cosmetics. They are relatively inexpensive, they can easily permeate the skin thanks to their small size and the effective conjugation with carriers such as liposomes and nanosomes. They therefore effectively mimic the activity of natural proteins, physiologically affecting aging in a non-aggressive or irritating manner. As our knowledge on skin physiology and on the mechanisms of aging progress, new peptides are being identified and used to compensate for cutaneous deficiencies.
On the other hand, cosmetic-clinical tests on volunteers performed through non-invasive instrumental methods which objectively measure parameters such as hydration, elasticity, roughness and optical properties of the skin (color, stains, redness) allow these effects to be studied precisely. This is the meaning of the “clinically tested” mark you read on cosmetic products’ packaging: the fact the physiological effects of these products have been specifically tested. If the results of these tests were more clearly explained, it would certainly be easier for the consumer to choose consciously!
Article of Dr Adele Sparavigna for https://4me.styl