Peptides, anti-aging, & other skin cream ingredients explained

Peptides and anti-aging ingredients for skin

Peptides & anti-aging ingredients for skin

This article covers first good ingredients in skin care, then the bad

Peptides can promote collagen creation by the skin just by their very presence. There are different types of peptides and it is valuable to understand them. Retinoids are a valuable form of vitamin A that can improve skin health. There are other important ingredients that can contribute vitamin C, B, and E to the skin in various forms. Amino acids are basic building blocks for cell growth. The proper amino acids aid in collagen and elastin production for our skin as well. Collagen and elastin decline in our skin over time as we age, becoming more dull (collagen loss) and loosing elasticity (elastin loss).

Ingredients that are basically plastic…

Unfortunately, there are numerous liquid and powder forms of plastic ingredients in many of our skin care products. This has been going on for a very long time. There are many that been approved for use in personal care and cosmetics. They are in the form of both polymers and silicones. In the course of finding creams with the ingredients that I appreciate, I found far too many of these plastics. This article will explain about all these ingredients, and then give a list of the creams that are free of plastics.

Peptides have an important relationship to Collagen

Peptide and anti-aging skin care product ingredients can seem very complex. Consequently, having better information about them is a great help on picking your favorite products. This information also can prevent wasting money on an uninformed choice. Some components are questionable on results. Others have been researched and there are study results to tell us about their effectiveness. Although peptides do not directly improve the skin, simply their presence triggers the skin to produce more collagen.

3 Basic Forms of Peptides

Signal peptides or transit peptides

Signal peptides signal to your skin to either produce collagen or stop breaking down collagen. The most popular one is palmitoyl pentapeptide. These have long term effects.

Copper peptides or Carrier peptides

Copper peptides have molecules of copper linked up to the peptides. These have strong effects on deeper skin. Studies have revealed that copper peptides deliver the benefits of this mineral without the problems of hazardous levels of copper. These are able to absorb much deeper into the skin. They promote collagen and healing of the skin. The copper even acts as an antioxidant.

Vitamin C is a great partner for copper peptides…

Copper peptides work really well in combination with vitamin C to promote the growth of elastin and collagen. They aid in the production of glycosaminoglycans that help keep moisture in the inner cells. Glycosaminoglycans are proteins that absorb and bind moisture and can carry it to deep skin layers. It also activates superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD is an enzyme present in all your cells and is probably the most important antioxidant in your body. SOD fights free radicals and aids in the development of new skin. It is also another item that decreases in quantity in your skin as you age.


Neuropeptides have an effect on neurotransmitters in the skin. They are short term effects. They are believed to relax nerve cells to give smoother skin and reduce wrinkles. Acetyl Hexapeptide (or brand name Argireline) falls in this category. This combination is supposed to have an effect much like Botox, but is not proven. Their effect are often compared to what Botox does.

Neuropeptide VS Botox

The neuron is a nerve cell that sends signals (neurotransmitters) to muscle to activate them. Botox and Neuropeptides affect this functions in different ways. Botox breaks down neurotransmitters sent from the neuron to the muscles. Neuropeptides prevent the neurotransmitters from even being released.

Other ingredients found in many anti-aging serums and creams:

Retinoids (Vitamin A)

I have an article devoted to vitamin A ingredients. It explains the different categories of vitamin A products and intensity levels. This can be a big help in choosing the type that is right for you. I find it valuable to use these as a stand alone cream. They are not likely to be found in the types of creams that I am covering here. Other ingredients might not combine well with them…

Stem cells in skin cream

Usually plant stem cells are used for this ingredient. They cannot do much because they are not alive. It is unclear what effect they can have other than moisturizing the skin. The FDA is trying to police the companies that use this ingredient and how far they go with their claims.

Polyphenol (includes Resveratrol)

Polyphenols act like antioxidants to fight free radicals. This can work in an anti-aging and disease fighting manner. Studies have shown that this agent fights against UVB cellular skin damage and oxidation.


Natural polyphenol – this is a chemical that plants use for defense and come from the skin of grapes, blueberries, raspberries, mulberries, and peanuts. It is believed to protect the skin, but also to stop and help improve environmental damage. This chemical also brightens and calms the skin.


Ceramides work together with fatty acids and cholesterol to protect the skin from loss of hydration. They link with corneocytes to create a waterproof barrier that protect lower skin tissues. Ceramides make up half of the lipids in the outermost layer of skin and they are lost from the skin with aging. They are what binds the outer layer of skin together. In lotion, ceramides are very hydrating and soothing. But even more than that, they reinforce the skin barrier system that helps protect other ingredients and their benefits.


Also called Vitamin B3, nicotinic acid – very effective ingredient for improving aging skin. When vitamin B3 or niacin or nicotinic acid is combined with amino acids, Niacinamide is formed. This ingredient can help improve the appearance of large pores, reduces wrinkles and fine lines. It improves skin tone, brightens the skin, and makes the surface skin healthier. This one offers all the benefits listed for vitamin A and, unlike vitamin A, it is not harmed by heat and light. It can help increase ceramide production in the skin.


Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5) has been shown in studies to aid in repair of skin by working as a shield that protects the skin while moisturizing and reducing inflammation. This component is transformed into pantothenic acid by the skin. It attracts and holds water. This is an ingredient that needs to be massaged into the skin well to get the best benefit. Pantothenic acid is used by the skin for growth and specialization of basal skin cells. It is also helpful in creating a moisture barrier for the skin.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is both a nutrient and an antioxidant. This vitamin has great benefit to the health of skin, especially when combined with other antioxidants. Vitamin C and CoQ10 are an especially good combination with vitamin E.

The ingredients that are Vitamin E usually have tocopherol in their name. Natural forms are more effective than the synthetic ones, and all have antioxidant effects. Forms of fat soluble vitamin E molecule are d-alpha-tocopherol, d-alpha-tocopherol acetate, dl-alpha tocopherol, and dl-alpha tocopherol acetate
d prefix means “alpha” E from natural sources
dl prefix means it is from synthetic sources

Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the skin, but is lost as we age. This is vital to absorbing and holding moisture in the skin. Hyaluronic acid aids in collagen production. In the form sodium hyaluronate, there is less of an influence on collagen production. It is a glycosaminoglycan that is incredibly effective at replenishing moisture in the skin. This is also a great antioxidant and works well even for sensitive skin. It is absorbed far better in the form of sodium hyaluronate, which is derived from hyaluronic acid.

Amino acids

The amino acids are an essential component to the production of collagen, elastin, as well as other proteins and fibers by the skin cells. It is a basic component to the structure of peptides, and the much larger collagen molecules. These proteins are part of what makes up elastin fibers.

The larger peptide molecules and their protein component amino acids can penetrate the skin to be absorbed, unlike collagen which is too large a molecule. The peptide molecule amino acid chains can signal the skin to produce collagen, but the amino acids are much smaller elements of these molecules.

Amino acids are essential throughout the body

Amino acids are essential for skin, bone, and muscle growth and repair. Clearly these proteins are a vital base component for skin health. Studies have shown significant benefits in wound healing and they are definitely moisturizing. A lack of this protein can be detrimental for the skin. It cannot hurt to add them in an effort to provide these basic building block for the skin.

Acetyl Tyrosine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glutamine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Proline, Phenylalanine, Methionine, Serine, Threonine, Tyrosine, Valine

Silk amino acids (SAAs or Sericin)

Another form of amino acids used is silk amino acids. These are natural water-soluble glycoproteins extracted from raw liquid silk. They have a large amount of hydroxyl amino which is important to regulating moisture in the skin. These are easily absorbed by the skin.


Antioxidants limit the damage by free radicals to the skin cells. They are valuable to repair environmental cell damage as well as prevent it. The oxidation process and environmental damage both age the skin cells. Antioxidants provide the molecules that fight this process.
CoQ10, Green tea, berries, grape seed, vitamin E, Coffee, etc.

Silica (Silicon)

Silica is ground up quartz or as most of us know it…sand – used as a bulking, suspending agent that prevents caking. This is present in our diets (plant silica) and is extremely important to the health of our cartilage and bones. It is often found in supplements like healthy hair, skin, and nails.

Silica can be absorbed and is beneficial to the health of our skin. This ingredient can help in absorption of certain ingredients when used in skin care products. It is considered a mineral and helps in elasticity and healing ability of the skin. In some forms it can spread your makeup better and keep it on the surface. This has the desirable effects of hiding wrinkles. It can also reflect light for better results in pictures.

Here are ingredients that can be questionable

Although these ingredients are questionable, they are so commonly used and you may need to weigh the value of them for yourself. When I find too many of these, I do not like the product. There are plenty of questionable chemicals used commonly in skin products and it would be easy to go too deeply into these. This can take a great deal of your time, but there are some great sites that can be very helpful. Sadly, undesirable ingredients are used so much because they are the easier and cheaper ones.


Any use of liquid form of plastic is just extremely repellent to me. We do not need to seal in moisture by means of a plastic film over our skin. This is not good for our skin and terrible for our water supply after we use it.
Polyethylene glycol (PEG), otherwise known as polyoxyethylene or polyethylene oxide (PEO) are forms of polymers. I give a pass on cellulose based ingredients, like hydroxyethyl cellulose. Cellulose is a natural plant-based organic compound. They are listed, so you can decide if these are a deal-breaker for you. I have read that these cellulose type ingredients are biodegradable.

Common general plastic ingredients

These are general names of commonly used liquid plastics in our personal care and cosmetic products: PEG, Carbomer, Polyquaterniums, Copolymers, PVP or VA copolymers, or Sodium polyacrylate. Many categories of use for ingredients such as thickeners, fixatives, conditioners, and silicones fall under this general category too.


Silicones are a specific category of polymer that includes silicon/silica. They contribute silky texture and light reflection characteristics. It is a combination of silicon and oxygen (SiO). This material can trap moisture in for your skin, but can also trap oil, dirt, and bacteria in as well. For some, this can lead to breakouts. They can also prevent absorption of the anti-aging ingredients that you want. Also cleaning silicone off your skin can be very difficult.

Dimethicone (also known as polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS) is the most commonly used form of silicone and it is technically a silica based polymer. Here are others that are very common: Methicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone copolyol.


These are preservatives that can have bactericidal and fungicidal capabilities. Their other effects are unclear and they are also used in foods. They can mimic hormones and may have a bad affect on the endocrine system.

These anti-aging creams are the long-term Amazon best sellers for good reason

Regrettably, there are many skin care products that use undesirable ingredients. If they have silicone or polymers in them, that is not acceptable to me. Coating skin in plastic film is bad for us and once in the water supply, bad for everyone. I investigated the important ingredients and provide that research for you. The content of these products speaks to how much the makers of them care about our well being.

Andalou Naturals Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream

This cream deserves a great deal of respect for all the great ingredients and no problematic ones! I wish there were more of these! This is a cream that I have, use, and adore! Although I cannot feel the effects, it makes my skin look rosey and healthy within hours of application. It has a wonderful, light, slightly fruity scent.
Peptides: Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1(PAL GHK- synthetic peptide containing 3 amino acids of glycine, histidine, and lysine), Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3 (AHK – copper peptide)
Stem cells: Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestica Apple, Solar Vitis Grape)
Polyphenols: Resveratrol
Panthenol: Yes
Vitamin C: magnesium asocrbyl phosphate
Vitamin E: tocopherol
Hyaluronic acid: Sodium Hyaluronate
Antioxidants: helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, BioActive 8 Berry Complex, Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Fruit Extract, ubiquinone (CoQ10), Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Apricot Isolates, Vanilla Isolate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil
Just plain great: Aloe barbadensis juice (aloe vera juice), cucumis sativa (cucumber) extract
Parabens: NONE. Ethylhexylglycerin is used as an alternative to parabens

Amara Organics Anti-aging Face Cream

Peptides: Acetyl Hexapeptide 8 (Argireline – neuropeptide)
Polyphenols: Resveratrol
Niacinamide: Yes
Vitamin E: Tocopheryl Acetate
Hyaluronic acid: Sodium Hyaluronate
Antioxidants: Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Apple Seed Oil, Argan Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Olive Squalane, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Rose Hips Extract, Green Tea Extract, Muscadine Grape Skin Extract, Rose Geranium Oil
Just plain great: Mango Seed Butter, gotu kola extract
Parabens: None. Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate is an alternative to parabens
Silicone: None. Octyl palmitate is used as an organic replacement for silicone
Polymer: Hydroxyethyl Cellulose – this is from natural cellulose.
Preservative: Potassium Sorbate (variation of sorbic acid that is a naturally occurring polyunsaturated fat)
1.7 oz and 2 oz size

Amara Organics Anti-aging Eye Cream Gel

Peptides: Matrixyl 3000 (palmitoyl-tripeptide and palmitoyl-oligopeptide), Palmitoyl Triepeptide-3
Stem cells: Plant Stem Cells
Vitamin E: Tocopheryl acetate
Hyaluronic acid: Botanical Hyaluronic Acid
Amino acids (silk): Sodium L-Pyrrolidone Carboxylate, Sodium Lactate, L’Arginine, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid, Glycine, L-Alanine, L-Serine, L-Valine, L-Proline, L-threonine, L-Isoleucine, L-Histidine, L-Phenylalanine
Antioxidants: Organic Jojoba Oil, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Organic Horsetail Plant Extract, Organic Geranium Extract, Organic Dandelion Extract
Just plain great: Organic Aloe, Cucumber Hydrosol, Organic Gotu Kola Extract,
Parabens: None. Ethylhexylglycerin is used as an alternative to parabens
Polymer: Hydroxyethyl Cellulose – this is from natural cellulose.
Preservative: Potassium Sorbate (variation of sorbic acid that is a naturally occurring polyunsaturated fat), Sodium Benzoate (antifungal and antibacterial found naturally in fruits)

Baebody Eye Gel

This has many great anti-aging ingredients. This can be used for both eye and face.
Peptides: Matrixyl 3000 (palmitoyl-tripeptide and palmitoyl-oligopeptide), Palmitoyl Triepeptide-3
Stem cells: Plant Stem Cells
Vitamin E: Yes
Hyaluronic acid: Botanical Hyaluronic Acid
Amino acids (silk): Sodium L-Pyrrolidone Carboxylate, Sodium Lactate, L-Aspartic Acid, L-Arginine, L-Pyrrolidonecar- boxylic Acid, Glycine, L-Valine, L-Serine, L-Proline, L-Alanine, L-Threonine, L-Isoleucine, L-Histidine, L-Phenylalanine
Antioxidants: Organic Jojoba Oil, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
Just really great: Organic Aloe, Cucumber Hydrosol (distilled from steamed cucumbers), Organic Gotu Kola
Parabens: Ethylhexylglycerin is used as an alternative to parabens
Polymer: Hydroxyethyl Cellulose (thickening agent)
Preservative: Sodium Benzoate (antifungal and antibacterial found naturally in fruits

Pure Bliss Bella Jade Night Cream

slight amount of one polymer

Peptides: Matrixyl 3000, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate (peptides), Acetyl Hexapeptide-3,
Amino acid: (2s)-2-Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic Acid
Just plain great: aloe vera juice, Cocoa butter, Apple, Lemon
Panthenol: Vitamin B5
Hyaluronic acid: Botanical Hyaluronic Acid
Vitamin C: Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Vitamin C Palmitate
Vitamin E: Tocopheryl
Antioxidants: Organic Sunflower Oil, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Palm Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Sea Fennel Wax Extract, Cucumber Hydrosol, Organic Jojoba Oil, Tamanu Oil, Wildcrafted Green Tea, Bearberry Leaf Extract, Blueberry Extract, Organic Cranberry, Raspberry Seed Oil, Wildcrafted Oregon Grape, Organic Licorice, Wildcrafted Eyebright, Helichrysum Essential Oil, Camellia Oil, Avocado Oil, Geranium Essential Oil, Organic Borage Oil, Organic Flax Seed Oil, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Organic Rose Hip Oil, Coenzyme Q10, Wildcrafted Arnica, Organic Lavender, Organic Calendula, Organic Chamomile, Grapeseed Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Squalane, Palm oil, Hydrogenated castor oil, Organic coconut oil,
AHA: Lactic acid, Glycolic acid
Silicones: None. Octyl Palmitate used as an organic replacement for silicone
Parabens: None, Ethylhexylglycerin and phenoxyethanol are used as an alternative to parabens
Polymer: Sodium Carbomer

Additionally, these products were researched but I did not like them because…

Polymer (plastic) ingredients
CeraVe Renewing Night Cream has Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, & Carbomer
NutraNuva Face Food has Trideceth-6, Sodium Polyacrylate (superabsorbent!), & Carbomer, Polysorbate 20
Visio Elan Anti-aging cream peptide rich moisturizing cream has PEG-100 stearate & hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate (copolymer)
Pure Bliss Night Cream has Sodium Carbomer
AminoGenesis Cacoon Total Body Emolient has Polysorbate 60, Carbomer, & Triethanolamine

Silicone ingredients
Nutribiotic Anti-aging Peptide Face Crème has polysilicone-11 & Dimethicone

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

Presently, I also don’t trust Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE). Some studies say it works wonders and one says it does terrible things, when they seem to discuss the very same process happening to the skin cells. I think this is very much an unknown effect ingredient. These studies also seem to be too small a test group to be able to determine answers from their results.

Further evaluations…

I have been analyzing the ingredients of my favorite makeup and other makeups. It is a discouraging area of choices. My recent favorites did pretty well in the scheme of things. I have changed to a plastic-free one now. My favorite face powder was plastic-free. You will find a list of plastic ingredients and a list of silicone ingredients, common to makeup in that article. You can evaluate how many of these ingredients are in your favorite makeup.

Lots of Choices

Cosmetics have far more plastic ingredients than skin care creams. I now have an article that provides the information for cosmetic choices that are free of both plastic and talc. I am happy to say that many people did not like these plastics, and that there is an even better number of choices in this category! There are many categories of makeup items and healthy choices for them.