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With the market for antiaging skin care products expected to grow at a healthy clip over the next few years, it is clear that interest remains strong for products that visibly will reduce the signs of aging. Suppliers and marketers are answering the call with technologically advanced active ingredients incorporated into a broad range of products available across mass and prestige markets.
Behind it all is a growing body of skin science—knowledge that in some cases is radically different from thinking of only a few decades ago—hand in hand with a more educated and sophisticated consumer. There was a time, not so long ago, when scientists thought of the skin as something akin to kitchen plastic wrap, a barrier that let nothing through, and consumers’ idea of advanced skin care was a cleanser followed by a toner.
Peptides have been the big story in antiaging skin care for a while. These microscopic miracles hold promise for further innovation well into the future. As GCI columnist Steve Herman put it so succinctly in a recent issue, “Humans are mostly water and protein. Proteins are polymers of amino acids, and peptides are short protein chains. Because collagen is a protein, it produces fragments that can trigger a repair mechanism when it breaks down. The goal of advanced skin treatment is to either prevent collagen breakdown or stimulate collagen synthesis.” The smaller peptides replaced other proteins in skin care due to their ability to penetrate the skin and provide real function.
Helen Tarver, No. 7 brand development manager at Boots the Chemist, confirmed her organization’s ongoing interest in peptides, and said it now is looking at taking things a step further. “We have been very interested in peptide technology, and a number of our products are based on peptides. But where it has gotten really interesting has been when we have produced unique combinations of peptides and other actives.” Patents have been applied for on a number of these combinations, centered on skin energizing and skin lightening.
Suppliers predict that peptides with specific structure and function will begin making their way to the marketplace in the near future, and will keep things interesting for some time to come. “Peptides offer the biological specificity to tailor skin care ingredients so that specific mechanisms of activity can be identified and used to approach traditional skin treatment problems in entirely new ways,” said Jon Packer, CEO, Centerchem. “We also have specific peptides for specific end benefits, such as bags under the eyes and dark circles.” Peptides lend themselves to new approaches to treating wrinkles, such as topical wrinkle relaxation.