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Peptides, Your Skincare Routine and Everything You Need to Know

Every day, the skincare world bombards us with new ingredients claiming to transform our skin care routines. In the midst of an array of options, it can be challenging to separate the fleeting trends from the truly impactful additions. However, peptides shine as a skincare ingredient worthy of our attention. Recognised for their ability to boost collagen and elastin production, peptides effectively reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

In this guide, we delve into the science behind peptides and share expert tips for integrating them into your skincare routine.

What exactly are peptides?

Peptides, also known as polypeptides, are naturally occurring chains of amino acids found in the skin. These amino acid sequences serve as the building blocks of proteins and are essential for various biological processes, including enzyme function and cell signaling. When applied topically, peptides can trigger a process known as a 'signaling cascade'. This cascade stimulates the skin to produce more collagen and elastin, resulting in improved firmness and texture.


Types of peptides and their benefits for the skin

Among the multitude of peptides used in skincare, SKINICIAN harnesses and mimic those naturally occurring in skin cells. These peptides actively support your skin in producing essential proteins, effectively reducing the visibility of fine lines, wrinkles, and other age-related signs.

Acetyl Dipetide-1 Cetyl Ester

Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester is a lipopeptide, a combination of a lipid and a peptide, formed from amino acids arginine and tyrosine. In skincare, it serves as a potent stimulant for elastin production, aiding in the prevention of skin sagging by enhancing its resistance to gravity. Renowned for its relaxant properties, it effectively combats visible signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles.

Featured in the Advanced Firming Serum.


Dermapep™, featured in select SKINICIAN skincare products, is a powerful peptide designed to mimic retinoic acid. Its primary function is to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin while reducing the depth of wrinkles. Clinically proven, Dermapep™ has been shown to decrease wrinkle count by 30% and depth by 35%.

Featured in the Overnight Retinol Powerbalm Level 1 and Ageless Peptide Eye Complex.


Tetrapeptide-3, often referred to as "The Youth Molecule," naturally occurs in everyone's skin, enhancing skin health and moisture levels. Comprising four amino acids bound together to form a synthetic peptide, it plays a crucial role in maintaining skin hydration and vitality. Our skincare products harness the power of Tetrapeptide-3 to combat signs of ageing by stimulating collagen and elastin production. These proteins are vital for maintaining skin firmness and elasticity, thereby diminishing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other age-related concerns.

Featured in the Overnight Retinol Powerbalm Level 1.


Tripeptide-1 is a versatile peptide renowned for its numerous skin benefits. As a synthetic peptide, it has demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in various skincare formulations. Clinically proven to stimulate the production of dermal proteins, Tripeptide-1 plays a pivotal role in slowing down the skin's ageing process. Naturally occurring in the human body, this molecule aids in skin hydration and elasticity restoration by facilitating water retention. We incorporate Tripeptide-1 into our ingredients for its remarkable ability to promote skin repair.

Featured in the Overnight Retinol Powerbalm Level 1 and Overnight Retinol Powerbalm Level 2.

The science behind peptides

Scientific Image of Skin Surface Layer

Peptides, comprising short chains of amino acids, operate at a molecular level to penetrate the skin's outer barrier. Their ability to permeate the skin is facilitated by their small size and unique molecular structure, characterised by amino acids linked together through peptide bonds. This chain-like arrangement enables peptides to navigate through the intercellular spaces, penetrating into deeper layers of the skin. Upon absorption, peptides engage with various skin receptors, initiating targeted responses within skin cells. This interaction serves to stimulate vital processes like collagen and elastin production, pivotal for maintaining skin suppleness and resilience. Moreover, peptides can bolster the skin's inherent repair mechanisms, fostering overall skin vitality and renewal.


Adding peptides into your skincare routine

Application Order

For optimal results, consider the order of application when using peptide-based products. Typically, peptides are best applied before your final skincare steps, i.e. moisturiser or sunscreen. This approach ensures that peptides can penetrate the skin efficiently and deliver their benefits effectively. Think of it as working from the lightest product to the heaviest. Additionally, if you're using a water-based serum such as hyaluronic acid alongside peptide products, apply the hyaluronic serum first before the peptide product to allow for optimal absorption and efficacy.

Gradual Introduction

The rate at which you introduce peptides into your skincare routine may vary depending on the type of peptide and the specific product. When it comes to products combining peptides with potent ingredients like retinol, a more gradual approach may be necessary. Retinol products with peptides may require some time for your skin to adjust, particularly if you're new to using retinol or have sensitive skin. Initially, it may be beneficial to use these products every other day or a few times a week, gradually increasing frequency as your skin builds tolerance. This gradual approach can help minimise potential irritation or sensitivity while allowing your skin to adapt to the effects of retinol and peptides.

Ingredients to Avoid

While peptides are generally safe to mix with most active skincare ingredients like retinol, caution should be exercised when combining them with certain acids. Peptides may react when used alongside glycolic acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid, as this combination may lead to skin irritation. Moreover, if skin is sensitive, it's important to note that retinol with peptides should be avoided in conjunction with vitamin C to minimise potential skin irritation. This is because both vitamin C and retinol are active ingredients, and simultaneous usage could potentially overload and stress the skin. To mitigate this risk, you could opt to use one in the morning and the other at night, alternate their usage on different days, or wait at least 30 minutes between applications to allow each product to absorb fully.


The best peptide products and what they’re for

Advanced Firming Serum

Crafted for mature skin, the Advanced Firming Serum is ideal for those seeking to address issues such as loss of firmness and fine lines. This targeted formula works to rejuvenate and revitalise the complexion, leaving it visibly plumped and renewed with regular use.




Peptide Eye Complex  

Perfect for mature skin or individuals experiencing fine lines and wrinkles, crow’s feet, pigmentation, dark circles, and dry skin around the eyes, the clinically proven Ageless Peptide Eye Serum is a daily. Infused with peptides, Vitamin C, and UV filters, this formula delivers both instant and long-term results, effectively reducing the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles.




Overnight Retinol Powerbalm Level 1  

The multitasking Retinol Powerbalm Level 1 is crafted to revitalise your skin while you sleep, harnessing the skin's natural healing processes. Infused with pure 0.1% retinol and peptides, this gentle yet effective formula is perfect for retinol beginners. Suitable for ageing skin and those concerned with acne, pigmentation, or scarring, retinol works wonders to resurface and rejuvenate the skin.




Overnight Retinol Powerbalm Level 2

The Retinol Powerbalm Level 2, features a potent blend of pure 0.5% retinol and advanced peptide technology. This multi-tasking formulation is our most concentrated yet, making it the ideal progression for those who have completed Level 1 or for experienced retinol users. Proven to target visible signs of ageing, including plumping and firming the skin, improving elasticity, and reducing fine lines and wrinkles, this powerful formula delivers transformative results. Additionally, with its brightening properties, it is highly effective in treating breakout-prone skin, reducing acne scars, and actively diminishing pigmentation.




Expert tips for using peptides

Consistency is Key:

Peptides work best when used consistently. Incorporate them into your daily skincare routine for optimal results.

Apply to Clean Skin:

For maximum absorption, apply peptide-based products to clean, dry skin. This allows the peptides to penetrate more effectively and deliver their benefits.

Pat, Don't Rub:

When applying peptide serums or creams, gently pat them into the skin instead of rubbing. This helps to ensure even distribution and minimises potential irritation.

Use Sunscreen:

Peptides can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so always follow up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from UV damage.


FAQs about peptides and skincare

Are peptides better than retinol?

Both peptides and retinol offer valuable benefits for skin health and rejuvenation. Peptides may be preferred by those with sensitive skin or as a preventative measure, while retinol is often chosen for its potent anti-ageing properties. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific skin concerns, tolerance, and preferences, most individuals benefit from incorporating both ingredients into their skincare routine. 

Can you overdo peptides in skincare?

While peptides are generally safe for most people, individuals with sensitive skin may experience irritation or redness, especially when using products with high concentrations of peptides or when combining peptides with other potent actives. It's key to pay attention to product formulations and instructions, following the manufacturer's guidelines regarding application frequency to ensure safety and efficacy.

Can I use peptides everyday?

For unlocking the full benefits of peptides in your skincare routine, consistency is paramount. These potent amino acid chains yield the best results when utilised regularly. Therefore, integrating them into your daily regimen is essential for achieving optimal outcomes.

At what age should I use peptide serum?

As you approach your thirties, your skin's natural collagen production starts to decline, making it more susceptible to the early signs of ageing. By incorporating peptide serum during this pivotal period, you can proactively support collagen synthesis, enhance skin firmness, and mitigate the onset of premature ageing.

What happens if you stop using peptides?

Unlike some skincare ingredients, peptides typically do not cause withdrawal effects or negative reactions when you stop using them. However, your skin may no longer receive the beneficial effects that peptides were providing, leading to a gradual decline in skin health and appearance over time.


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