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Do-It-All Peptides: The Future of Anti-Aging?

Article-Do-It-All Peptides: The Future of Anti-Aging?

Do-It-All Peptides: The Future of Anti-Aging?
Among the many skincare ingredients and anti-aging treatments available today, peptides have reached superstar status for both their efficacy and application potential. Popular weight loss medications that include peptides have made them a household name.

Among the many skincare ingredients and anti-aging treatments available today, peptides have reached superstar status for both their efficacy and application potential. Popular weight loss medications that include peptides have made them a household name. Peptides are small molecules constructed  The Future of Anti-Aging?from longchain amino acids that function as messengers between cells (similar to hormones), a crucial function in wound healing, vascular function and skin repair. Scientific research on peptides has shown that they have broad-reaching implications for both the internal and external effects of aging.1

According to Rahi Sarbaziha, MD, an anti-aging and integrative aesthetics specialist (Beverly Hills, Calif.), physicians continue to learn more about specific peptides and their benefits, fueling an interest and excitement in the potential to leverage peptides for skincare and age management.

The Role of Peptides in Anti-Aging

Peptides have essential functions and benefits, including collagen production to improve skin elasticity and firmness. They can also help to increase moisture and reduce infl ammation and melanin production. “Injectable and topical peptides decrease wrinkles, enhance skin texture and elasticity, and fade discoloration by stimulating collagen synthesis and enhancing skin cell turnover,” Dr. Sarbaziha explained. “They also have antioxidant properties that protect skin cells from free radical damage.”

Jessie Cheung, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained dermatologist (Willowbrook, Ill.), added that peptides remain a safe and effective solution for patients seeking advanced anti-aging treatments. “Alone, internal peptides are an effective anti-aging regimen, yet when combined with aesthetic treatments, they can deliver exponential results. Often, peptides are used alongside fractional laser resurfacing treatments or facelifts for further skin rejuvenation,”2 she shared.

In Dr. Cheung’s opinion, a combination approach of peptides and other anti-aging aesthetic modalities is more likely to deliver superior results, especially in cellular metabolism. “Aging is not one-dimensional, so why would we treat aging with just a single modality?”

Specific peptides like glutathione (GSH), carnitine and liraglutide reportedly provide antioxidant benefits for the skin, body, brain and overall health. GSH reduces collagen degradation by inhibiting matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in the skin, while carnosine and liraglutide mitigate the risk of age-related neurological diseases, disorders and brain aging. Some peptide specialists tout the power of regenerative peptides, such as Body Protecting Compound 157 (BPC 157) to accelerate wound healing, and PEDF-derived short peptides (PDSP) in encouraging the growth of mesenchymal stem cells to regenerate tissue, bone and cartilage. Dr. Cheung likes to use BPC for skin and internal health, which supports wound healing in the skin, eyes, tendons and gut.

Peptides in Skincare

Peptides are a key ingredient in skincare, primarily because they improve skin barrier function and have anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antihypertensive and antioxidant benefits. In skincare products, peptides serve as cell-signaling agents and results can include collagen production and reduced inflammation, based on their size and chemical makeup. As Dr. Cheung shared, topically applied peptides penetrate the skin to stimulate a cascade of regenerative events, increase hydration, strengthen the skin barrier and even deliver a subtle neurotoxin effect.

Each type of peptide found in skincare has a unique benefit. Signal and carrier peptides stimulate collagen and elastin for firmer skin. Peptides with copper have skin-firming and brightening capabilities. Enzyme-inhibitor peptides prevent the natural breakdown of collagen and pigment formation, and pentapeptides boost the skin’s moisture content.

“Cosmeceutical companies use peptide technologies because they have demonstrated benefits in cellular medicine by directing cells and molecules in beneficial ways,” said Lexie Yoo, FNP-BC/CPNP, CEO of Yoo Direct Health (Noblesville, Ind.).

Many practitioners use specific peptides and combination treatments to improve aesthetic results. For example, Ms. Yoo uses GHK-Cu, a copper peptide complex known for its woundhealing and collagen-stimulating abilities. Dr. Cheung says it is one of her favorite peptides for skin and internal health.

Like copper peptides, Matrixyl is a peptide-based cosmeceutical used for collagen synthesis to help improve skin firmness and plumpness. “Matrixyl and Argireline stimulate collagen production to improve skin texture,” Dr. Sarbaziha reported.

Peptides, particularly lab-synthesized antimicrobial peptides (AMP), can provide benefits for inflammatory skin conditions like acne.2 Ms. Yoo advises her acne patients to use peptide-based skincare products consistently and with moisturizers and sunscreens for enhanced effects. Other peptides patients can find inBefore and 83 weeks after a combination of skincare, injectables, energy-based devices, and internal and topical peptides were medical-grade skincare include Epitalon, a synthetic polypeptide derived from epithalamin that demonstrates antioxidant benefits, and collagen peptides, which can be applied topically or used orally to help enhance skin health and function for anti-aging benefits.

Medical-grade skincare products with dipeptides, neurotransmitter peptides and tripeptides offer a wrinkle-reducing effect similar to neuromodulators. These peptides reach the deeper layers of the skin to prompt collagen synthesis and upregulate hydration within the skin. Tetrapeptides have the added benefit of calming sensitive skin a  ected by chronic inflammation.

In addition to improving skin texture, Ms. Yoo recommends Argireline for reducing expression- related wrinkles. She added, “Leuphasyl can be paired with Argireline to block acetylcholine release, the neurotransmitter that allows for muscle contraction. Furthermore, acetyl glutamyl heptapeptide-1, or Snap-8™ (Cellbone Technology, Inc.), is involved in preventing the release of neurotransmitters that cause contraction. This allows for muscle relaxation resulting in smooth, wrinklefree skin. Snap-8, Leuphasyl and Argireline are peptides I pair with GHK-Cu due to their synergistic effects.”

For longer-term wrinkle reduction, Daxxify from Revance Therapeutics (Nashville, Tenn.), an FDA-approved botulinum toxin type A, includes peptides that help to stabilize the toxin’s active ingredient and enhance effectiveness, Dr. Sarbaziha explained. “The peptide in Daxxify acts as a magnet, optimizing toxin entry into nerve cells for improved wrinkle reduction, marking a significant advancement in injectable wrinkle treatments lasting up to six months in patients,” she noted.

Peptides are also available over the counter in the form of collagen peptide drinks, powders and supplements. Peptides make collagen proteins more easily digestible and absorbed. “Peptides taken internally have widespread benefits to the body, such as improving lean muscle mass, decreasing visceral fat, boosting the immune system and enhancing skin health,” Dr. Cheung stated. Studies also show that oral collagen peptides can improve skin hydration and elasticity.3

Peptides for Weight

Loss Peptide-based medications that aid in weight loss include semaglutide (Ozempic® and Wegovy®; Novo Nordisk A/S, Plainsboro, N.J.), tirzepeptide (Mounjaro® and Zepbound®; Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Ind.) and liraglutide (Saxenda®; Novo Nordisk A/S). These glucagonlike peptide-1 (GLP-1) medications slow the rate of gastric motility while regulating insulin to aid in weight loss, weight management and longerlasting satiety. “Peptides like gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP) and GLP-1 receptor agonists can aid in weight loss by regulating metabolism and promoting fat loss. But they also have broader health benefits, including immune system support, tissue healing and cognitive enhancement,” Dr. Sarbaziha explained.

Some research has shown that these peptides can also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.4 According to Ms. Yoo, improving insulin sensitivity, reducing fat and keeping inflammation down are all hallmarks of aging that can benefit from peptides for weight loss.

Growth hormone releasing peptide-2 (GHRP-2) is another class of peptides for weight loss, but that work differently from GLP-1. GHRP-2 relies on growth hormones to aid in weight loss. This relatively newer gut peptide stimulates the release of growth hormone and appetite initiation. CJC-1295 and ipamorelin are GHRPs being paired together to increase muscle development, raise the blood levels of hormones and decrease body fat.

Tersamorelin, another GHRP, causes the body to increase human growth hormone levels and testosterone to promote weight loss and lean body mass, essentially melting away fat. “Tersamorelin is used to reduce excess abdominal fat accumulation in individuals with HIV-related lipodystrophy, but we can also use it to help burn fat, increase muscle mass and improve exercise capacity,” Dr. Sarbaziha pointed out.

Some might question why an aesthetic practice would offer peptide-based weight loss treatments. According to Dr. Cheung, peptide hormones used for diabetes and weight loss decrease inflammaging and improve heart and liver health to boost health span. Ms. Yoo noted that more aesthetic practices are adding wellness services and integrating peptide weight loss solutions to offer a more comprehensive approach to care.

Are Peptides the Secret to Better Hair?

As a hair restoration treatment, Ms. Yoo noted that peptides help to increase circulation and oxygen to maintain hair in the growth phase and enhance follicular health and strength. Peptides for hair growth are typically delivered via shampoos and leave-in hair serums, injection, or through other tBefore and after peptides for hair growth Photos courtesy of Lexie Yoo, FNP-BC/CPNPherapies, including platelet-rich plasma (PRP). “Two popular peptides for this purpose are GHK-Cu and BPC-157,” she began. “GHK-Cu promotes hair follicle health and helps keep the follicles in the anagen growth phase, and BPC-157 enhances angiogenesis to improve blood fl ow and nutrient delivery to hair follicles. I also pair them with Thymosin Beta-4 because it helps accelerate hair growth by activating follicular stem cells.”

The tripeptide-3, Pal-AHK, and Thymosin beta 4 (TB-500), are well-studied peptides that can also improve hair health, density, strength and normal growth. Some physicians incorporate hair restoration therapies that include Follistatin-344, a synthetic version of naturally occurring follistatin.5

Ms. Yoo added that Epitalon, a niche-application peptide known for lengthening telomeres, has a place in hair restoration as well. She has used it in clinical practice for patients Before and after peptides for hair growth Photos courtesy of Lexie Yoo, FNP-BC/CPNPwho struggle with insomnia. Unlike other hair loss treatments, treating thinning hair and hair loss with peptides does not lead to rebound hair loss.

Integrating Peptides into the Aesthetic Practice

There is value in offering peptide products and treatments in the aesthetic practice. While including peptides within your cosmeceutical skincare product lineup is an easy add, combining them with cosmetic treatments will further enhance patient results. “These therapies can be easily integrated into aesthetic treatments because they support skin health internally and externally and complement cosmetic procedures,” Dr. Sarbaziha reiterated. “Peptide therapies allow physicians to offer innovative treatments tailored to patient needs while promoting cosmetic enhancement and therapeutic benefits.”

According to Dr. Cheung, as the field of peptides continues to evolve, physicians who understand the impact of aging on the endocrine system and metabolism will deliver the best results and stand out in a crowded field.

For aesthetic physicians new to peptides, Dr. Sarbaziha recommended exploring educational platforms and courses such as Dr. Seeds’ Peptide World Congress (PWC), offered by the SSRP Institute. Ms. Yoo suggested training programs provided by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M), The International Peptide Society and her own YDH Training Academy to ensure safe, practical integration.

Some practices choose to hire a dedicated expert with a peptide background, as this allows for optimal patient management and more informed responses to patient needs, ensuring the success and safety of peptide therapies in practice.

When offering peptides for medical aesthetics, Dr. Sarbaziha advised physicians to familiarize themselves with the regulatory landscape and requirements. “It is also crucial to establish relationships with reputable suppliers who can provide high-quality peptides for clinical use,” she emphasized. Dr. Sarbaziha urged physicians to focus on patient education and awareness via workshops, webinars and informational sessions on peptide therapies to attract interest and build patient trust. “Collaborating with other healthcare professionals and aesthetic practitioners who offer peptide treatments can help with referrals. Ultimately, a combination of education, regulatory awareness and strategic marketing efforts will pave the way to successful integration of peptide therapies.”


1. Flagler MJ, Tamura M, Laughlin T, et al. Combinations of peptides synergistically activate the regenerative capacity of skin cells in vitro. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2021;43(5):518-529. doi:10.1111/ics.12725. Epub 2021 Aug 25. PMID: 34272744; PMCID: PMC9291327.

2. Woodburn KW, Jaynes J, Clemens LE. Designed Antimicrobial Peptides for Topical Treatment of Antibiotic Resistant Acne Vulgaris. Antibiotics (Basel). 2020;9(1):23. Published 2020 Jan 13. doi:10.3390/antibiotics9010023.

3. PMID: 31940992; PMCID: PMC7168327.Kim DU, Chung HC, Choi J, Sakai Y, Lee BY. Oral Intake of Low-Molecular- Weight Collagen Peptide Improves Hydration, Elasticity, and Wrinkling in Human Skin: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2018;10(7):826. Published 2018 Jun 26. doi:10.3390/nu10070826. PMID: 29949889; PMCID: PMC6073484.

4. Wang J, Wu Y, Chen Z, Chen Y, Lin Q, Liang Y. Exogenous Bioactive Peptides Have a Potential Therapeutic Role in Delaying Aging in Rodent Models. Int J Mol Sci. 2022;23(3):1421. Published 2022 Jan 26. doi:10.3390/ ijms23031421. PMID: 35163342; PMCID: PMC8835817.

5. Zimber MP, Ziering C, Zeigler F, et al. Hair regrowth following a Wnt- and follistatin containing treatment: safety and efficacy in a first-in-man phase 1 clinical trial. J Drugs Dermatol. 2011;10(11):1308-1312. PMID: 22052313.

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