Creating a good skin care routine starts with understanding the ingredients that will benefit you most. And when it comes to anti-aging goals, a few ingredients can be especially effective. For example, you may have heard of peptides. Many skin care enthusiasts claim peptides are a key component of natural anti-aging skin care. But what are peptides in skin care, exactly, and what do collagen peptides do?

Read on to learn more about how peptides work in skin care products, how they can be used alongside other hero ingredients like ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid, and why you may want to add them to your everyday lineup.

What Do Collagen Peptides Do?

Short chains of amino acids create peptides, and strings of peptides (or peptide chains) are the building blocks of proteins. Essentially, you can think of peptides as protein fragments. There are hundreds of peptides, and different combinations form different proteins your body needs. Your skin relies heavily on the proteins elastin and collagen, and peptides are important in creating those essential proteins. Without them, the skin can't remain intact, losing firmness and integrity.

In skin care, peptides are applied topically. Some active ingredients sit on top of the skin, but peptides absorb deep into the skin's layers due to their small size. You'll mainly find collagen peptides in serums and moisturizers, but you can also take them orally through various powders, supplements, and liquids.

Beautiful middle aged woman applying anti-aging cream on her face on gray

What Are the Benefits of Collagen Peptides in Skin Care?

So, what are collagen peptides good for? Here are a few ways they can benefit your complexion.

Strengthen Skin Barrier Function

Skin barrier function is often overlooked, but it's a critical part of your skin health. In addition to keeping invaders out, your skin barrier helps lock in hydration and support skin texture, firmness, and elasticity. Peptides support skin barrier health. They can even rebuild and repair damaged skin cells, so they're a good option if you have inflamed or irritated skin.

Stimulate Collagen Production

Peptides encourage skin cells to produce more collagen, which helps your skin look and feel more plump and youthful. This makes collagen peptides a great tool for tackling signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of firmness.

Improve Skin Texture

Peptides help smooth the skin. This is part of why they're a popular choice for targeting age-related concerns like wrinkles and fine lines. But they're also great for improving other textural concerns, like acne, enlarged pores, and sagging. The result? Smoother, more elastic skin.

Reduce Inflammation

Peptides may help reduce inflammation, so they can be especially beneficial for those with acne-prone or sensitive skin. Less inflammation often means fewer breakouts, reduced redness, and less general sensitivity.

How Can You Add Peptides to Your Routine?

Peptides are gentle enough for all skin types. There aren't any strict rules when using peptides, so you can easily add them to your daytime or nighttime routines.

When choosing peptide skin care products, look for ones that remain on the skin. For example, peptide cleansers and face masks won't be as effective as serums, moisturizers, or eye creams since they're washed away.

While peptides are effective on their own, they work best in conjunction with other skin-strengthening ingredients, like soothing Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, and antioxidants. Peptides generally pair well with most skin care ingredients thanks to their hydrating and soothing nature, which helps them counteract any irritation that harsher ingredients might cause. That said, alpha-hydroxy acids can make peptides less effective, so avoid this pairing.

Peptide Skin Care for Everyday Use

Making collagen peptides a staple in your daily skin care routine for anti-aging is as easy as finding products you love. If you're ready to experiment, here are a couple to try:

  • EltaMD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer includes small rice protein peptides that penetrate the skin to stimulate cell growth and collagen formation. At the same time, Niacinamide and antioxidants improve skin color and tone while encouraging skin cell repair overnight. Ceramides also help strengthen the skin barrier, keeping moisture in and bacteria out.
  • If you're concerned about signs of aging around your eyes, consider adding EltaMD Renew Eye Gel to your arsenal of trusted products. This soothing gel combines peptides with Hyaluronic Acid to help prevent loss of elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness.

Now that you know more about collagen peptides and their benefits, you can make confident, informed decisions about your natural anti-aging skin care routine. So, what are you waiting for? See what peptides can do to help you achieve the smooth, glowing complexion you crave.


  • Lacey Muinos

    Lacey is a Southern California-based freelance writer who combines her passions—fitness, health, and a vegan lifestyle—with her work to help readers feel and be their best. Her work has been featured in Healthline, Livestrong, Verywell Fit, Eat This Not That, KinderBeauty, and more.

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