What Is a Peptide Bond in Skincare?

What Is a Peptide Bond in Skincare?

When it comes to choosing the right skincare products, it can pay to dive into the science behind individual ingredients. While you don’t necessarily need to be able to rattle off the definition of an amide bond or a dipeptide on command, understanding the basics can be useful in choosing products with a formulation that will be most effective for your skin.

“Understanding peptide bonds is important so that you can choose products that will be most effective for your skin.”

  • Shani Darden, esthetician

So, let’s talk about peptide bonds, a crucial part of your body’s protein-making process. Peptides with strong peptide bonds can offer a wide range of skincare benefits, from minimizing visible signs of aging to soothing redness to supporting skin barrier function.

Together, we’ll learn about peptides and peptide bonds before getting into how these things can improve your complexion.

What Is a Peptide?

Peptides are molecules built from amino acids. If you flip your memory to high school science class, you may remember that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins

This matters when it comes to skincare because many ingredients you may have heard of, such as keratin, collagen, and elastin, are actually proteins. Collagen, elastin, peptides, and other proteins that are necessary for keeping your skin looking firm, even, and youthful are formed by chains of amino acids.

In short, peptides can help make up proteins to support your skin. But before I talk about how this necessary skin-building block can serve your complexion, let’s talk about one more detail that’s worth knowing: how peptide bonds work.

What Is a Peptide Bond?

While you don’t need a degree in biochemistry to choose a skincare product, understanding a bit more about protein synthesis and the overall structure of proteins can help you choose a good product. In its essence, peptide bonds are the chemical bonds that link two amino acids, coming together to form larger polypeptide chains.

There are many different types of peptide bonds, depending on the specific amino acids present, each characterized by its own unique side chain. Usually, these side chains contain carbon atoms, except in the case of amino acids glycine and proline.

More reactions and processes take place, and you end up with what’s known as a peptide group made up of multiple peptide bonds. These polypeptide chains can move and bend, which enables them to create all sorts of reactions within your skin and body overall.

Basically, the formation of a peptide bond is the glue that holds peptides together. Peptide bonds contribute to the stability and effectiveness of the peptides in your skincare products. They’re important because the stronger the peptide bond, the better the peptides can be for your skin.

Understanding the significance of peptide bonds can help you choose peptide-based skincare formulations that will have the greatest effect on your complexion. But that’s enough about protein structure and condensation reactions — let’s talk about what all of these vocabulary words have to do with your skin.

What Can Peptides Do for Your Skin?

One of the best effects of topical peptides or tripeptides is their ability to support collagen production. Your body’s ability to produce collagen, elastin, and other essential proteins decreases as you get older, and this is what can lead to many visible signs of aging. 

So using peptide products that can support collagen production can really minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.

Peptides can also help support your skin barrier, which is the outermost layer of your skin. Its job is to help keep moisture in while keeping bacteria, impurities, and other environmental aggressors out. This means that peptides can help promote hydration due to the positive effect they can have on your skin barrier.

Because peptides can support the skin barrier, they can also help encourage an even skin tone and address concerns like redness or irritation. A healthy skin barrier can help make sure your skin is able to heal and protect itself, which can lead to a smoother, more even complexion overall.

Additionally, peptides may help people with breakout-prone skin. This is partly because of the above effects but also because peptides can have cleansing qualities. This means peptides may help to neutralize bacteria and other impurities that may trigger breakouts.

Peptides are also great for sensitive skin. Peptides can help diffuse any negative reactions your sensitive skin may be having in response to powerful ingredients like AHAs and BHAs. They may even help to calm allergy-related redness and breakouts. 

But most importantly, because peptides are found naturally in your skin, your skin is already familiar with them. So applying peptides topically isn’t generally associated with any significant negative side effects.

How Can You Use Peptides in Your Skincare Routine?

With all of these benefits, I bet you’re ready to start using peptides in your skincare routine. But which products contain peptides, and which formulations are effective? Let’s break it down.

1. Cleanser

Start with a gentle but effective cleanser, like my Cleansing Serum. This luxurious, lathering cleanser seamlessly melts away makeup and pore-clogging impurities without stripping away your essential, hydrating natural oils. This leaves your skin ultra-clean, silky soft, and never dry or tight. 

It’s formulated with restorative oat bran, calming olive extract, and super-hydrator hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which is a type of molecule that can attract not just one molecule of water but up to 1,000 times its own weight in water and bind that moisture to your skin.

2. Serum

Peptide serums can be a great way to work peptides into your routine, although I prefer to get peptides from moisturizers. After all, it just makes sense to use hydrating ingredients during your moisturizing step! That said, some people prefer to use both a hydrating serum and a moisturizer.

To complement the effects of peptides and other skincare ingredients, try a vitamin C serum. These serums can provide both antioxidant protection and skin-brightening benefits. I like iS Clinical’s Pro-Heal Serum Advance+, which features vitamin C for brightening, vitamin E for hydrating, vitamin A for smoothing, and olive leaf extract for clarifying.

3. Moisturizer

Using a peptide-enriched moisturizer is one of my favorite ways to work peptides into a skincare routine because it allows time for the peptides to fully absorb into your skin. While using something like a peptide cleanser probably won’t hurt your skin, you might not benefit in the same way because, ultimately, you’re just washing it off after a few seconds.

My Hydration Peptide Cream is a rich, oil-free moisturizer that uses plumping peptides and moisture-drenching Hydrosella™ to replenish your skin and deliver up to 72 hours of hydration. Featuring palmitoyl hexapeptide-12, a synthetic peptide engineered for fast absorption into the skin, this ingredient works to support your natural moisture barrier and helps provide firmer, smoother skin. As it's designed to mimic the naturally occurring peptides of your skin, it’s readily absorbed, meaning your pores won’t feel congested, clogged, and suffocated by a thick cream that doesn’t breathe. 

4. Eye Cream

If you’re looking for peptides to help turn back the clock, it’s probably time to work an eye cream into your daily regimen. The delicate skin around your eyes is one of the first areas on your face to show visible signs of age, so it’s important to treat it with care and be sure that the skin is properly hydrated.

My Intensive Eye Renewal Cream is an anti-aging eye cream packed with potent peptides to plump and firm, silk tree extract to lift and brighten, and nourishing squalane to hydrate and protect your skin. Hydrolyzed pea protein, rich in the essential amino acid lysine, delivers deep hydration and can help your skin appear firmer by supporting the production of collagen, the main structural protein of the skin. It can leave your eye area visibly firmer, brighter, smoother, and ready for makeup if that’s what’s next in your routine.

5. SPF

Wearing sunscreen daily is a non-negotiable part of your skincare regimen. When your skin is unprotected from the sun, you’re left vulnerable to free radicals, which are unstable electrons that can damage your skin and cause premature aging. 

Using a high-SPF sunscreen daily and using products that are rich in antioxidants can help minimize damage related to UV rays.

The Bottom Line

You don’t need to know all about functional groups, ribosomes, and TRNA to understand your skincare products, but having a basic understanding of the cell biology behind your favorite products can help you choose more effective formulations.

Now that you understand the primary structure that makes up the key proteins of your skin and how peptide bonds can link peptides to make them more useful to your skin, you can work a peptide product into your skincare routine with confidence.

Finding high-quality skincare products that live up to their promises can be tough. If you’re looking for products that are designed to nourish and transform your skin, check out my website for ideas that can fill every step of your skincare routine.


Peptide Bond | Biology Dictionary

Usage of Synthetic Peptides in Cosmetics for Sensitive Skin | National Library of Medicine

Metabolism and Functions of Amino Acids in the Skin | National Library of Medicine

Effect of a Topical Collagen Tripeptide on Antiaging and Inhibition of Glycation of the Skin: A Pilot Study | National Library of Medicine


Your Bag

Pick 2 Free Samples with any order

Retinol Reform Sachet 2 ML
Body Reform Treatment Serum Sachet (US/CA)
Intensive Eye Renewal Cream Sachet

Pick 2 Free Samples with any order