15 best products and how they work

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Fine lines, wrinkles, lack of firmness, rough texture… these are completely normal things that happen to our skin as we age. If you notice any of them on your face and are indifferent to their existence, feel free to stop reading this story and move on with your life. Otherwise, if you’re like me and want to minimize their appearance, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re talking about all things peptides…an ingredient loved by skincare experts for its ability to smooth, plump and firm the skin without causing irritation. Ahead, everything you need to know about peptides for skin, including exactly how they work and the 15 best peptide skin care products to try right now.


Meet the experts:

  • Melissa DoftMD, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with Doft Plastic Surgery in New York, specializing in cosmetic and reconstructive treatments.
  • Corey L. HartmanMD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, AL.
  • Hand of Elizabeth Grace is a licensed esthetician and founder of Stalle Studios in New York City.

    What do peptides do for the skin?

    Peptides are made up of chains of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins in our skin, explains plastic surgeon Melissa Doft, MD. “These peptides signal your skin to enter repair mode and produce more collagen and elastin-two proteins responsible for keeping the skin smooth and firm. “When your skin has more collagen elastin, you’ll see fewer fine lines and wrinkles, smaller pores, and a more lifted and contoured appearance. Certain peptides also have anti-inflammatory benefits, so they can help calm skin and reduce sensitivity as well.

    How to choose a peptide treatment:

    Opt for a leave-in product

    Avoid any products, like cleansers or masks, that are rinsed off (they don’t stay on long enough to penetrate the skin and have positive benefits) and opt for a leave-in product in place. Your best bet: A peptide-filled serum or moisturizer (like a day or night cream) that you apply twice a day, says Dr. Doft.

    Combine them with retinol

    Peptides are great anti-aging ingredients, but they’re no substitute for retinol (FYI, retinol is the gold standard in anti-aging). For maximum smoothing and firming of the skin, you will want to incorporate both retinol and peptides into your daily routine, says dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD. “You can either use these ingredients together at night, or just use peptides in the morning and a retinol in the evening.” Also: Pregnant women cannot use retinol, so peptides should be used 100% solo in this case.

    Don’t forget your eyes

    Another great way to incorporate peptides into your daily skincare routine is to use a peptide-infused eye product. Retinol, while effective, may be too harsh for the delicate skin around the eyes. Peptides, on the other hand, are a safer choice. Use them in your eye cream or eye serum can help firm and tighten the skin and soften the appearance of crow’s feet and crepey texture without causing irritation.

    The best peptide skincare products of 2022:

      Keep scrolling for a full list of the best peptide skin care products, plus a quick breakdown of how they work.

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      1

      Best Peptide Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

      First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Firming Collagen Cream

      The ingredients of this cream are a dream for dry and sensitive skin, says Dr. Hartman. “Not only does the formula contain peptides and moisturizing ingredients to promote collagen production and hydrate the skin, but it also contains niacinamide to relieve skin irritation and inflammation,” says Dr. Hartman.

      2

      Best Peptide Night Cream

      Retinal Repair Night Cream and Skin Allied Peptides

      This night cream is formulated with two powerful anti-aging agents: peptides and retinol, explains licensed esthetician Elizabeth Grace Hand. “His ideal for plumping and smoothing stressed skinwith low molecular weight hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and cloudberry seed oil, which help relieve the irritation often associated with retinol.”

      3

      Best Peptide Eye Cream

      Shani Darden Skin Care Intensive Regenerating Eye Cream

      Dark circles, wrinkles, crow’s feet…this powerful eye cream can help minimize them with a blend of peptides, silk tree extracts, squalene and ceramides. Pat a tiny bit around your eye area morning and evening for smooth, plumped and luminous skin.

      4

      Best All-Natural Face Cream With Peptides

      Tata Harper Crème Riche Peptide Anti-Aging Night Cream

      This natural face moisturizer is a great option for anyone who loves clean, green beauty and also wants to improve her skin texture. “The formula is thick and emollient in a luxurious way,” says Dr. Hartman. “It hydrates, replenishes and plumps while releasing peptides and ceramides into the skin.”

      5

      Best Drugstore Face Moisturizer With Peptides

      Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Max Facial Moisturizer

      Even though that drugstore moisturizer is youthe cheapest peptide skincare product on the list, he does not skimp on quality. The rich, plush cream is super hydrating, fragrance-free, and packed with a blend of niacinamide and peptides.

      6

      Best lightweight moisturizer with peptides

      Eighth Day Repair Moisturizer

      This moisturizer has a super lightweight texture but delivers the same amount of hydration as a rich cream, says Hand. “It’s packed with peptides to firm and plump and antioxidants to help protect skin from UV and blue light damage which contribute to premature aging, plus it leaves the skin so soft and silky.”

      7

      Best Overall Peptide Serum

      Drunk Elephant Protini Powerpeptide Resurfacing Serum

      The lactic acid and 11 different peptides in this multitasking face serum from Drunk Elephant help dissolve dead skin cells and stimulate collagen and elastin levels for plump, plump, glowing skin like hell.

      8

      Best Peptide Booster Serum

      Paula’s Choice Peptide Booster Serum

      The easiest way to add peptides to your existing skincare routine? This customizable booster serum. Use alone on clean skin or add a few drops to your favorite moisturizeran overnight mask, a leave-in treatment, and even your body lotion before applying them to your face and body.

      9

      Best eye serum with peptides

      StriVectin Peptight 360˚ Firming Eye Serum

      Eye serums are great for anyone who wants to minimize the signs of aging but hate the feeling of heavy creams around their eyes. That of StriVectin is light and fast absorbing but is still super effective thanks to three different peptides that work together to firm and tighten the skin.

      ten

      Best Peptide Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin

      Face Reality Skincare Cran-Peptide Cream

      “This is my go-to peptide cream for breakout-prone clients,” says Hand. The combination of antibacterial neem, anti-inflammatory witch hazel and purifying cranberry fruit extract is ideal for those looking to manage acne and redness but also want anti-aging benefits, says Hands.

      11

      Best Peptide Anti-Puffiness Eye Cream

      Sobel Skin Rx Oligo Peptide Eye Cream

      Another solid eye cream option, this one from Sobel Skin is best suited for tightening the skin around your eyes and deflate under-eye puffiness with firming peptides, hydrating hyaluronic acid and soothing cucumber extract.

      12

      Best Peptide Face Cream for Dry Skin

      Exclusive Rose Ingleton ® Moisturizer

      Dry skin, these are for you. In addition to smoothing peptides, this the moisturizer contains ceramides (these are essential for a healthy skin barrier), nourishing shea butter and antioxidant-rich niacinamide to keep your skin soft and dewy.

      13

      Best Peptide Splurge Serum

      Neocutis Bio Serum Firm

      This peptide face serum is certainly expensive, but the results are truly impressive. The blend of anti-aging peptides and growth factors combined with hydrating sodium hyaluronate visibly smooth lines and rough texture while creating a firming and tightening effect on the skin.

      14

      Best daily face moisturizer with peptides

      Ole Henriksen Strength Trainer Peptide Boost Moisturizer

      Replace any daily moisturizer you currently use with this option from Ole Henriksen and your face will thank you. The vegan and cruelty-free formula Instantly melts into skin and is packed with all the good stuff—including plumping peptides, ceramides and plant collagen.

      15

      Best Peptide Body Serum

      Boscia Peptide Youth-Restore Firming Body Serum

      ICYMI peptides aren’t just for your face. This body serum from Boscia combines firming peptides, antioxidant-rich niacinamide, plumping hyaluronic acid and soothing botanical extracts to leave your skin under the chin super smooth and baby-soft.

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