Biopeptides: the Next Big Thing?

by Ralph Hill - Internet Technology Researcher and Writerby Ralph Hill - Internet Technology Researcher and Writer 

In an age where there seems to be new discoveries almost every week, it is no surprise to find biotechnology that bordered on science fiction a number of years ago becoming reality and part of our daily lives.

Skin care ingredients and formulations are a prime example of this, and there are some amazing hi-tech ingredients used in modern formulations that ten years ago would have been considered pure science.

Biopetides are one of the latest ingredients finding their way in to skin care formulations. They have a great deal to offer in the areas of stimulating natural biological processes that help reverse the aging process of the skin.

What are Biopeptides?
Biopeptides are smaller peptides derived from various proteins. They supply the second stage of necessary biological materials in the form of critical macromolecules, protein precursors, peptides and associated cofactors necessary for the building and maintenance of the larger families of complex proteins, prostaglandins and hormones.
This means that biopeptides are able to stimulate physiological processes to occur inside the structures of the skin itself.
They work by penetrating deep into the skin and stimulating the cells to function in a more normal manner, correcting imbalances that are often responsible for problem skin. They can help strengthen the natural defences of the skin and prevent the appearance of visible signs of skin aging.

There are a number of patented Biopeptides in skin care formulations, with Palmitoyl Oligopeptide (also known as Palmitoyl Pentapeptide and Biopeptide-CL) being the most common at the time of writing.

Palmitoyl Oligopeptide is a synthetic protein, made up of a fragment of collagen and palmitic acid. The palmitic acid is used to make collagen fragment more lipophillic and make it more compatible with the human skin to allow penetration. 

One could look at Palmitoyl Oligopeptide as a man-made precursor to collagen I. 
It is a relatively small molecule (five amino acids linked together and attached to a fatty acid) structurally related to the precursor of collagen type I (a.k.a. procollagen type I). Researchers found that when added to the culture of fibroblasts (the key skin cells), Palmitoyl Oligopeptide stimulated the synthesis of the key constituents of the skin matrix: collagen, elastin and glucosamnoglycans.
Advocates of Palmitoyl Oligopeptide claim that is at least as effective against wrinkles as retinol, but does not cause skin irritation, which is a common side effect of retinoids.

Solutions to address aging factors
The research behind Palmitoyl Oligopeptide was begun to find specific solutions to address aging factors in the skin, particularly the thinning of the sinusoidal layer between the dermis and the epidermis. The goal was to find a short peptide that would stimulate fibroblasts in the skin to produce key components of the extra-cellular matrix such as collagen and hyaluronic acid. 
During in vitro clinical trials, claims of efficiency included the Increase of collagen production by the fibroblasts by as much as 350%, and Increases of hyaluronic acid production by the fibroblasts by as much as 146%.
Further testing in viro of a cream with a 3% concentration over a six-month period showed impressive results, although significant results were seen in two months. 

Results of the six-month period included:
• Mean wrinkle depth reduced 17%
• Surface area of deep wrinkles reduced 68%
• Surface area of moderate wrinkles reduced 51%
• Mean density of wrinkled area reduced 47%
• Skin roughness reduced 16%
• Main wrinkle volume was reduced 24% 

These results show that Palmitoyl Oligopeptide had a dramatic effect on reducing the quantity and depth of wrinkles and also improved surface smoothness. 

The studies behind the biopeptide give a clear description of the mechanism for how this is accomplished and also indicate that it is stimulating natural biological processes to reverse the aging process of the skin.

Elastin and collagen are the substances most responsible for the elasticity of skin and take on combined actions to achieve this. If either of these substances decreases, wrinkles develop, and so protection of one and stimulation of the other is therefore the best support that one can give skin.

Biopeptides are shown to stimulate the fibroblasts that are responsible for the health of elastin and collagen, and are consequently a very exciting ingredient that will undoubtedly become more and more popular as their results become more widely known. 


About the Author

Ralph Hill is technology writer, illustrator and editor for Virtual Beauty Corporation. He has a background in science, electronics and electro-mechanical devices, but enjoys researching and writing on a myriad of skin care related topics including cosmetic chemistry and anatomy & physiology.




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