In the world of skincare, trending ingredients come and go every year, whether it’s CBD, hyaluronic acid or even snail mucin. However, some ingredients are worth noting, such as retinol and peptides.
Retinol and peptides have a lot in common: they are two valuable ingredients that you can find in a myriad of different products, and they both benefit the skin barrier. However, retinol and peptides share some fundamental differences, which we will discuss below. Let’s talk about these two skin savers.
Advantages and disadvantages of peptides
First, let’s start with some jargon, starting with peptides. Peptides are short chains of amino acids that help build up proteins like collagen and elastin, which are essential for keeping skin firm and elastic. Peptides are made from the breakdown of protein molecules that are too large to be properly absorbed. Once broken down, they can be properly absorbed by the skin and provide benefits.
Benefits of Peptides
Reduce fine lines
Peptides promote skin hydration, which can create a plumping effect. Additionally, peptides have been shown to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production.
Firm the skin
Due to their ability to stimulate collagen production, peptides work to make the skin look tighter and firmer.
Inflammation is a common sign of several chronic skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, etc. Inflammation can be quite uncomfortable, but peptides have been shown to reduce inflammatory responses of the skin.
It turns out that peptides can even help you tan, without sunburn. Certain peptides can stimulate melanin production, which helps skin darken without any sun exposure.
Reduce the appearance of pores
When skin elasticity is reduced, pores tend to appear larger. Fortunately, peptides improve elasticity, which can help reduce and change pore size for a healthier glow.
Disadvantages of Peptides
Research is still limited
As one of those hot new ingredients, peptides are heavily touted for their benefits, sometimes even with comparisons to botox! However, it is important to note that peptide research is still in its infancy. That being said, take all purported benefits with a grain of salt.
Not All Peptides Are Created Equal
For marketing purposes, peptides are often generalized to a single singular term. However, not all peptides are the same and there are hundreds of different types. Typically, you are going to find signal peptides, also known as “palmitoyl pentapeptides” in skincare.
Peptides can cause sensitivity
Although peptides are generally considered safe, it should be noted that in rare cases the use of peptides may lead to reactions such as itching, rashes or skin sensitivity.
Advantages and disadvantages of retinoids
Retinol, on the other hand, is a derivative of vitamin A. It should be noted that retinol and retinoids are both part of the vitamin A family, but they have different levels of intensity. Retinoids help skin by stimulating cell turnover, which helps reveal new, beautiful skin. Retinol is a very versatile skincare ingredient, often used to both clear up acne and fight the signs of aging. Moreover, it is one of the most sought after ingredients on the market.
Here are some of the most notable retinol benefits.
Benefits of Retinol
Acne is an extremely common skin condition, and we all experience it at some point. It tends to happen when the pores become clogged with sebum and dead skin, leading to the development of blackheads, pustules and whiteheads. Retinol helps prevent clogged pores, although you may experience a brief period of bleeding at first. But over time, the process will reveal beautiful, glowing skin.
Acne scars that fade
Acne scars are usually the result of inflammation and injury, often appearing pink, gray or dark brown on the skin. While acne scars can often last for several weeks, retinol can speed up the skin’s renewal cycle for clearer skin.
Erase dark spots
Dark spots, also known as hyperpigmentation, can develop on your skin as a result of sun exposure. Although it may take some time, retinol can help diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation with regular use.
Retinol for wrinkles
Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process, and this is due to a wide range of different factors: facial movement, sun exposure, and skin cells divide more slowly over time. Retinol can slow the breakdown of collagen over time, which helps your skin age more slowly.
Disadvantages of Retinol
Although retinol works its magic, it’s also been known to cause flaking, redness, and irritation, especially when first used. That’s why if you’re new to retinol, it’s important to only use it a few times a week at first.
Retinol is known to increase sensitivity to the sun, which is why SPF is always the rule of thumb when talking about it. Whenever you use retinol, be sure to always apply it at night and use sunscreen in the morning.
Not suitable for everyone
As good as retinol may be for the skin, no one ingredient works for everyone. Although some people may be sensitive to retinol, it is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Uses of Peptides and Retinoids: Which is Better?
So which skincare ingredient is better: peptides or retinol?
It ultimately depends on what you want from your skincare routine and what your main concerns are. While peptides and retinol are both helpful for wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and texture, let’s dive into some of the nuances of their uses, starting with peptides:
Uses of Peptides
Peptides have become particularly popular in the wrinkle care debate because their collagen-boosting properties can help slow the aging process. Peptides can also be especially helpful for dehydrated skin, as they can help replenish and plump pores.
Uses of Retinoids
Retinol, on the other hand, can benefit those looking to take preventive care against the signs of aging, as well as those looking to reverse sun damage or clear up acne. That being said, it should be noted that retinol can be potentially irritating to some people when first used, and it is generally not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Using Peptides and Retinoids in Your Skincare Routine
Due to their key differences and benefits, it’s no surprise that both retinol and peptides are great candidates for your skincare routine; in fact, they may even work better when used in tandem. As dermatologists have pointed out, peptides and retinol can work together to improve your complexion. That being said, retinol is still best for nighttime use, and peptides may be more beneficial during the day, especially in tandem with a vitamin C serum and SPF.
Since both ingredients have the potential to cause irritation, it is generally recommended to introduce any ingredient slowly and gradually at first, starting with a patch test. After performing a patch test, you should be able to use the product several times a week, eventually moving to daily use.
Retinol products that work well at night, rather than in the sun, include our PM Retinol Eye Cream. This cream is filled with rose hips, chamomile and glycerin. The flowers are super soothing and calming for the skin, especially for those of us who suffer from dry eyes. Glycerin helps draw moisture to the eye area and lock it in for longer lasting hydration. We recommend using a penny-sized amount and patting around the eye area just before bed to wake up looking pretty peepers the next morning. Add our powerful PM Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidant Serum for even more retinol power. The power of this serum helps brighten, boost collagen and reverse the signs of aging, including age spots and wrinkles.
While most peptides in skincare are non-vegan, we’ve made all of our peptide products completely plant-based, with quinoa! And one of our newest skincare products with vegan peptides is our Mushroom Peptide Serum.
With mushroom powder, quinoa peptides and sodium hyaluronate, this serum is our most nourishing yet. Medicinal mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides that deeply plump and hydrate the skin, while peptides strengthen the skin barrier and sodium hyaluronate provides a burst of hydration.
But when you’re looking for a serious detox for your skin, look no further than our Seaberry moisturizer.
This moisturizer creates deep hydration in the skin, thanks to phytonutrient-rich seafood, quinoa peptides and powerful botanicals like orchid, alpine rose and raspberry ketones. Sea berry provides restorative properties, while bakuchiol and plant stem cells promote smoothing and radiance.
Peptides also lend their hydrating properties to our Puristry Flower Toner, which uses floral hydrosols like rosewater to quench drained skin cells while de-puffing and reducing redness.