Peptides are a more recent addition to the skincare armamentarium, as if we needed any more products to choose from! So what exactly are they, and what is it they’re claimed to do? 

What are peptides? 

Peptides are short chains of amino acids. Amino acids make up proteins such as collagen and elastin, which are important for skin health. 

What do peptides do? 

There’s some evidence that applying peptides to the skin may stimulate collagen production, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and have anti-ageing benefits. However, the evidence behind peptides isn’t as robust as it is for some other ingredients. 

Should I be using peptides in my skincare routine?

Given that there isn’t as much evidence supporting the use of peptides, it may be best to start off with the things we know for sure work, such as retinoids, niacinamide, vitamin C and alpha and beta hydroxy acids. However, if you’re already using these and want to add something else into your regime, by all means add peptides. 

Evidence base: Weak



Bauza E, Oberto G, Berghi A, Dal CF, Domloge N. Collagen-like peptide exhibits a remarkable antiwrinkle effect on the skin when topically applied: in vivo study. Int J Tissue React.


Ganceviciene R, Liakou AI, Theodoridis A, Makrantonaki E, Zouboulis CC. Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):308-319. 


Gorouhi F, Maibach HI. Role of topical peptides in preventing or treating aged skin. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2009 Oct;31(5):327-45. 


Jeong S, Yoon S, Kim S, et al. Anti-Wrinkle Benefits of Peptides Complex Stimulating Skin Basement Membrane Proteins Expression. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;21(1):73. 


Lupo MP, Cole AL. Cosmeceutical peptides. Dermatol Ther. 2007 Sep-Oct;20(5):343-9.


Or search Conditions or Treatments



Spotlight on Skin was created by award-winning Melbourne-based dermatologist, Dr Julia Rhodes.

Julia knows first-hand how overwhelming the skincare world can be, and that’s with over 10 years of experience practicing dermatology. Given that even she gets overwhelmed, she appreciates how hard it can be for those of you without a scientific background to make sense of all the information available, and choose products that are right for your skin…