A tripeptide is a short protein made up of a chain of three amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of skin and body tissue. The human body synthesizes amino acids from other chemicals or extracts them from food. However, the amino acids that are used in skin and hair care products are created in a laboratory environment. To address deficiencies of certain amino acids, tripeptides can be taken as oral supplements or applied topically to the skin. By replenishing supplies of vital amino acids, tripeptides boost the creation of new skin cells, encourage the production of collagen and elastin, and stimulate nerve-endings to relax facial muscles. Tripeptides are found in cutting edge skin care products that use the specialized properties to nourish and stimulate the lower layers of the skin. Tripeptides are extremely potent ingredients and only a small amount is required to produce measurable results.
The body can create approximately 8,000 tripeptides by combining various amino acids. There are a number of tripeptides that are known to have beneficial effects on the condition of the skin and hair. Examples of popular tripeptides found in skin and hair care products include glutathione, palmitoyl tripeptide-38, biotinyl tripeptide, tripeptide-1, and copper tripeptide.
Glutathione is a tripeptide made up of three amino acids: cysteine, glutamic acid, and glyceine. Glutathione is synthesized in the liver and helps with detoxification and immunity building. The body's natural supplies of glutathione can become depleted due to a number of different factors such as stress, poor diet, aging, and illness. Glutathione is a versatile tripeptide that assists in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, liver cancer, sickle cell anemia, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and cataracts. Low levels of glutathione can also contribute to the visible signs of aging, including poor skin tone, loss of skin elasticity, wrinkles, and dehydration. The powerful antioxidant properties of glutathione make it an extremely popular ingredient in anti-aging skin care products. High levels of glutathione can also lighten the skin, although it is not authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a skin lightener in the U.S.
Palmitoyl tripeptide-38 is found as an ingredient in cutting edge skin care products because it penetrates deep in to the dermis to boost the production of collagen. Palmitoyl tripeptide-38 stimulates the synthesis of hyaluronic acid, which is one of the chemicals responsible for new cell development. By assisting the body's natural regeneration process, palmitoyl tripeptide-38 helps skin to retain its youthful firmness and radiant glow.
Biotinyl tripeptide is a highly effective hair conditioner that has been shown to prevent hair loss. Use of hair care products containing biotinyl tripeptide anchors hair more firmly to the scalp. Biotinyl tripeptide is also found in eyelash and eyebrow treatments together with various mascaras. Biotinyl tripeptide helps eyelashes and eyebrows to retain their length and thickness.
Tripeptide-1 promotes the production of fibroblasts, which are the precursors of collagen. Tripeptide-1 is found in anti-aging products because of its ability to promote the creation of new skin cells and stimulate collagen production. Tripeptide-1 is also found in anti-cellulite products due to its ability to adhere to the type of fat cells found in cellulite.
Copper tripeptide has skin firming, anti-aging, and anti-wrinkle properties. Copper tripeptide has been shown to increase levels of collagen in the skin and is particularly efficacious in treating photoaged skin. Copper tripeptides are found in many lotions and creams designed to treat the characteristic wrinkles that form around the eye area, known as crows' feet. Copper tripeptide also stimulates hair growth and can increase the thickness of hair. For that reason, copper tripeptides are found in shampoos, conditioners, eyelash and eyebrow treatments, and mascaras.
A tripeptide trademarked as SynAke is known to relax facial muscles, in a similar way to Botox injections. SynAke has the benefit of being noninvasive and well-tolerated by most skin types, making it a safer option that Botox injections.
Tripeptides are generally well-tolerated by the majority of the population. However, individuals with sensitive skin may experience an adverse reaction to tripeptides due to their strength and intensity. For this reason, it is often useful to carry out a patch test prior to using skin care product containing tripeptides on large areas of skin.