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What are peptides & what do they do for skin?

Learn about peptides and the benefits of peptides for skin with NIVEA


What are peptides, and why is everyone talking about them at the moment? This is everything you need to know about the microscopic miracles, including how they’re able to teach your skin to produce more proteins, like elastin and collagen.
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What are peptides?

If you’ve just searched “What are peptides?”, and found yourself faced with a variety of confusing scientific answers, NIVEA is on hand to clear things up.
Peptides are able to communicate with the proteins in your body. When peptides are allowed to sink into the skin, they can encourage other natural proteins – whose rate of production naturally slows with age – to get working again. Peptides in NIVEA skincare products will specifically be looking to team up with old friends, elastin and collagen, both with important jobs. Elastin is responsible for softening the appearance of wrinkles, while collagen keeps skin looking firm and plump, for a brighter and more youthful appearance. Keeping these proteins hard at work will help contribute to keeping your skin strong and healthy.  
Compared to elastin and collagen, the peptide particle is much, much smaller, which means it can actually be absorbed into the skin, instead of sitting on top of it. Once it’s been absorbed into the skin it’s able to send messages out to your skin cells, so they can start creating more of those helpful proteins. 


Although some peptides are naturally occurring in skin cells, different versions are starting to be introduced to skincare products now, too. And for good reason. These innovative, skin-repairing strings of aminos are able to reinvigorate older cells and proteins, so you can always look and feel your best. 

Let’s meet a few members of the family…
- Polypeptides: So, we know what a peptide is now, but what is a polypeptide? At a molecular level, a peptide is made up of a short string of aminos. A polypeptide on the other hand is made up of lots of aminos, making them longer and more complex, offering multiple functions and benefits.
- Collagen peptides: Collagen is responsible for keeping skin looking youthful, plump and healthy. Basically, it helps slow the ageing process. Collagen is one of the most abundant types of protein in the body, also responsible for looking after ligament strength and bone density.  

- Copper peptides work as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, which can speed up recovery of light scratches, redness, blemishes or scarring. This little miracle worker can also stimulate collagen production, so improve skin firmness.

woman applying Nivea serum on her face


woman applying Nivea cream around her eyes

By including polypeptides, collagen peptides and copper peptides in your skincare routine, you’ll be able to enjoy a range of benefits including: 

- Extra layer of protection: Peptides can strengthen skin cells, keeping the proteins inside working hard, while keeping UV rays, toxins and bacteria out
- Softening of wrinkles: By encouraging the production of collagen, skin is plumped up to look more youthful, resulting in the appearance of wrinkles softening. 

- Improved skin elasticity: By stimulating the production of elastin, peptides allow tissues to grow stronger and become more elastic, so when they’re stretched, they can return to their original firmness

To help maintain a strong skin barrier, avoid over-exfoliation (no more than two or three times a week), cigarette smoke, and try to get as much quality sleep in as possible. A good night’s sleep is often overlooked as a skincare booster, but it affords the body an opportunity to repair damage and create more collagen, for brighter skin. 


A lot of skincare products these days include peptides (of some description) on their ingredient lists, so it can be a bit overwhelming when trying to pick the one that’s going to be right for you.

All peptides have their benefits and  specific roles, but when looking for skincare including peptides, remember they need to soak into the skin. To reap the rewards and enjoy the best results, you should be looking at serums and moisturisers with peptides – designed to be left on to soak in, as opposed to a cleanser, which is washed away.

NIVEA Q10 Anti-Wrinkle Power Expert Targeted Wrinkle Filler Serum uses peptides to penetrate the skin 10 layers deep. This paired with NIVEA Skin Identical Q10 works to reduce the appearance of wrinkles within 5 minutes and long–term. It fills and plumps wrinkles on the forehead, lips and nasolabial folds within 2 weeks, providing a 50% visible reduction within 4 weeks. Discover more NIVEA Face Serums below.