Many time-tested moisturizer formulations contain peptide fragments, the most common being hydrolyzed collagen, usually obtained from cow skin. Other, more sophisticated modern formulations may contain patented collagen peptide fragments, such as Matrixyl. Proteins and peptides function as humectants with the ability to absorb water, an important moisturizing property. Human stem cell peptides function in this manner, but are unlikely to provide any additional antiaging benefits.
Q. How are the biologiccontaining moisturizers applied for optimal efficacy?
PRP and human stem cell peptide-containing moisturizers are considered to contain biologic ingredients. This is an area of controversy from a regulatory standpoint and the FDA has issued warning letters to several companies making robust claims in this moisturizer category. The safety of some of these hightech formulations may be in the inability of proteins and peptides to traverse the stratum corneum, which is uniquely designed to keep these allergenic substances out of the body. However, in order to realize benefit from the formulations, the peptides must reach the viable skin.
This has led to development of a variety of handheld electroporation devices to decrease the skin barrier. These home-use minimal-risk devices are very popular in some Eastern European areas, especially Korea, and they are finding their way into the United States. The peptide-containing moisturizer is put on the skin surface, and the device is then rubbed over the moisturizer to enhance penetration. It is challenging to know what is really improving skin appearance with these treatments. Is it the biologic ingredient, the moisturizer or the radiofrequency device? This new area of dermatology is still in its infancy with the need for more data for assessment.