Are Polypeptides Vegan? What Are They Made Of?

By Anett Rannamets. Published: August 2022.
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Polypeptides are chains of amino acids used in anti-aging skincare. Peptides can be derived from animals or plants. Plus, they could also be synthetical. Therefore, polypeptides can be both, vegan and non-vegan.

In this article, you can explore what peptides are in general and how can they be useful in skincare. Let’s dive into it!

What Are Polypeptides?

Polypeptides are chains of amino acid residues linked by peptide bonds. They are also called peptide chains or protein chains.

Proteins are made up of chains of peptides. And these in turn are made up of amino acids. There are hundreds of peptides and each peptide is made up of a combination of amino acids. And when peptides are combined in a certain way, they form proteins.

The skin is made up of proteins, one of the most important foundations for the skin. If the skin didn’t contain peptides, it would be saggy and wrinkled. And the skin texture would be totally different.

Peptides fulfill a variety of physiological functions in the body. They can act as anti-inflammatory building blocks. Or antimicrobial peptides with antibiotic or antiviral effects. Some peptides also have a direct effect on neurological processes. For example, muscle contraction.

They activate and control elementary processes. So, peptides are the cells’ messengers – telling how, when, where, and what the cell has to do.

What Are Polypeptides Made Of?

Peptides are naturally occurring biological molecules found in all living organisms. Thus, polypeptides could be derived from animals. However, polypeptides may also be plant-based or synthetical.

The most widely used peptides in skincare come from animal proteins. Commonly milk, casein, whey, and meat protein. The most popular non-vegan polypeptide is a collagen peptide.

Bioactive peptides from plant sources usually come from plants with high protein content. For example, soy, oats, legumes, rapeseed, wheat, linseed, and hemp seeds. It is also possible to produce peptides through fermentation from yeast and bacteria.

For industrial use, labs also make synthetic peptides. They are chemically synthesized small polymers. So, polypeptides could be both – vegan and non-vegan.

Why Are Polypeptides Used In Skincare?

Polypeptides are used in skincare because they boost the skin’s collagen production. They also strengthen its protective barrier and supply it with moisture.

A collagen is a form of protein that forms the framework of the skin. It gives it structure, strength, and elasticity. Polypeptides boost collagen production and therefore keep the skin elastic and youthful. So, polypeptides have an anti-aging feature.

As polypeptides stimulate collagen production, they also stimulate the regeneration of cells. This strengthens the skin’s natural protective barrier. And protects the skin from external factors and damage.

Polypeptides also have an anti-inflammatory effect. Antioxidants found in peptides help prevent inflammation. That slows down skin aging and soothes irritation on sensitive skin. Some peptides are also antibacterial and protect the skin from pathogens.

Moreover, polypeptides take care of the skin’s hydration. They act as a moisture booster and promote a healthy and radiant complexion.

Polypeptides are suitable for all skin types. To fully develop their effect, it is recommended to use them in the morning and in the evening. Also, peptides work better when combined with other active ingredients. Such as vitamin E, vitamin C, retinol, or hyaluronic acid.

FAQ About Polypeptides

What are polypeptides?

Polypeptides are chains of amino acid residues linked by peptide bonds. They are also called peptide chains or protein chains. Peptides are naturally occurring biological molecules found in all living organisms.

Are polypeptides vegan?

Peptides can be both, vegan and non-vegan. The most popular non-vegan polypeptide is a collagen peptide. It comes from animal skin, nails, bones, or ligaments. Bioactive peptides from plant sources usually come from plants with high protein content. For industrial use, labs also make synthetic peptides.

Summary

Polypeptides are powerful anti-aging ingredients in skincare that stimulate collagen production. However, it is important to remember that not all peptides are vegan-friendly.

Many peptides come from animals. The best-known example is collagen peptide. It comes from animal skin, nails, bones, or ligaments. Therefore, it is important to read the ingredient list or ask the manufacturer for more info. Fortunately, peptides can also be plant-based or produced synthetically.

Polypeptides work best together with other active ingredients. These include, for example, retinol, or vitamin C. We recommend shopping from 100% vegan brands. Luckily, you may find a large variety of vegan products with peptides.

Anett is a passionate journalist, writer, and magazine editor with almost 7 years of experience. Through engaging articles, she brings kinder and more environmentally-friendly choices closer to everybody.