Are philosophy’s peptides actually anti-aging?

Drew’s dilemma: I love Philosophy as a brand and I have two questions about their Shelter Sunscreen For Face. First, I don’t see any sunscreens listed as ingredients, yet they claim the product has SPF 30. Is that due to the melanin in the formula? Second, they claim to contain a blend of two peptides that “act in synergy to help restore and maintain the skin’s youthful appearance.” Is there any truth to that statement? I love this site and hope to continue seeing great information here!!

The Right Brain’s peptide proposal:

Drew thanks for your kind words and for your question. Here’s the scoop:

Gimme Shelter

To answer your first question, you are correct. We can find no listing of a traditional sunscreen ingredient in this product. That seems a bit odd since they do claim to have a specific SPF value. We doubt it’d due to the melanin because that ingredient is not officially recognized in the OTC monograph. So how they claim SPF 30 without the correct ingredients is a mystery to us too!

Your other question is interesting from a technical point of view and ties into one of the newest areas of research for skin care: peptides.

The peptide premise

As we’ve blogged before, in the generic sense a peptide is simply a small protein. And some kinds of proteins are beneficial to hair and skin because of their film-forming, moisturizing properties.

But the latest research indicates that certain peptides can interact with skin to trigger biological activity. For example, there’s a recent paper in the January 2008 issue of Cosmetics and Toiletries

entitled “Tetrapeptide Targets Epidermal Cohesion” by G. Pauly, et. al. of Cognis France. (Cognis is a major manufacturer of cosmetic ingredients.)

Simply put, the paper states that this peptide (formally known as N-acetyl tetrapeptide-11 or Tetrapeptide-11 for short) can stimulate production of syndecan-1, another biological chemical that helps bind skin cells together. Loss of this cellular adhesion is one of the benchmarks of aging skin. So, less adhesion loss means younger looking and feeling skin.

Two kinds of testing

To prove their point the researchers used a combination of in vitro and in vivo testing. The in vitro testing showed that Tetrapeptide-11 had the desired effect on skin cells in the lab. And the in vivo testing showed that people showed an improvement in skin quality after using a cream with 3% Tetrapeptide-11 for about 8 weeks. And here’s the important part: the researchers did their testing versus a placebo cream that did not contain the active ingredient.

So, the good news is, here’s a breakthrough cosmetic ingredient that seems to really work. The bad news is, this isn’t the blend of peptides that Philosophy uses. They use Palmitoyl Oligopeptide and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 and we could not find supportive research on those ingredients.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

If you’re looking for a sunscreen, you should make sure the product uses proven SPF ingredients. If you’re looking for anti-aging peptides, look for products that contain 3% Tetrapeptide-11. (We haven’t found any yet, if you see any, let us know!)

Do any of your skin care products contain peptides? Take a look at your labels and leave a comment for the rest of the Beauty Brains community.