If you’ve ever looked into anti-aging skincare before, chances are you’ve come across peptides. These restorative proteins are considered powerful skin-nourishers and -smoothers because they’re known to stimulate collagen production and promote general skin health. What you might not know is that they can also brighten and reduce the appearance of pigmentation! Here, a brief explainer on one specific type of peptide and how it benefits skin of color. 

What exactly are tetrapeptides?

Tetrapeptides are a biologically active, short sequence of amino acids in the body that form the natural building blocks of components in our skin (like collagen and elastin). When they’re applied to the skin, they act as messengers, and can tell the skin to stimulate even more collagen or elastin. Depending on their makeup, peptides can have different properties—including anti-aging and skin-soothing benefits—but one commonality is that they all help to protect your skin barrier. 

In their natural form, they’re very unstable in water-based formulas since they’re water-soluble, but synthetic peptides have emerged as a more shelf-stable substitute in skin-care products. 

What are its benefits? And what skin concerns does it address?

The specific compound we use in our Cloud Cushion moisturizer is the tetrapeptide-30, a synthetic peptide with anti-inflammatory powers. An independent clinical in-vivo study of 165 participants showed that tetrapeptide-30 was effective at preventing and visibly fading signs of hyperpigmentation, melasma, and skin lesions—including among participants of color.

The peptide works by inhibiting tyrosinase (the enzyme needed to create melanin), blocking the transfer of melanin into the top layers of the skin in the process. By doing so, it safely disrupts the pathways that lead to pigmentation and uneven skin tone. Tetrapeptide-30 also helps heal acne, reduce redness and inflammation, and leaves skin looking brighter and more even.

Why is it beneficial for skin of color? 

Tetrapeptide-30 can greatly help with preventing and fading signs of acne, melasma, and hyperpigmentation, which are all skin disorders common to melanated skin types. 

How should tetrapeptides be used?

While peptides are certainly powerful, for the best results you’ll want to use them with other complementary ingredients like emollients and antioxidants that boost their efficacy. One caveat is that we don’t recommend using peptides with AHAs, which can lower their efficacy. 

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