Peptide Injections: What To Know About The Anti-Aging Treatment

In our quest for perfectly flawless, youthful-looking skin, many of us look toward the countless different treatments taking over social media. As new methods emerge, they become endorsed by celebrities and influencers alike and slowly — yet steadily — find their way into mainstream skincare routines. Yes, some of us are guilty of making common skincare mistakes, but we mostly try to adhere to the latest trends and best practices.


One such skincare anti-aging treatment that has seemingly taken the internet by storm is that of peptide injections. As the allure of eternal youth continues to captivate, more and more people have become curious about this new method. Amidst a sea of skincare options, "peptides" seems to be the new buzzword — and, according to Jennifer Aniston in an interview with The Wallstreet Journal, peptide injections are "the future." But what exactly are peptides, and do they hold the key to unlocking youthful radiance? 

What are peptides?

Before diving into peptide injections, it's worth noting what peptides even are. "Peptides are a compound comprising a link of two or more amino acids," Dr. Rashmi Shetty, cosmetic dermatologist at Ra Skin & Aesthetics, tells Harper's Bazaar. "There are several peptides available, such as tripeptides, decapeptides, hexapeptides, and so on, depending on the number of amino acids linked in the peptide chain." But what exactly do these peptides do for us?


According to WebMD, "your body makes peptides." These peptides are made up of strings of amino acids, which are the "building blocks" of proteins. They function as message carriers in our bodies, guiding our cells on how to act.

Some of these peptides are found on our dermal levels and are responsible for creating collagen, which gives our skin its elasticity, making it look firm and vibrantly youthful (per The Derm Review). Unfortunately, as we age, our human growth hormone and peptide levels progressively decrease, causing our bodies to show signs of aging and wrinkles to appear.

Peptide injections explained

As noted, while our bodies naturally create peptides, the number of these miraculous compounds decreases as we age. Enter laboratory-created peptides that are used in skincare treatments, including peptide injections. Once injected, peptides assume the role of what our natural peptides would do. 


As the name suggests, peptide injections are injected into the skin with small needles. "It is thought to help to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and overall skin texture," double-board certified dermatologist Marisa Garshick tells Glamour. "Peptides function as messenger molecules, communicating with cells to trigger the production of more collagen and elastin, which may help to firm and tighten the skin once injected into the skin."

Consequently, peptides become a powerful arsenal in our battle against aging. While some peptides boost collagen production and increase hydration levels, others will help relax the muscles, which can help temporarily minimize the appearance of fine lines and soften wrinkles (via the Derm Review). Peptides may also reduce skin inflammation and redness and help even out our skin discoloration by fading dark spots. 


Different types of peptide injections

As noted by American Medical Wellness, there are several different types of peptide injections that you can choose from, depending on the areas you want to target. While peptide injections can be used for anti-aging, there are other types that can be injected in other areas of the body. For example, GAC peptides contain carnitine, glutamine, and arginine, which help send more blood to our body's skeletal muscles and enhance the fat-burning process. Similarly, CJC-1295 peptides are known to help our bodies during exercise by improving speed and strength and building stamina. Athletes may resort to MK-677 peptides to help with muscle build-up and endurance. 


But when it comes to anti-aging peptide injections, The Renaissance Clinic notes that the best ones to use are Sermorelin ("the most commonly used anti-aging peptide"), Ipamorelin, and GHRP-2/GHRP-6 anti-aging peptides. While each of these options is distinct from the others — and your board-certified physician will know best which path you should take — it seems that they all have one common factor: They all increase the production of human growth hormone, promoting anti-aging benefits. 

Are peptide injections effective?

In theory, peptides sound exceptionally promising — but do they really work? Some studies point to yes. According to Growth Hormone in Aging, a reduction in the growth hormone in older individuals is responsible for the aging effects observed. "After the third decade of life, there is a progressive decline of GH [growth hormone] secretion by approximately 15% for every decade of adult life," the study reads. Reversing the deficiency by artificial "GH replacement" (like peptide injections!) may be able to help combat the aging effects observed.


A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences suggests that exogenous bioactive peptides have a "potential therapeutic role in delaying aging." Similarly, a research study published in the Journal of Functional Foods suggests that "bioactive peptides can improve skin health."

While there is evidence that peptide injections do have anti-aging benefits, there are contradictory reports stating otherwise, indicating that more research may still be needed in order to make a conclusive statement. For example, the Mayo Clinic specialists warn that "there's little evidence to suggest HGH can help otherwise healthy adults regain youth and vitality." 

Peptide injection benefits that go beyond the skin

When it comes to anti-aging, peptide injections seem to be the new fountain of youth. Consequently, anyone showing the initial signs of aging can be a good candidate for peptide injections. "Peptide injections are good for anyone looking to improve their skin overall, but peptide injections have also been tried to address fatigue, muscle tone, anxiety, depression, and bone density," Dr. Marisa Garshick tells Glamour.


According to the Anti-Aging Wellness Center, peptide injections are suitable for anyone looking to tackle any one of these areas in their lives, such as shedding excess body weight, increasing endurance during exercise and sexual activities, uplifting mood, and reducing symptoms of emotional stress and anxiety. Peptides can, therefore, be used to holistically improve one's health and well-being, as they help us mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Moreover, HealthNews suggests that peptides can also assist with wound healing by "acting as antioxidants," which help reduce inflammation, thus encouraging the repair of damaged dermal and epidermal layers. Additionally, the Burick Center for Health and Wellness says that peptides may be used in the battle against autoimmune disorders. For example, peptides such as thymosin alpha-1 and alpha-MSH "have been shown to regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation," which makes them "a potential treatment option for autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis."


How long does it take to see results?

Peptide injection treatment is not a one-off treatment and may require several repetitions before any noticeable results. Moreover, several factors come into play when it comes to determining the frequency and length of treatment, including the sub-category of peptide injection administered and the exact nature of your skin concern. As Xan Medical Clinic states, "The frequency of peptide injections will also depend on the specific peptide chosen."


Like with different peptide treatments, the time it takes to see results differs from one person to the next. According to Priority You MD, hereditary factors and life conditions influence how quickly we notice benefits. However, when it comes to anti-aging effects, it is typical to observe more youthful-looking skin during the second month of peptide injection treatment (again, though, depending on how often you get the treatment done).

Likewise, as stated by the Anti-Aging Wellness Center, when one uses peptide injections that stimulate growth hormone production (such as those utilized in anti-aging injections), the noticeable transformation in our skin's appearance typically peaks after three to six months of therapy. It's best to consult with your practitioner to discuss your options — from there, they can give you a solid timeline of when you can expect to see results. 


Side effects of peptide treatments (and are they safe for everyone?)

Peptide injections are typically safe. However, they may result in some side effects. For example, HealthNews indicates that certain users have reported experiencing allergic reactions while others feel mild discomfort where the needle was injected. Nevertheless, as the Anti-Aging Wellness Center notes, the chances of encountering significant adverse reactions are slim since "peptide injections are similar to the peptides found naturally in the human body and in the food we eat." 


Even though side effects may eventually reside, peptide injection therapy is not suitable for everyone. For instance, HealthNews advises against the use of peptide injections by pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you have any concerns about allergies or are currently taking medications, you need to consult with your physician to ensure that there is no interaction or counter-interaction between the two.

Similarly, if you have any other underlying medical conditions, you need to thoroughly discuss them with your doctor. For example, the Mayo Clinic warns against the injection of the peptide Sermorelin (used in anti-aging peptide treatments) if you have an underactive thyroid since the condition "can interfere with the effects of Sermorelin."


How much do peptide injections cost?

No matter how promising peptide injections may seem, one must also take into consideration the price factor before reaching a final decision on whether to hop on board the peptide injection bandwagon. However, this may not be so easy to assess since the cost of the treatment can vary depending on the type of injection and how often it's applied. The price may range from several hundred dollars to several thousand depending on the type of peptide injection therapy and where one decides to have it done. 


For example, the monthly cost for Sermorelin treatment (one of the most well-known anti-aging peptides) is between $200 and $400 (via Concierge MD). Consequently, it is important to research whether your health insurance policy covers the cost of peptide injection treatments. Given the high cost of these treatments, some people may opt for a cheaper DIY option — however, doing it without medical supervision means less regulation and may entail risks.

Where to get peptide injections

Knowing the benefits of peptide injections is half the battle — now it's time to research where you should get them. Dr. Brendan Camp, a double board-certified dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, advises to "Look for providers, such as board-certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons, with expertise in cosmetic treatments and experience treating people with peptide injections," (via Glamour). Dr. Marisa Garshick further adds that "Peptide injections should be administered with a board-certified physician in a trusted facility to ensure they are being performed correctly and under proper conditions."


The decision to undergo peptide injections should be made after careful evaluation of individual health conditions and desired outcomes after thorough discussions with qualified practitioners. The stunning looks of celebrities embracing peptide treatments — such as Jennifer Aniston — are a testament to the fact that in the realm of skincare, peptide injections are the new revolutionizing breakthrough. Researching the best providers in your area to ensure you get proper administration and a treatment plan that's catered to your own individual needs and skin goals will ensure the best possible outcome.