Life Extension Magazine®

Skin cell structure being supported by peptides for collagen loss

Topical Collagen Helps Restore Youthful Skin

A topical formula with a trio of peptides has been shown to synthesize all major collagen types to revitalize aging skin.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. April Parks, MD, MS, in August 2023. Written by: Robert Goldfaden and Gary Goldfaden, MD.

Replenishing depleted collagen levels is one of the first steps to revitalize aging skin.

Many commercial topical creams target type I collagen.

Overlooked is the role of other collagen types in rebuilding the skin’s scaffolding.

A topical formula featuring three peptides has been shown to synthesize all major collagen types in the dermis and dermo-epidermal junction.

By providing total collagen support, these peptides can visibly improve skin firmness and smoothness, while producing long-lasting anti-wrinkle effects.

Collagen: The Foundation of Youthful Skin

Structure of collagen fiber

Collagen is the main protein of connective tissues in humans and accounts for 70%-80% of the skin’s dry weight.1 It’s vital for skin cohesion, firmness, and resilience.2,3

Skin has five major collagen types that can be divided into two classes:

  1. Fibrillar collagens (type I and III) reside in the dermis where they form well-organized, rope-like fibers that supply robust tensile strength and resistance to stretching and tearing.4 In fact, type I collagen is stronger than steel on a gram-for-gram basis.5
  2. Non-fibrillar collagens (type IV, VII, and XVII) reside in the dermo-epidermal junction where they self-assemble a scaffolding network that anchors the dermis to the epidermis above it.6-9 This provides structural integrity and mechanical stability to the skin.

In essence, this collagen team organizes the underlying architecture of the skin to keep it firm, smooth, and youthful.

What Causes Collagen Loss?

Aging decreases the synthesis of collagen fibers in the dermis, and causes existing collagen fibers to become disorganized, stiff, and fragmented.10,11

Decreased production of non-fibrillar collagens also contributes to skin aging.12-15

The unfavorable effects of aging on skin tissue are exacerbated by chronic exposure to sunlight and air pollution.

These environmental factors generate inflammation and oxidative stress that trigger activation of collagen-destroying enzymes known as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).16-19

The end results are wrinkles, fine lines, dryness, and saggy skin.

Many topical products focus only on type I collagen without recognizing the significance of other collagen types in restoring youthful skin integrity and function.

That is why scientists developed three unique peptides that renew all major collagen types to rejuvenate aged and damaged skin.

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5

Peptides are compounds composed of amino acids, which form the building blocks of proteins in our skin, including collagen.20

A group of peptides has been shown to activate growth factors that promote youthful collagen synthesis.20,21

An in-vitro study found that one of these growth peptides called palmitoyl tripeptide-5, along with another peptide:22

  • Increased type I collagen by 110%
  • Increased type III collagen by 40%
  • Increased type IV collagen by 190%
  • Increased type VII collagen by 60%
  • Increased type XVII collagen by 120%

These findings have translated into impressive real-world benefits.

In a clinical study, topical application of palmitoyl tripeptide-5, twice daily for two months, increased skin firmness by 10.8% compared to a placebo.22

Researchers investigated the efficacy of palmitoyl tripeptide-5 in diminishing fine lines and wrinkles.

Participants who applied a topical formulation with palmitoyl tripeptide-5 experienced a reduction in fine lines by 20% and in deep wrinkles by approximately 28% within minutes of initial application. These parameters further improved to about 38% and 50%, respectively, after three months.21

Researchers concluded that this topical treatment containing palmitoyl tripeptide-5 was “well tolerated and provided both immediate and long-term improvements in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”20

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7

During the aging process, specialized cells known as fibroblasts become less active and produce lower levels of collagen than in youth.23

Two peptides—palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7—have been shown to breathe new life into aging fibroblasts.

These peptides were shown to increase production of collagen types I, IV, VII, and XVII.24

By stimulating dermal regeneration and strengthening the dermo-epidermal junction, these peptides can drop years off the outer appearance of skin.

This was demonstrated in a clinical study involving 23 females between the ages of 42 to 67 who topically applied a combination of these peptides to one half of the face and a placebo to the opposite side.24

By day 60, researchers observed the following improvements:24

  • 39.4% decrease in area occupied by deep wrinkles
  • 32.9% decrease in wrinkle density
  • 19.9% decrease in main wrinkle depth
  • 23.3% decrease in main wrinkle volume
  • 16.0% decrease in roughness
  • 16.2% decrease in complexity

An assessment of skin tone and elasticity showed improvements of 15.5% and 5.5%, respectively, during the same time frame.24

woman holding her face


Collagen Peptides Restore Youthful Skin

  • Collagen is essential for skin firmness, cohesion, and resilience.
  • Fibrillar collagens (Type I and III) form rope-like fibers in the dermis that supply high-tensile strength, whereas non- fibrillar collagens (Type IV, VII, and XVII) self-assemble a scaffolding network in the dermo-epidermal junction that tightly connects the dermis to the epidermis above it.
  • Aging and chronic exposure to external factors like sunlight and air pollution reduce the synthesis of collagen and increase its degradation to set the foundation for wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin.
  • Many topical products only target type I collagen and overlook the significant impact of other major collagen types in rebuilding the skin’s scaffolding.
  • A new topical formula has been developed with a trio of unique peptides—palmitoyl tripeptide-5, palmitoyl tripeptide-1, and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7—shown to regenerate all major collagen types in the dermis and dermo-epidermal junction.
  • Controlled human studies show that these peptides provide total collagen care to reconstruct the dermis and reinforce the dermo-epidermal junction, which improves firmness, smoothness, and erases wrinkles to restore a youthful appearance.


With advancing age, your skin progressively loses collagen, and this is compounded by increased exposure to external damaging factors.

Depletion of collagen weakens the skin’s underlying support structure, contributing to wrinkles, sagging, and creping.

A novel, topical formula has been developed with three unique peptides—palmitoyl tripeptide-5, palmitoyl tripeptide-1, and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7—shown to replenish all the major collagen types in the dermis and dermo-epidermal junction.

By providing total collagen care, these peptides help correct structural changes in aging skin to boost firmness and smoothness, erase wrinkles, and restore a youthful appearance.

Gary Goldfaden, MD, is a clinical dermatologist and lifetime member of the American Academy of Dermatology. He is the founder of Academy Dermatology in Hollywood, FL, and Cosmesis Skin Care. Dr. Goldfaden is a member of the Life Extension® Medical Advisory Board. All Cosmesis products are available online.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.


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