Collagen is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Some amino acids are produced by the body, while others need to be introduced through the foods you eat. Peptides are made up of amino acids too, but in a special way.
Let's back up a second and take a look at the nature of amino acids. An amino acid is said to be "essential" when it can't be produced by the body and needs to be introduced through the diet. Animal products are considered "complete" proteins because they contain all of the essential amino acids the body can't produce on its own. Amino acids play a big role in maintaining whole body health and youthful skin.
It turns out they're so important that the body uses the appearance of different types of amino acid combinations to help it diagnose where and when it may need to perform regular collagen-related maintenance chores. Here's how it works: When collagen starts to break down in the body, its long chains of amino acids turn into shorter chains of substances called peptides. The body identifies the presence of peptides a little like the way you realize you need to buy milk. You think you have milk in the fridge, then one day you take a sniff and realize what you have has turned and you need to buy more. The body recognizes the presence of peptides, realizes there's been a loss of collagen and starts to make more collagen to compensate.
Skin care products that contain peptides are really good at tricking the body into producing new collagen on demand. It's a pretty slick way to alert the body's maintenance and repair system that it needs to put in a little overtime. Peptide-enhanced products can help eliminate fine lines, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and increase the skin's elasticity.