The key difference between ceramides and peptides is that ceramide is a nourishing component in skin that results in a soft and supple skin, whereas peptide is a cell signaling substance that is rich in amino acids.
Ceramides and peptides are chemical substances that are useful in the manufacture of skincare products. A blend of peptides, ceramides and antioxidants in the same formula used for skincare products can protect the skin, smooth the texture of the skin and even the skin tone by removing fine lines and wrinkles.
What are Ceramides?
Ceramides are chemical compounds that come from a family of waxy lipid molecules. This type of chemical substance occurs in high concentrations in the cell membrane (of the eukaryotic cells) because these substances tend to form lipids that make up the sphingomyelin (one of the major lipids in the cell membrane). Therefore, ceramides can take part in many different cellular signaling processes, including the regulation of differentiation, proliferation and programmed cell death of the cells.
There are three major ways of producing ceramides. The first way is the sphingomyelinase pathway, which uses an enzyme in order to break down sphingomyelin in cell membranes. The second pathway is the “de novo” pathway, which includes the creation of ceramides from less complicated molecules. In the third pathway of ceramide generation, known as the salvage pathway, the sphingolipids break down into sphingosine. The sphingosine is then reused by the reacylation process in order to form ceramide.
We can observe that ceramides are the main components in the stratum corneum of the epidermis layer ( of the human skin). Ceramides can create a water-impermeable and protective organ together with cholesterol and saturated fatty acids. This barrier organ can prevent excessive water loss from our body. It can also prevent the entering of microorganisms into the body. In our skin, ceramide IV is the most commonly found chemical species.
We can often find ceramides as ingredients in some topical skin medications. These skin medications can treat skin conditions such as eczema. In addition, these compounds are useful in cosmetic products, including some soap, shampoo, skin creams, and sunscreen. Ceramides can treat some types of cancers as well.
What are Peptides?
We can define a peptide as a short chain of amino acids. In this peptide formation, the amino acids link with each other via peptide linkages (bonds). The amino acids are therefore named “monomers”. Further, the peptide bonds resemble amide bonds. The peptide bond is formed when the carboxyl group of an amino acid reacts with an amine group of another amino acid. It is a type of condensation reaction in which a water molecule releases when this bond forms. Moreover, it is a covalent chemical bond.
There are several names we use along with peptides; dipeptides (contain two amino acids bonded to each other via a single peptide bond), tripeptides (contains three amino acids), etc. In addition to that, polypeptides are long, continuous peptide chains; they are not branched chains; instead, these are polymers.
We can distinguish a peptide from a protein according to its size. Approximately, if the number of amino acids in the peptide is 50 or above, we call it a protein. However, it is not an absolute parameter to distinguish them. For example, we consider small proteins such as insulin as peptides more than as a protein.
Moreover, we name the amino acids that incorporate in peptides as “residues”. This is because of the release of either an H+ ion (from amine end) or an OH- ion (from the carboxyl end) during the formation of each peptide bond. Sometimes, they release both ions together as a water molecule. Except for cyclic peptides, all other peptides have an N terminal (amine end) and a C terminal (carboxyl end).
What is the Difference Between Ceramides and Peptides?
Ceramides are chemical compounds that come from a family of waxy lipid molecules. We can define a peptide as a short chain of amino acids. The key difference between ceramides and peptides is that ceramide is a nourishing component in skin that results in soft and supple skin, whereas peptide is a cell signaling substance that is rich in amino acids.
The following table tabulates the differences between ceramides and peptides in detail.
Summary – Ceramides vs Peptides
Ceramides are chemical compounds that come from a family of waxy lipid molecules. We can define a peptide as a short chain of amino acids. The key difference between ceramides and peptides is that ceramide is a nourishing component in skin that results in a soft and supple skin, whereas peptide is a cell signaling substance that is rich in amino acids.
1. “What Is Phytoceramides & What Are the Benefits.” ENutrition, 25 Jan. 2020.
1. “Ceramid” By NEUROtiker – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia