To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Massage Therapy’s Effect On Scars and Stretch Marks,” by Pete Whitridge, in the March 2012 issue. Article summary: Working with scars and stretch marks offers an opportunity to explore the deepest aspects of the human condition. Instead of shying away from a potentially emotional topic, massage therapists can offer a safe space to explore the past as a way to create more clarity in the present. Massage therapy is based on safe touch and trust. Helping clients inhabit their bodies more fully and with more awareness is one of our goals as therapists.

by Kelly Forysthe

Many people generally know what peptides are, but can you explain this to clients in terms they can understand? Peptides are chains of two or more amino acids. Naturally occurring in the body and vital to everyday cellular processes, it is the order of the amino acid chain that creates different results or responses in the skin.

Peptides can target a specific skin concern like loss of elasticity or firmness that results from aging and sun damage. They can also help with the unevenness of skin tone that can appear as darkened areas or rough patches of skin.

Peptides that help to build collagen or restore elasticity to skin can also help reduce the appearance of stretch marks or scars. It is important to look at the color of the scars and stretch marks and inform the client that red or purple stretch marks can be lightened and the ridges that appear from stretch marks can be reduced with products using specific peptides. Older, silver stretch marks and scars can also benefit from products with peptides.

During a massage, products with peptides can be used in treatments in a variety of ways. Peptide creams can be incorporated into the treatment while massaging areas of concern and applied as a booster. They can also be used as an after-treatment product to help enhance areas that were massaged artfully for reduction of the appearance of stretch marks or scars.

Whether the client is looking for firmer skin or lightening darker areas of hyperpigmentation, peptides can provide that initial surge of interest for the client while in the treatment room. Peptides will not show their results immediately, but over time stretch marks and scars can lighten and start to smooth when using products with specific peptides.

Knowing what peptides are and how they work is key to answering questions your clients will have about products that contain them and if those products will work for them. Building credibility with your client will only help your business grow in returns and referrals.

Kelly R. Forsythe is the associate director of marketing at Apothederm Skin Care (, a product line featuring patented SmartPeptide technology. She has spent the last 10 years in skin care developing marketing programs and product development of skin care formulations with peptides.