The endless amount of so-called revolutionary ingredients found in skincare formulas makes it seemingly impossible to understand what they all do exactly and their various benefits. Call us old souls, but there’s something to be said about things that have been around for a while and Copper Peptides fit that bill quite nicely. For over 40 years these peptides have been a key component in rejuvenating skincare formulas and anything that’s been around that long is worth a bit of exploration.
WHAT ARE COPPER PEPTIDES?
Remember the periodic table that you had to memorize back in the day? Who knew that the Cu on that table might one day become an aspect of your skincare routine? That’s right! Cu is the elemental name for Copper – a naturally occurring mineral in our tissue, blood plasma and saliva, and a key ingredient used in rejuvenating skincare products since the seventies. When it’s made in a laboratory setting, Copper is combined with three Amino Acids to create a Copper Peptide. This Peptide is generally found in 1% concentrations in serums and creams.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF COPPER PEPTIDES FOR THE SKIN?
Unfortunately for bell bottoms, things have certainly changed since the Disco era. On the plus side, we now know more about the variety of benefits that Copper Peptides offer to the skin:
There is growing research that supports the idea that increased inflammation exacerbates the visible signs of aging like fines lines and wrinkles. Copper peptides not only suppress the kind of Cytokines (a type of protein) that damage skin but they are also well known for reducing inflammation in general.
Studies indicate that Copper Peptides are linked to boosting the production of collagen as well as cell regeneration resulting in skin that not only looks younger but also feels firmer. Copper Peptides also have cell-communicating properties meaning they signal through the surface of the skin telling the different parts how to interact better. This not only keeps your body in a constant state of repair, reducing damaged collagen and tissue but also allows for healthy regrowth.
Copper peptides promote the natural production of Glycosaminoglycans like Hyaluronic Acid – substances found in your body’s connective tissue and fluids that, like all things youthful, decrease as we age. Healthy levels of Glycosaminoglycans are associated with helping the skin tissue remain hydrated and therefore plump and supple.
FREE RADICAL DAMAGE
One of the more recent finds about Copper Peptides is that they are actually Antioxidants, known to counteract the oxidizing effects of free radicals. Your skin is constantly exposed to these kinds of environmental particles and the oxidation that they cause damage your cells and results in premature aging to your skin. By neutralizing free radicals damage, Copper Peptides are a preventative treatment that helps to target concerns like fine lines and wrinkles.
One of the things we have known since their early days is that Copper Peptides have wound-healing properties. In terms of your skin, this makes for a great treatment for combatting concerns inclusive of acne scars, blemishes, and other marks.
WHICH COPPER PEPTIDES ARE BEST?
Much like Vitamin A (Retinol), both of the below forms of copper peptides are considered to have powerful regenerative abilities for the skin so it’s important to ease into integrating them into your skincare regimen.
COPPER TRI-PEPTIDE 1 (GHK-CU)
GHK-Cu is one of the more common types of Copper Peptide you’ll find in skincare products. It’s created with the naturally occurring form of Copper and three Amino Acids (making it a tripeptide) and it activates wound healing, collagen production as well as anti-inflammatory responses. This form of Copper Peptide is also known for soothing irritation and firming skin.
COPPER LYSINATE PROLINATE
Some research indicates that this form of copper increases the production of collagen even better than Vitamin C because its molecules are smaller than GHK-Cu, they also penetrate the skin to a greater degree.
Skin Biology CP Serum $22
Skin Biology’s CP Serum was created by famed biochemist Dr. Loren Pickart and has developed a cult following among skincare enthusiasts. The formula combines Copper Peptide with the powerful antioxidant ubiquinone (CoQ-10) as well as nourishing Vitamin E in order to maximize its regeneration abilities. If your skin is ready for something a little more advanced, make sure to check out the brand’s Super CP Serum ($25).
Neova Night Therapy $85
Although not a serum this overnight moisturizer contains Copper Peptide in the form of GHK-Cu to boost collagen and elastin production as well as fight free radicals. The antioxidant effects of GHK-Cu are enhanced by the additions of Vitamin E and Green Tea Extract to ensure your skin is safe from environmental damage while Hyaluronic Acid boosts hydration.
Niod Copper Amino Isolate Serum $90
A little on the pricey side, Niod’s serum uses a powerful concentration (5%) of Copper Tripeptide to ensure your skin is getting the maximum benefits it should against visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. This unique 2-part formula comes with a powder to maintain optimal freshness and a liquid activator.
NCN Pro Skincare GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Formula 1 $73
NCN’s popular Copper Peptide formula combines Copper Peptide with multiple skin-beneficial ingredients inclusive of Hyaluronic Acid and plant-based antioxidants from the likes of the moisturizing Sea Kelp as well as the amino-acid rich Gota Kula (Centella Asiatica). The cruelty-free moisturizer is also free of known skin irritants like dyes, fragrances, and parabens.
DO COPPER PEPTIDES ACTUALLY WORK?
So here comes the truth bomb. Can Copper Peptides completely get rid of wrinkles? Theoretically speaking, it is possible that they can. But realistically, it’s more likely to help improve skin concerns.
Many scientists believe that Copper Peptides have the most impact when left on the surface of the skin for a prolonged period of time. Although the jury is still out in terms of exactly how much of affect Copper Peptides have on your skin, we do know that they are a wound healer and also hold reparative properties.
If you’re interested in learning about the benefits of Matrixyl another type of peptide check out our in-depth guide.
ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS TO USING COPPER PEPTIDES?
Using metal on your skin sounds a bit extreme, right? Although when it’s converted to an organic form by binding to Amino Acids, it can be applied to your skin without any risk. The one thing you may have to watch out for is combining it with Vitamin C as there is evidence to suggest that they negatively interact.
Although Copper Peptides may not be an age-old secret they have still been used as a part of the formulas of rejuvenating potions for a few decades now. As research develops, we learn more about how these peptides affect skin and help improve the visible signs of aging. Hopefully, in the near future, we’ll have a confirmation on just how beneficial they are.