It's like retinol but without the side effects.
As skin-care fiends, we remain loyal to scouting the best, most effective products that actually yield results. Sometimes we're successful and discover a product so good it earns a spot in our routines—other times, we're left wanting more and look to cosmetic enhancements to get the job done. If you feel like you're at a crossroads with your anti-aging routine and are therefore considering the needle, we have two words for you: copper peptides. According to experts, copper peptides are the "it" ingredient of the industry, and their use in skin-care products has skyrocketed as researchers discovered their collagen-boosting potential.
To learn more about copper peptides, their benefits, and how to use them properly, we tapped two board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Jessie Cheung and Dr. Geeta Yadav. Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about the ingredient that's commonly referred to as a face-lift in a bottle.
What Are Copper Peptides in Skin Care?
Copper peptides are a decades-backed ingredient that have been primarily used in wound-healing products. Recently, though, they've been studied for their ability to improve the signs of aging, and the results are so promising that their efficacy has been compared to the youth-inducing results of Botox. Says Dr. Yadav, "Copper peptides are a type of tri-peptide complex made up of amino acids. They're one of the most evidence-based peptides in skin care and effectively stimulate collagen and elastin production as well as increase cell turnover."
But what exactly sets copper peptides apart from other peptides in skin care? According to Dr. Yadav, their differentiating factor is that they're also anti-inflammatory, playing an essential role in skin growth and wound healing. "Some studies have shown that especially after medical or aesthetic treatments that cause irritation to the skin (think chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser treatments), copper peptides can reduce skin inflammation and make those treatments easier to tolerate," says Dr. Yadav.
Benefits of Copper Peptides in Skin Care
Besides the fact that they can speed up wound healing, copper peptides come with a slew of skin-loving benefits. For one, they may help increase antioxidant activity and protect the skin from free-radical damage, which can lead to further signs of aging and cellular damage. This is especially important for those who spend a lot of time in the sun, and while not a replacement for SPF (please use it rain or shine), it can help offer some repair against the damaging effects of the elements.
Dr. Yadav explains that the amino acids found in copper peptides are naturally present in our bodies, but their levels decrease as we age, often leaving us with teeny- tiny lines and an overall dull, lackluster complexion. "Copper peptides play an important role in rapidly producing both collagen and elastin fibers, the elements of the skin that give it its elasticity, firmness, and the ability to smooth out the signs of aging," she says. But besides this, the most fascinating characteristic of copper peptides is that they can remove old, damaged collagen in the skin, which allows for the regeneration of new, healthy tissue, says Dr. Cheung.
Who Should Use Copper Peptides?
Dr. Cheung says that copper peptides are for anyone looking to improve their skin density and firmness, repair sun damage, or reduce the look of fine lines, pores, and sagging. That being said, copper can oxidize vitamin C, so you should avoid applying products that include both at the same time. Dr. Yadav adds that using copper peptides in conjunction with any retinoids or chemical exfoliants can cause irritation, so steer clear, especially if you have sensitive skin.
You'll find copper peptides in virtually all types of skin-care products, including serums, eye creams, face masks, and even lip balms. And while they're not usually listed as a solo ingredient, they can typically be found on an ingredient label listed as GHK-Cu, copper lysinate, copper prolinate, copper gluconate, copper amino, or copper tripeptide, says Dr. Cheung.
Shop Our Picks:
Puffy eyes won't stand a chance against these rejuvenating eye masks from Sundree. Dr. Cheung says that thanks to a unique blend of copper peptides, CBD, and white tea extract, they instantly refresh tired, puffy eyes as well as decrease inflammation.
If dewy skin is on the agenda, make this toning mist from Ghost Democracy the first thing you apply to your skin pre-serums or moisturizers. Made with blue copper peptides (as well as six other peptides), blue-green algae extract, and niacinamide, skin is left looking bright, firm, and smooth.
From the science-backed skin-care brand that's now available in the U.S. comes this concentrated peptide serum that nixes signs of aging. Whether you're looking to tackle fine lines around your laugh lines or newly formed wrinkles on your forehead, this 30 percent multi-peptide complex (which includes copper) will help your skin look glowy, tight, and youthful.
Kick the telltale signs of aging to the curb with this copper-peptide-infused serum. Its lightweight formula is suitable for all skin types—from oily to dry—and boasts an under-$30 price tag.
Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@officialmedik8
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