Copper peptides, specifically GHK-Cu, are one of the rising stars in the beauty industry today. How exactly can we benefit from these compounds?
In this article:
- May Promote Smooth, Wrinkle-Free Skin
- May Help in Repairing and Preventing Sun-Damaged Skin
- May Help Retain Moisture in the Skin
- May Speed up Skin Healing
- May Promote Hair Growth
All About GHK-CU Copper Peptides
What Are Copper Peptides?
When copper and peptides form a clathrate or a multi-dimensional polygon, copper peptides are formed. Some of the most commonly used copper peptides include:
- (GHK) 2-Cu
- (AHK) 2-Cu
- GRF- Cu
Among these copper peptides, GHK-Cu or copper tripeptide is the most common. It is more popularly used in electrical equipment and coinage.
GHK-Cu has now made its way into the realm of beauty and cosmetics. Laboratories make copper-based products by mixing copper solutions with substances similar to protein powders.
Most of these formulations work to:
- promote wound healing
- activate immune cell attraction
- boost antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects
- stimulate collagen synthesis and regulate scar tissue formation
Let’s go through the benefits of copper peptides like GHK-Cu in more detail below.
1. May Promote Smooth, Wrinkle-Free Skin
The connective tissues of the body are made with collagen proteins—they’re the compounds that give these tissues their strength and shape.
Collagen lies in the deep layers of the dermis, providing a framework for the rest of the skin. Healthy levels lead to firm and strong skin.
Elastin, on the other hand, tag-teams with collagen to give the skin its elastic quality. It’s the reason why our skin can expand and contract for facial reactions without tearing.
As we age, our reserves of collagen and elastin deplete faster while the production becomes much slower. This translates to the formation of wrinkles and other visible signs of aging.
Thanks to the role of copper in collagen and elastin production, GHK-Cu peptide can help promote smooth and plump skin.
A 2015 placebo-controlled study found that consistent application of copper peptides through the use of skin cream can significantly improve skin quality. After a month of GHK-peptide use, 70% of the subjects showed an increase in skin collagen production.
The same study also concluded that topical use of copper-peptides may help encourage collagen and elastin production in the body for firmer and more elastic skin. The participants found an improvement in skin clarity and density and noticed a decrease in wrinkle depth and fine lines.
2. May Help in Repairing and Preventing Sun-Damaged Skin
The harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun can damage the skin. In fact, sun exposure is one of the leading cause of premature skin aging.
UV rays can damage the skin by increasing the free radicals present in the body. These become catalysts to oxidative stress which can manifest as:
- hyperpigmentation or sun spots
- deep wrinkles
- thin or crepey skin
- saggy skin
Enter copper peptides. They act as antioxidants fighting off or neutralizing free radicals to bring back the balance in the body and stop them from damaging skin cells.
Copper peptides do this by contributing to the activation and stimulation of superoxide dismutase (SOD), a powerful naturally-occurring antioxidant in the body.
Aside from fighting off free radicals, SOD can also utilize the biochemical energy from new tissues, like the constantly renewed outer layers of the skin, to keep the skin intact.
3. May Help Retain Moisture in the Skin
The skin loses its moisture-retention capabilities as we age. As a result, the skin may look thin and dry.
Copper-peptides can promote the production of hyaluronic acid, a compound that helps lock in moisture, leaving skin well-hydrated, smooth, plump, firm, and youthful. Conveniently, hyaluronic acid is also required in collagen repair, a compound we’ve already established to be important in having healthy skin.
Additionally, GHK-Cu can also stimulate the creation of glycosaminoglycans, complex sugar compounds that attract water.
4. May Speed up Skin Healing
While most copper-based skin products nowadays are marketed for fighting skin aging, original studies for these peptides were for skin tissue regeneration for scars or damages from medical conditions like acne and diabetic wounds.
A recent study also observed GHK-Cu’s abilities to accelerate anti-inflammatory activity and repair DNA damage. The study also explored and observed the antimicrobial effects of GHK-Cu nanoparticles.
As such, GHK-Cu may help in improving dark spots or scars caused by acne, pimples, or other wounds. This goes back to its ability to induce the production of essential components for healthy skin like collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans.
5. May Promote Hair Growth
Did you know that copper deficiency is a contributing factor in hair loss? This is due to copper’s role in fighting inflammation, an auto-immune reaction that can damage hair follicles.
Since the composition of our hair tissues is closely similar to that of the skin’s, copper-peptides are also used in shampoos and treatments meant to fight hair loss.
A 1993 Journal of Investigative Dermatology study showed copper peptide’s contribution to the enlargement of hair follicles. Another study published in the Archives of Pharmacal Research back in 2007 also showed GHK-Cu’s positive effect on hair growth.
We can attribute this benefit to the following:
- GHK-Cu is angiogenic. It can improve blood circulation at a capillary level—an important factor in hair growth since each follicle gets blood and oxygen from a single capillary.
- In conditions like alopecia, GHK-Cu proved to be a 5-alpha-reductase inhibitor. It can prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a compound that severely damages hair follicles.
- It can also stimulate the production of an inhibitor protein that prevents follicles from gradually becoming smaller.
Check out this video from Juvenate Skincare Ltd for a few more information about copper peptides:
Peptides, being smaller than proteins, can easily penetrate the cells of the skin. This nature, like in many beauty peptides such as GHK-Cu, can speed up the emergence of their impressive benefits.
For a more enhanced skincare regimen, take Vitamin C or Vitamin D supplements.
Have you used copper peptide products for skin care and hair loss? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
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