The Science behind Copper Peptides from Healthline

Medically reviewed by Sara Perkins, MD — Written by Kristeen Cherney on October 26, 2020

Copper peptides are among the most talked about beauty trends right now.

Peptides are naturally occurring amino acids that can help produce collagen and elastin, two types of connective tissues responsible for smooth and firm skin.

It’s natural to gradually lose collagen and elastin with age, though certain lifestyle habits — such as smoking and excessive sun exposure — can increase the rate of loss.

Peptides are known in the scientific community as glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine (GHK), which can easily bind with copper enzymes. Since the symbol for copper on the periodic table of elements is Cu, this combination is called GHK-Cu.

Once you lose collagen and elastin, it’s possible that certain skin care products may help add them back into your skin. This is where peptides can help.

Formally called polypeptides, they may specifically stimulate more collagen production in your skin, which may address concerns like:

The connective tissue growth caused by copper peptides may also benefit your hair by reducing breakage and promoting overall growth.

Still, it’s not currently possible for any beauty product to fully restore collagen and other connective tissues once they’re lost.

Read on to learn more about the purported benefits of copper peptides for your hair and skin, plus what the science says.

The ingredients in copper peptides may promote the overall health of your hair in the following ways.

Increased blood flow

Copper peptides are thought by some to help increase blood circulation in your skin, according to a 2018 research reviewTrusted Source. Copper itself has been reported as being able to help maintain the tissues found in blood vessels.

Thus, copper peptides may possibly stimulate hair follicles so they receive adequate oxygen and nutrients to produce new hair growth.

Maintains hair color

Copper is one of the micronutrients needed to produce melanin. This is a compound that’s responsible for the color your hair, as well as your eye and skin color.

Other possible benefits

If you experience issues with hair loss, it could mean that your hair growth cycle has been shortened. This may be due to issues with hair follicles, hormones, and more.

One possible benefit of copper peptides, according to an older 2007 studyTrusted Source performed in vitro, is the ability to extend this growth cycle — meaning, more time before your hair falls out.

In addition to promoting new hair growth, copper peptides may potentially thicken existing strands. It’s thought that enlarged hair follicles may produce this effect. However, more human studies are needed to determine whether copper peptides can actually provide such benefits.

The benefits of copper peptides in skin care have been documented.

Copper peptides have the ability to work below the epidermis, or outer layer of skin. This is why peptides are able to help generate elastin in collagen deep within skin tissues.

Overall, copper has been studiedTrusted Source in terms of anti-aging effects on the skin. Here are some of the most promising benefits of copper peptides in skin care.

Reduced appearance of wrinkles

Studies of copper peptides have shown that they can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen proteins, according to a 2015 research reviewTrusted Source.

Over time, collagen may help to “plump up” your skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Firmer skin

In addition to increased collagen production, copper peptides are also said to help boost elastin proteins, according to the same 2015 research reviewTrusted Source. This may help create firmer and smoother skin.

Evens skin tone

Copper peptides stand out from other types of peptides because of their ability to potentially repair your skin and even out your skin tone.

It’s thought that copper peptides may potentially remove damaged connective tissues from your skin while adding new ones at the same time. This may reduce the appearance of:

Antioxidant effects

Copper peptides may also have antioxidant effects on the skin, which may reduce inflammation and prevent further damage. GHK-Cu has also been reported to decrease the risk of infections.