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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 review. 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 study 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 studied 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 review.

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 review. 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.

Copper peptides are available in serums and facial moisturizers. It’s not advisable to use peptide-containing cleansers, however, because any effects will wash away after use.

Copper peptides serum

Copper peptides are most prominent in serum form.

To use it for hair growth, apply several drops of the serum to your scalp. Gently massage it in with your fingertips. Do not rinse it off.

For skin concerns, incorporate your copper peptides serum into your skin care routine in the following order:

  1. cleanser
  2. toner
  3. copper peptides serum
  4. sunscreen (in the morning)
  5. cream or moisturizing lotion (in the morning or in the afternoon or evening)

Facial moisturizer

Some facial moisturizers also contain copper peptides. For best results, choose a cream for dry skin and a lotion for typical to oily skin. Apply twice daily, morning and night, using gentle upward strokes.

The benefits of copper peptides have been studied, though their effects on skin have more scientific backing than their effects on hair care.

Overall, more human clinical trials need to be conducted to guarantee the efficacy of copper peptides.

Plus, certain ingredients found in other skin care products could reduce the overall effect of copper peptides. You should avoid using copper peptides at the same time as the following ingredients:

Copper peptides in beauty products generally don’t pose major risks.

However, there may be some side effects associated with peptide-containing products. As a rule of thumb, it’s important to test out any new skin care product before widespread use on your face or scalp.

To perform a patch test, apply a small amount of the product to the inside of your elbow and wait 24 hours. Stop using the product if any of the following signs of an allergic reaction develop:

  • redness
  • hives
  • itchiness
  • burns

Copper toxicity is another possible risk, but this is unlikely if you’re using over-the-counter skin care products. This is because the product will likely contain a combination of other ingredients alongside the copper peptides.

Read ingredient labels carefully. While a bottle might say it contains copper peptides, these ingredients may not necessarily be at the top of the ingredient list. Typically, the ingredients listed first are the primary ones in the product, while ingredients listed later are found in smaller amounts.

And to tell whether the product truly contains copper peptides, look for key phrases such as “copper tripeptide-1” or “GHK-Cu.”

Products that contain copper peptides are widely available at drugstores and beauty shops.

You can also shop for products with copper peptides online.

Copper peptides have the ability to penetrate beneath the epidermis on your face and scalp, potentially helping to build collagen and elastin.

Other anti-aging effects are possible, too, including reduced inflammation and improved circulation.

Still, more research is needed to determine whether copper peptides are guaranteed to promote hair growth and youthful skin.

Talk with a dermatologist if you have specific hair or skin concerns and are interested in adding copper peptides to your routine.