Your Complete Guide to Copper Peptides for Skin

Your Complete Guide to Copper Peptides for Skin

In the world of skincare, it can seem like there are always mainstream, popular ingredients. Hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and even snail mucin have all made headlines for how well they can help your skin stay hydrated, improve your skin tone, and visibly minimize the signs of aging. 

“Copper peptides can yield results, but they might not be what’s best for your skin.”

  • Shani Darden, esthetician

The latest in the lineup of skin care products to make waves are copper peptides. If you’re already familiar with peptides, you’ve got a head start. I’ll explain what they are and how they work so you can understand whether they’re a good fit for you. 

What Are Peptides? 

Sometimes, we end up using products with trendy ingredients without really understanding why. Peptides may seem like a trend, but they actually can leave lasting effects. When it comes to understanding peptides, it’s important to understand that the skin’s two major structural components, collagen and elastin, are proteins. These are what give your skin its firmness, fullness, and elasticity. 

Over time, both collagen production and elastin production slow down. In fact, by age 20, you start making one percent less collagen per year. Do the math, and you’ll understand why your skin starts to sag, look thinner, and develop fine lines and wrinkles. 

How Do Peptides Work?

The proteins in your skin are made up of amino acids, and peptides are essentially strings of amino acids. Because they’re made up of what your skin needs to build collagen and elastin, peptides can help support these proteins and encourage skin health.

Some of the benefits of peptides include:

  • Reducing the appearance of aging. Peptides can help aging skin look youthful for longer by helping it appear plump, firm, and resilient and working to fade the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 
  • Minimizing the appearance of oxidative stress. Peptides can help increase antioxidant levels in the skin and support hydration. 
  • Penetrating deeper into the skin. Peptides are small molecules able to penetrate the skin, reaching deeper layers to help invigorate the skin and encourage rejuvenation. 

What Are Copper Peptides?

Copper peptides occur naturally in the skin during times of skin repair and restoration. The copper peptide molecule we find in the skin is called GHK-Cu. It can also be created synthetically or derived from animal or plant sources. 

The big draw with natural copper peptides is that they show up when skin needs renewal and restoration. Specifically, our bodies’ copper peptides can influence the activity of dermal fibroblasts, which are skin cells responsible for creating new tissue. 

That’s not all that copper peptides do, however. They can also support antioxidants, helping defend the skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Your skin creates free radicals when exposed to stressors like pollution, cigarette smoke, and UV light. This can cause the appearance of age spots that lead to an uneven skin tone. 

Lastly, one of the most important benefits of copper peptide is that it has cleansing properties. This may help blemish-prone skin experience fewer breakouts by helping clear bacteria from the surface of the skin, and it can also help support the skin’s natural wound-healing processes.

How To Use Copper Peptides

It’s only recommended that you use copper peptides twice daily—and never in combination with active ingredients. My recommendation would be to stick to one copper peptide product, like a serum or moisturizer, and use it twice daily or less if your skin is sensitive.

While topical copper peptides are well-researched and display little to no side effects, there’s always the chance your skin might not like them. You should always try a patch test when starting any new product with skincare ingredients you’ve never used before.

Are There Any Downsides To Using Copper Peptides?

That said, there is some question as to whether or not using extremely high levels of copper peptides can trigger the release of an enzyme known as metalloproteinase, which actually breaks down collagen. This is unlikely to happen as long as you’re using your products as directed, but it’s something to consider if you’re thinking of going full-send into copper skincare. 

If you’re simply looking for skin-supportive ingredients, non-copper peptides can give you similar benefits that are generally safe for sensitive skin types and don’t involve heavy metals. 

Introducing My Hydration Peptide Cream

Just like copper peptides, non-copper peptides are present naturally in the body and can also be created synthetically or derived from plant or animal sources. They are well-researched and trusted by dermatologists and estheticians alike for helping fade the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

I always recommend peptide products to my clients who want to take preventive measures against skin aging and to clients who want to minimize the visible effects of skin aging that have already occurred. That’s why I formulated my Hydration Peptide Cream with ingredients that work for normal to dry skin types. 

What’s Inside

I see numerous clients who are dealing with congested skin (breakouts) because they’re using a peptide cream that is wrong for their skin. They want the benefits of peptides, but it can be virtually impossible to find them in an oil-free formula. That’s why I developed this product, which is rich, loaded with peptides, and oil-free. 

I also added squalane to the ingredients list, which naturally protects the skin barrier, or the outermost layer of your skin. Squalane is found naturally in your skin’s oil, but it’s also available from plant-based sources. 

You’ll also get Hydrosella™, which is our proprietary ingredient that is proven to keep skin hydrated for up to 72 hours after application. At the same time, niacinamide (vitamin B3) goes to work to smooth the skin, minimize the appearance of pores, and help support healthy oil production, so you see fewer blemishes with continued use.

What To Pair With It

Adding peptides to other skin care products just makes sense. I love to pair peptides with retinol because I’m able to target my clients’ skin concerns like lines, wrinkles, skin tone, and texture in two ways. 

Retinol is a powerful product that offers anti-aging benefits, helps reduce the appearance of breakouts, and can even help visibly fade skin imperfections and scars. Unfortunately, retinol is so powerful that it can often be irritating to the skin. That’s why I developed Retinol Reform®. I wanted to make a retinol product that everyone could use, even if they had sensitive or dry skin. 

Retinol Reform contains encapsulated retinol, which is released slowly while you sleep. You get all the benefits of a great retinol product with none of the redness or irritation you might’ve experienced from other retinol products.

You can pair Retinol Reform right along with my Hydration Peptide Cream, layering your Retinol Reform on (at night) before the Hydration Peptide Cream. You might be surprised how quickly you see your skin completely transform when you pair this duo together. 

Lactic Acid Serum

If you’re dealing with skin that looks dull or tired, lactic acid can help. This powerful AHA can transform your skin and enhance radiance while you sleep. You can use this ingredient on Retinol Reform rest nights and layered underneath your Hydration Peptide Cream. 

I love using my Lactic Acid Serum, which I’ve packed with soothing green tea and white tea extracts to help calm the skin and reduce the appearance of redness. 

Adding these three products to your skincare routine (along with daily sunscreen) can transform your skin and lead to more radiant, plump skin in a matter of weeks. Just make sure you use SPF in your morning routine, as AHAs like lactic acid and glycolic acid can leave your skin sensitive to sun exposure.

Save Your Pennies

Copper peptides are specific peptides found naturally in the skin and in some plants and animals. They are present during wound healing and can help support skin wellness. Some skin types may be sensitive to copper, and there’s a chance that overusing copper skincare products could be detrimental to your skin health. 

That’s why I use non-copper peptides, like the ones you’ll find in my Hydration Peptide Cream. These peptides can support healthy-looking skin and visually minimize the signs of aging without the inclusion of metals. Stacking peptides with retinol and lactic acid is a great way to tackle skin concerns with very few products. 


Why does skin wrinkle with age? What is the best way to slow or prevent this process? | Scientific American

Chapter 2 - Market Evolution of Topical Anti-aging Treatments | Science Direct

Regenerative and Protective Actions of the GHK-Cu Peptide in the Light of the New Gene Data | PMC

The science behind peptides | PubMed


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