Is Copper For the Skin Good For You
Copper is a trace mineral that’s found in every cell of the body and helps promote healthy skin. It boosts collagen production, which diminishes with age, and can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Despite the cult-favorite status some skincare products (and ingredients) have achieved, it’s always best to check the ingredient list before buying.
In skincare, we’ve become used to hearing about retinols and hyaluronic acid, but it’s time for us to take note of copper. That’s right,
Copper for the skin
is becoming a key player in many night creams and serums, thanks to its anti-aging properties and its ability to soothe skin.
In addition to boosting collagen and elastin production, the metal also helps heal wounds, prevents oxidative stress (which can lead to fine lines and dark spots), and contains natural anti-microbial properties that fight acne, Athlete’s foot, and other infections. It also has potent antioxidant properties that help scavenge free radicals, which cause sun and DNA damage that can result in premature aging.
Copper for the skin also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can improve skin circulation and reduce redness and hyperpigmentation, says Shizari. It can even help combat signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, by encouraging keratinocyte growth, she adds.
As for whether it’s safe to use, copper peptides are generally non-irritating and much less sensitizing than other copper treatments, such as metallic copper chloride. However, as with any new skincare ingredient, it’s important to test it out on your skin before incorporating it into your routine. If you notice any signs of irritation, stop using the product immediately.
While skin-care aficionados gush over retinol, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin C, copper is also making waves as a beauty-boosting ingredient. You may have seen it pop up in night creams, face masks, and even lash serums—the latter thanks to the popularity of TikTok hashtags like #copperpeptides—and that’s because it’s got some pretty awesome benefits.
One of the ways copper promotes healthy skin is by boosting collagen proteins. This can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, according to a 2015 research review. Plus, it can also increase elastin proteins for firmer skin.
The other way it helps improve your complexion is by neutralizing free radical damage. “Free radicals are a major cause of premature signs of aging such as dark spots and uneven skin tone,” says Dr. Nazarian. “Copper peptides are effective at reducing the appearance of free radicals and promoting healthy skin.”
Since copper is well-tolerated by most skin types, it’s easy to incorporate into your beauty routine—especially with the right products. But always make sure to patch test any new product before committing (just apply on an inconspicuous area of the face). You can find copper peptide products by looking for GHK-Cu, copper tripeptide-1, or a combination of those ingredients in the ingredients list.
As the latest iteration of a beauty secret dating back to Nefertiti’s days, copper has finally blossomed into the skincare world as an ingredient to try. As part of our Ingredient to Know series, where we sporadically profile the latest and greatest in skincare chemistry, the beauty-enhancing metal is making its way into products like serums, eye creams, and face moisturizers that boost collagen and firm skin.
The copper in these formulas usually comes in the form of peptides, which are chains of amino acids, reports Shape. They’re made by combining copper and another amino acid (glycine, in this case). As for what these copper peptides do, “they stimulate the production of collagen proteins, which improve skin texture, increase firmness, and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” says Azadeh Shirazi, a dermatologist at La Jolla Laser Dermatology.
Besides boosting collagen, they also have antioxidant properties that help protect against free radical damage and dark spots, notes Dr. Garshick. Copper peptides can be found in most skin-care products, but they’re most often included in serums that can be used one to two times per day before applying your regular facial moisturizer.
The Ordinary Buffet + Copper Peptides 1% serum, for example, is a popular choice among TikTok users who say it helps brighten and even tone the complexion and reduce redness and hyperpigmentation. You can use it alone or in combination with other skincare ingredients and products, but Dr. Libby suggests using it after exfoliating so that the copper can absorb easily.