What are Copper Peptides? Benefits, How to Use in Skincare, and Is it Worth it

Copper peptides are a relatively new skincare ingredient with a lot of hype. Some are calling it nature’s Botox, while others claim it ruined their skin. 

person using a copper peptides serum
Copper peptides are usually found in serums – source

Is copper peptide an ingredient you should be adding to your skincare? And if so, how do you use it and how should you avoid mixing it? Here is your complete guide to copper peptides, everything you need to know! Learn the benefits, risks, how to use it, and much more today.

What are Peptides

Peptides are a chain of amino acids. When enough chains are linked together, that is called a polypeptide that then links with another to form a protein. In theory, adding peptides to the skin is meant to stimulate collagen production, as many peptides contain ingredients needed to make collagen. However, most peptides and collagen in skin care products do not penetrate deep enough to increase collagen production. Some, like neurotransmitter peptides, aka botox, signal to muscles to not move, some increase moisture, and some hydrate the skin.

Is there a difference with copper peptides though?

What are Copper Peptides

Copper peptides are different from other peptides. They are naturally made in the body and help with the production of elastin and collagen. As we age we lose collagen naturally, and while eating certain foods or supplements can help, some try to put collagen in skin care. However, collagen does not reach deep enough in the skin to stimulate collagen. Do copper peptides?


Specifically, these studies look at copper tripeptide 1 (GHK-CU).

Copper peptides have been found to increase blood circulation, which can help provide the skin with nutrients, oxygen, and necessary minerals for regeneration. Studies have also found that they can work as a humectant to plump up the skin. Plus, that study found that in general, copper peptides increased collagen production and elastin, which helped firm and smooth the skin. However, more research is definitely needed, as this study was small.

In the skin, copper is a cofactor for tyrosinase, which dictates the pigmentation of the skin. This means it can be useful for evening skin tone.

Some claim that copper peptides are nature’s botox. This is simply untrue. These peptides do have benefits, but the benefits stated in most articles and videos are overhyped.

In summation, copper peptides help with collagen synthesis, increasing smoothness, firmness, and appearance. At the very least, they are a humectant, meaning they draw water into the skin for increased hydration.


Some may experience a sensitivity to copper peptides that lead to a rash, irritation, or sensitivity. This may be due to overuse, or using too strong of a concentration. To avoid this, always perform a patch test of new skin care on the side of the neck or inner portion of the arm. Apply the product there and wait 48 hrs to see if you have a reaction.

Some claim that too much copper peptides can cause oxidative damage, however, studies have found that on the skin copper peptides act as an antioxidant, reducing free radicals.

Some rumors state that copper uglies can occur, in which the skin of the face starts to sag. This rumored side effect has no medical grounds. Current research states the opposite, that copper peptides smooth skin, reduce inflammation, improve firmness, and repair skin barrier proteins.

What Skincare Should Not be Mixed with It?

Copper peptides should not be used with vitamin C, as they can oxidize when combined. If you have sensitive skin, you may need to avoid using it with acids like AHA and BHA, or with retinol. At least try not to use them in the same routine. Use these peptides in the morning and retinol at night.

How to Use Copper Peptides

It is recommended to use this skincare ingredient in a serum, preferably in the morning. If you use it in the morning, do not use a vitamin C serum. If you truly want to use both, use the copper peptide serum, wait for it to dry and absorb fully, then use a vitamin C serum. 

Skincare with Natural Peptides

Besides serums with copper peptides, some skincare ingredients naturally have copper peptides in them. This is the one and only snail mucin filtrate. That’s right. Snail slime has copper in it.

The Takeaway

Copper peptides are a great, research-based skin care ingredient you can add to your routine for extra support in boosting collagen production, increasing firmness, smoothing out fine lines, and evening out your complexion. No, it’s not the next Botox, and no it doesn’t ruin the skin by causing sagging. Make sure you patch-test new skincare though, as you may have a sensitivity or be allergic to other ingredients in the product.

Don’t mix these peptides with vitamin C, retinol, or acids, and try lower doses before upping the concentration.

Remember that health comes from within, therefore you should nutritious food, work out daily, and take care of your mental health always. Choose good daily habits to help create the building blocks of your emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. Plus, never forget about gut health as well for even more health benefits! Learn everything you need to know about gut microbiota today for free here!

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