Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cosmeceutical: Copper peptide (GHK-Cu)

GHK is a tripeptide that has a strong affinity for copper, so it's often called copper peptide or GHK-Cu. It occurs naturally in our blood, urine, and saliva and it is used in our bodies as a wound healer, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory that can stimulate collagen and glycosaminoglycans (or GAGs), which bind water in the skin, increasing hydration.

Glycosaminoglycans  are required in our skin for normal collagen structure and function, but too much can lead to wrinkling in photo-damaged skin. Take a look at this adorable shar pei dog - click here and scroll down - for an example of what happens when we have too many glycosaminoglycans in our skin!

But we know that things are that are awesome in our skin don't necessarily do the same things when applied on our skin, so what's the deal with GHK? Studies have shown that application of 2% GHK on patients with diabetic ulcers can show increased wound healing of 60% to 98% and a reduction of infections (1984). Other studies have shown that application of GHK to aging skin can increase the synthesis of collagen in skin's fibroblasts (the structural frame work for animal tissues, critical in wound healing) better than Vitamin C or retinoic acid and can increase synthesis of decorin, a proteoglycan that binds water and regulates water movement in our skin as well as collagen synthesis and wound healing. It also stimulates the synthesis of metalloproteinases (enzymes that break down skin's proteins), which lead to the idea that it helps in skin restructuring and remodelling. In other words, this appears to be one heck of a peptide!

There are a lot of claims about this peptide, but I've only included the ones for which I've found good studies. There are claims that it can increase hair growth, but I haven't seen a lot of evidence for this.

You might find copper peptide listed as palmitoyl GHK or Cu-GHK or just copper peptide. It is listed in Matrixyl 3000 as palmitoyl oligopeptide and we find it there at 100 ppm.

It's suggested that we use copper peptide at about 0.1% in our products, but I'm not really sure in which phase we should use it. I've seen suggestions on how to add it to already made products, so I'm thinking the cool down phase might be a good place for it (click here for more information on when to include our ingredients). I've only seen this sold in one place and it was $10.50 for 2 ml, enough for 120 ml of lotion, so this is a very expensive inclusion as a cosmeceutical. We find this polypeptide in Matrixyl 3000 (more about this in two days), which might be a more economical ingredient for most of us.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with polypeptides!


Anonymous said...

hi - i am based in NZ - any idea where to buy a copper peptides serum from? Thanks.

Anonymous said...


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Someone posted this link to HairEvo, Orthomolecular formulas backed by science as a place where you could find copper peptides. I know nothing about this supplier, except they do have copper peptides and they seem to have some interesting ingredients.

To the original author of the comment - please give us your name and a little about your experience with the store, otherwise it's considered spam around here. I'm letting this link exist because the shop does sell the ingredient, but if I see future comments like this, they will be deleted. It's not hard to write a little blurb and add your name, and it adds to the sense of community.

Victoria Smith said...

Hi I just discovered your site and love it! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us. I was wondering if you have an effective recipe for an eye serum or cream that incorporates GHK-Cu (copper peptides) and vitamin C with some form of retinoid? I am about to turn 40 and my eye serums are so expensive -I use Obaji. I am thinking that I might start making my own? I mean why not??? I would love any advice you might have? Thanks.

Zubair Gexton said...

Your are saying about claims. If there so many claims so how we can buy.? best peptides for muscle gain