What is copper peptide(GHK-Cu)？
In the current research on anti-wrinkle ingredients, many manufacturers have focused on peptide peptides formed by the condensation of amino acids. This copper peptide, which was originally discovered for a long time, also borrowed a little Dongfeng by the way and began to expand the market in skincare products.
GHK-Cu, INCI’s name is Copper tripeptide-1.
There are also GHK-Cu-GHK (Prezatide copper) and AHK-Cu (Tricomin), which are actually the same.
It is not so much the power of peptides as it is the effect of copper ions on the skin.
Copper-bound peptides improve the permeability, allowing inorganic copper ions that are difficult to penetrate the keratin barrier in the original ion form to penetrate into the skin to exert their effect.
This blue copper peptide is nothing new. It has been studied around 1973, and it already exists in the human body. To put it bluntly, this thing is a combination of a peptide (tripeptide-1) and a copper ion. If you remove this copper ion, the tripeptide-1 will be very common, basically worthless, and because It has not been modified, in fact, the transdermal is not particularly good, and the function is relatively ordinary.
But because it combines with a copper ion, it is very difficult to obtain. Copper ions are helpful to the reaction of many enzymes in the human body, and blue copper peptides can transport copper ions into the cells, acting as a “courier”.
The blue copper peptide was discovered that year. It was because scientists were aware of its anti-aging function when they were studying why the liver tissue of the elderly could synthesize new proteins. Generally speaking, blue copper peptides are usually written as GHK-Cu. GHK is a tripeptide whose structure is glycine-histidine-lysine. Other tripeptides are not acceptable, only this one. So the essence of NIOD contains this tripeptide, and then there is a solution of copper gluconate in another bottle of solution. Mix it before use and it becomes a blue copper peptide.
If you can find a cheap tripeptide essence and get some copper ions (this is very simple), you can probably do it yourself.
So, this blue copper peptide is an anti-aging peptide. What’s special?
In fact, there are quite a lot of literature on blue copper peptides in recent years. In terms of functions, people have summarized them. There are probably a few:
- -Promote the regeneration of collagen and elastin: this is one of the most important anti-aging functions of blue copper peptides;
- -Promote wound healing: For damaged wounds, blue copper peptides promote fibroblast regeneration, which has long been used in medicine;
- -Anti-inflammatory effect: Blue copper peptide can inhibit the synthesis of many inflammatory factors, which is conducive to cell repair;
- -Helping DNA repair: Blue copper peptides can affect the synthesis of many genes (about 4000), and can repair DNA when DNA is damaged by ultraviolet light (in vitro experiment)
Of course, there are also some miscellaneous things, such as anti-hair loss, anti-cancer, etc., which are not areas that need to be discussed in skincare products. But in general, blue copper peptides can activate the vitality of cells, so it has the function of anti-aging.
Most of the anti-aging functions are verified by clinical trials.
For example, an article that has been quoted all the time compares the functions of tretinoin, vitamin C, and blue copper peptide in synthesizing collagen. The blue copper peptide is actually better than tretinoin, which is a bit more powerful.
Abdulghani A A, Sherr A, Shirin S, et al. Effects of topical creams containing vitamin C, a copper-binding peptide cream and melatonin compared with tretinoin on the ultrastructure of normal skin-A pilot clinical, histologic, and ultrastructural study[J]. Disease Management and Clinical Outcomes, 1998, 4(1): 136-141.
Pickart, the discoverer of the blue copper peptide, has studied for more than 30 years and used a picture to summarize its functions in 2012:
Blue copper peptides and skin anti-wrinkle, anti-aging
On the one hand, the classic ingredients such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C are cheap and good quality. They can be found everywhere, and they have a long history and good functions. There is no need to buy particularly expensive blue copper peptides. On the other hand, although there are many in vitro experiments for blue copper peptides, clinical trials are still a bit small and not authoritative enough. For example, in the article mentioned earlier, I couldn’t find it in this journal, and it is said that the impact factor is also very low. There are also some materials, which are conference papers, and I have not found a particularly complete article, which is far worse than dimension A and dimension C.
Experiments have shown that this ingredient can accelerate the repair of skin wounds, promote collagen growth, improve the synthesis of skin moisturizing factors, and slow the speed of skin lipid peroxidation. [A]
When I saw it at the time, it was indeed a pleasant surprise, but as I became more and more aware of this ingredient, there were more and more disappointments. The disappointment was not that the effect of this ingredient was unsatisfactory or had side effects. In fact, it should be said to be effective and not particularly irritating.
The main reason is that GHK-Cu is too difficult to match with other ingredients, and there are too many taboos to use unless you are really a super expert who knows the characteristics of these ingredients well, or only use this ingredient to get it all done.
Then let’s take a look at those ingredients that cannot be combined with GHK-Cu.
- VC has very significant side effects and even DNA damage! [B]
- Peroxidation components such as benzene peroxide. [C]
- Hydroquinone. [D]
- Fructose ingredients, which are often used in current moisturizing products, have been shown to accelerate the cross-linking of collagen and cause collagen to lose elasticity.
- Zinc compounds compete for the same receptor, causing neither of them to exert their due effect.
A.@ In vivo stimulation of connective tissue accumulation by the tripeptide-copper complex glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-Cu2+ in rat experimental wounds. Maquart FX, Bellon G, Chaqour B, Wegrowski J, Patt LM, Trachy RE, Monboisse JC, Chastang F, Birembaut P, Gillery P, et al.
B.@ Chiou SH, DNA- and protein-scission activities of ascorbate in the presence of copper ion and a copper-peptide complex, J Biochem (Tokyo) 1983 Oct;94(4):1259-67
Kocha T, Yamaguchi M, Ohtaki H, Fukuda T, Aoyagi T, Hydrogen peroxide-mediated degradation of protein: different oxidation modes of copper- and iron-dependent hydroxyl radicals on the degradation of albumin, Biochim Biophys Acta 1997 Feb 8;1337( 2):319-26
C.@Swauger JE, Dolan PM, Zweier JL, Kuppusamy P, Kensler TW, Role of the benzoyloxyl radical in DNA damage mediated by benzoyl peroxide, Chem Res Toxicol 1991 Mar-Apr;4(2):223-8
D.@Li Y, Trush MA, DNA damage resulting from the oxidation of hydroquinone by copper: role for a Cu(II)/Cu(I) redox cycle and reactive oxygen generation, Carcinogenesis 1993 Jul;14(7):1303- 11
Neova Therapy Creme De La Copper
Some personal thoughts about GHK-Cu
From these studies, we can see that the effect of blue copper peptide is similar to that of vitamin A and C, and it is nothing more than an improvement in skin gloss, wrinkle depth, and skin thickness. So I think that the blue copper peptide is really useful and has clinical support, but don’t promote it too much, especially in this aspect of cost performance, which is not particularly high. If you use vitamin A, vitamin C, or ordinary peptides, you can give it a try. It is not recommended to buy it as soon as you get started, except for face value control.
The use of VC on the skin has proven a good effect of promoting collagen growth, while copper is mainly used to promote scar recovery, so if the two conflict, I will prefer the former.
If benzene peroxide and hydroquinone cannot be used, anti-acne and anti-spots will lose two powerful weapons, although they are not very mild ingredients.
Combined with fructose to cause collagen cross-linking is indeed a bit scary. Why is the skin of children so delicate and the skin of the elderly is inelastic? That is the result of cross-linking of collagen. Fructose-containing ingredients include many plant extracts and honey.
Then it reminds me of all the monosaccharides….
This is the reason why I haven’t considered GHK-Cu for the time being, but for the time being, if there is more strong literature supporting it, maybe I can reconsider it.
If you are interested in this ingredient and will not buy other products and mix them together, you can consider the special copper peptide products of NIOD, Neutrogena, Skinbiology, and Neova, Or send an inquiry to us to buy GHK-Cu. Some people have used these products. Achieved good results.
What is the difference between these mixed products and blue copper peptides? Take NIOD as an example. It contains 2% tripeptide plus 1% copper ion. After the final mixing, it is 1% blue copper peptide plus the remaining 1% tripeptide. And too is 1% blue copper peptide (already mixed). NIOD was also mixed before, but now it has become a mixed product before use. I don’t know if it is for stability or to differentiate it from TO products. There are really not many other blue copper peptide products on the market, and they rarely say their own concentrations, but they are probably very low.
Many topical anti-aging products contain variations of GHK and GHK-Cu peptides in extremely small amounts. Generally, these variation peptides are found in parts per million in active technologies that topical products claim to include at high percentages but the final concentration of the variation peptides in topical products is generally less than 0.01% and these peptides would then have to be converted to even smaller amounts of pure copper peptides within the skin.
—— NIOD’s official website
Schagen, S. (2017). Topical Peptide Treatments with Effective Anti-Aging Results. Cosmetics, 4(2), 16. Topical Peptide Treatments with Effective Anti-Aging ResultsFu, SC, Cheuk, YC, Chiu, WYV, Yung, SH , Rolf, CG, & Chan, KM (2015). Tripeptide-copper complex GHK-Cu (II) transiently improved healing outcome in a rat model of ACL reconstruction. Journal of Orthopaedic Research, 33(7), 1024–1033. Tripeptide -copper complex GHK‐Cu (II) transiently improved healing outcome in a rat model of ACL reconstruction Pickart, L., Vasquez-Soltero, JM, & Margolina, A. (2014). GHK and DNA: Resetting the Human Genome to Health. BioMed Research International, 2014, 1–10. GHK and DNA: Resetting the Human Genome to HealthMaquart, FX, Pickart, L., Laurent, M., Gillery, P., Monboisse, JC, & Borel, JP (1988). Stimulation of collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures by the tripeptide-copper complex glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-Cu2+. FEBS Letters, 238(2), 343–346. Stimulation of coll agen synthesis in fibroblast cultures by the tripeptide‐copper complex glycyl‐L‐histidyl‐L‐lysine‐Cu2+Pickart, L. (2008). The human tri-peptide GHK and tissue remodeling. Journal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Edition, 19 (8), 969–988. The human tri-peptide GHK and tissue remodelingPark, J.-R., Lee, H., Kim, S.-I., & Yang, S.-R. (2016). The tri-peptide GHK-Cu complex ameliorates lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury in mice. Oncotarget, 7(36), 58405–58417. Oncotarget | The tri-peptide GHK-Cu complex ameliorates lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury in micePickart, L. , Vasquez-Soltero, J., & Margolina, A. (2015). GHK-Cu may Prevent Oxidative Stress in Skin by Regulating Copper and Modifying Expression of Numerous Antioxidant Genes. Cosmetics, 2(3), 236–247. GHK- Cu may Prevent Oxidative Stress in Skin by Regulating Copper and Modifying Expression of Numerous Antioxidant GenesPickart, L., Vasquez-Soltero, JM, & Margolina, A. (2015). GHK Peptide as a Natural Modulator of Multiple Cellular Pathways in Skin Regeneration. BioMed Research International, 2015, 1-7. GHK Peptide as a Natural Modulator of Multiple Cellular Pathways in Skin Regeneration Pickart, L., Vasquez-Soltero, JM, & Margolina, A. (2012). The Human Tripeptide GHK-Cu in Prevention of Oxidative Stress and Degenerative Conditions of Aging: Implications for Cognitive Health. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2012, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/324832Stimulation of collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures by the tripeptide‐copper complex glycyl‐L‐histidyl‐L‐lysine‐Cu2+Pickart, L., Vasquez-Soltero, JM, & Margolina, A. (2012). The Human Tripeptide GHK-Cu in Prevention of Oxidative Stress and Degenerative Conditions of Aging: Implications for Cognitive Health. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2012, 1-8. The Human Tripeptide GHK-Cu in Prevention of Oxidative Stress and Degenerative Conditions of Aging: Implications for Cognitive Health