Topical Copper Peptide acne treatment

It is essentially copper which is bounded by several chains of amino acid. They are used for bone healing, stimulation of fingernail growth, stimulation of hair growth and treatment of stomach ulcers. Popular copper peptides include GHK:Cu or copper bounded by glycine-histidine-lysine amino acids and AHK:Cu which is copper bounded by alanine-histidine-lysine amino acids. They are manufactured by reacting copper chloride solution with specific amino acid sequences. The effect of copper peptides on tissue regeneration was discovered by Loren Pickart. Dr. Pickart founded Procyte corporation which also holds the patent for GHK:Cu.

II. How does Copper Peptide works on acne?

It helps build and heal acne damaged tissues by stimulating collagen synthesis, reduces the formation of scar tissue, promotes the proliferation of elastin, proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans and other skin matrix components. Copper peptides also function as an anti-inflammatory agent and they reduce the irritation associated with acne. Copper Peptides are basically chemicals which attach to receptors on cells and then they tell the cells to perform a specific function. Different peptides have different biological effects on cells that is why some copper peptides do not have any effect on cell repair.


Can be used in conjunction with retinoids and it helps to reduce the irritation associated with retinoid use.

In some studies, copper peptides have the ability to reduce the sebum output of the oil gland because of its ability to block the hormone 5-Dihydrotestosterone (5-DHT). The capability of copper peptides to reduce male patterned baldness is due to its anti-androgenic property which works by blocking 5-DHT.


  • More expensive compared to other cell repair products like topical vitamins.
  • It does not kill acne causing bacteria.
  • Excessive use may cause high levels of free copper ions on the skin which would promote free radical formation. Free radical is harmful to skin cells and may cause accelerated aging.
  • It cannot be used with topical vitamin-C at the same time. Ascorbic acid tends to detach the copper from the copper peptide.


Although copper peptides are effective in accelerating wound healing, some researchers are questioning the ability of copper peptides to affect “intact” skin which does not contain any wounds. For maximum effect, copper peptides are always used hand in hand with hydroxy acids. The purpose of hydroxy acid when applied to the skin is to produce peeling and some very controlled skin damaged. Copper peptide then accelerates the wound healing and the regeneration of stronger and better skin tissues. There are two versions of copper peptides on the market. The first generation copper peptides which are either GHK:Cu,AHK:Cu and others. Then we have the second generation copper peptide which is copper bounded on random amino acid sequences. It is said that second generation copper peptides are more stable than first generation copper peptides.

GHK-Cu containing liquid foundation tested on skin appearance, skin elasticity and epidermal thickness in an 8 week study. GHK-Cu containing liquid foundation improved skin appearance, and increased skin elasticity and epidermal thickness.
(source: A Clinical Evaluation of a Copper-Peptide Containing Liquid Foundation and Cream Concealer Designed for Improving Skin Condition. Appa Y, Barkovic S, Finkey M B, Neutrogena Corporation, Los Angeles, CA, Stephens, T, TJ Stephens & Associates, Inc, Dallas, TX Abstract P66, American Academy of Dermatology Meeting, February 2002)

A series of placebo-controlled studies found GHK-Cu skin creams to:
1. Tighten loose skin and improve elasticity
2. Improve skin density and firmness
3. Reduce fine lines and deep wrinkles
4. Improve skin clarity
5. Reduce photodamage and mottled hyperpigmentation
6. Strongly increase keratinocyte proliferation in women of 50 year old range
(source: Copper Peptide and Skin, M.B. Finkley, Y. Appa, S. Bhandarkar, Cosmeceuticals and Active Cosmetic, 2nd Edition (ISBN: 0-8247-4239-7), 2005, pp 549-563)

III. Forms, Dosage and Administration

Creams and lotions.

IV. Precautions

Excessive use may cause high levels of free copper ions on the skin which would promote free radical formation. Free radical is harmful to skin cells and may cause accelerated aging.

People with very sensitive skin should test their reaction to this product first.

V. Side Effects

Skin irritation and itching

Brand Names

Skinbiology – Dr. Loren Pickart’s website

Olay Regenerist and Strivectin SD [ingredients] (with purportedly the same peptide);

TNS Recovery Complex (from Skinmedica);

Jan Marini Recover-E

TGF Serum, Cream, Eye Cream and Age Intervention Serum

Gernetic Anti-Stries



Mito Special



Super Serum and Youth Complex (from IS Clinical);

Antioxidant Lip Repair and Eye Cream for mature female skin (from Skinceuticals).

References “Published Studies on Tissue and Skin Remodeling Copper-Peptides ” by Loren Pickart PhD (April 2003) “Copper and Your Skin: Facelift In A Bottle By William H. Dresher, Ph.D., P.E ( June 2006 ).

Topical Copper Peptide for Acne | Copper Peptide Acne treatment | Acne treatment copper peptide | Copper Peptide and Acne | Topical Copper Peptide and Acne

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