I absolutely love your site. Thank-you so much for providing me and others a beauty reference that we can trust! I’m at the ripe age of 41 and struggling with acne, and the signs of aging. So I’m looking at products all over the skincare spectrum. One ingredient(s) that seems to be hot right now are peptides. I finally have learned about BHAs and AHAs and what they can do for my skin. Now I really need help with these peptides! There seem to be several variations depending on the product. Can you explain exactly what benefit peptides perform for you skin and if I should be looking for particular peptides to perform different functions?
The Right Brain Writes Back:
Peptides are the chemists’ shorthand way of describing small pieces of protein molecules. One peptide that’s getting a lot of press right now is copper peptide. As the name implies, it consists of a copper atom bound to a peptide molecule. Apparently this ingredient has been shown to be an effective wound healant, as you’ll see when you read this article we’re quoting from at smartskincare.com:
The benefits of copper peptides for tissue regeneration were discovered by Dr. Loren Pickart in the 1970s. He found and patented a number of specific copper peptides (in particular, GHK copper peptides or GHK-Cu) that were particularly effective in healing wounds and skin lesions as well as some gastrointestinal conditions. One of the end results of this research was Iamin gel approved by the FDA for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds and ulcers.
But does it really do anything when applied topically to skin? Maybe. A press release from the American Academy of Dermatologists shows some enthusisam for the results of study of a skin cream containing copper peptides, and we quote:
Investigators also noted an increase in skin thickness by an average of 17.8 percent as measured by ultrasound.
Sounds impressive, at least until you read the following line which says:
Findings like these are encouraging, said Dr. Farris, but it is important not to oversell these products since in reality they may produce only subtle visible improvements.
Doctors are saying not to “oversell” the benefits of copper peptides? Not exactly an overwhelming endorsement, now is it? That tells us the research appears inconclusion – no one seems to be really sure if these peptides are effective in regular skin creams or not. In fact, while they look promising, there’s some evidence to suggest that when used improperly, copper peptides can have a negative effect on skin by triggering free radical damage.
The Brains‘ Bottom Line:
Cosmetic companies frequently use “proven” ingredients (like copper peptides) to attract your attention. But just adding such ingredients to a skin lotion doesn’t guarantee that the product will work any better. The research on copper peptides is somewhat mixed – at best the ingredient may have a very subtle effect on improving the appearance of your skin. So think twice before you spend a lot of money on such a product!