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Precious Metal: Copper Peptides

July 2005

AGE-CONSCIOUS SPA-GOERS WILL DO JUST about anything to slow down aging, and copper peptides are a substantiated weapon in the fight. Regarded as an alternative to cosmetic surgery, they've been scientifically proven to reduce facial wrinkles and tighten facial skin.

Proteins serve many roles in the skin, including repairing injured tissue and reconstructing new tissue, especially damage caused by the sun. Peptides are fragments of proteins that are small enough to penetrate the skin's protective barriers to reach the deeper layers. Copper is a trace metal found in every cell and is required for several intracellular and extra-cellular enzymes. It binds to certain peptides to form a molecule called a copper peptide. Upon entering the cells, these peptides find their way to the different sites where they are needed and help transport the proteins involved in energy or antioxidant metabolism within the cells.

Discovered in the late 1970s in a study by Loren Pickart, M.D., copper peptides were revealed to promote the production of collagen, elastin, proteog lycans, and glycosaminog lycans, all of which are fundamental substances required to preserve skin health and trigger a more youthful appearance. Wrinkles are the cosmetic benchmark of declining collagen, a critical protein in the skin, and evidence of environmental assault coupled with intrinsic aging. Copper peptides assist in slowing this process. In fact, nowadays, copper peptides are often referred to as one of the hottest skin regeneration ingredients and are regarded as a potent antioxidant warrior to combat wrinkles. Further study of this ingredient in 2009 by a group of researchers from Seoul National University demonstrated another critical benefit of copper peptides. A version called GHK-copper is able to revive the proliferative potential of epidermal stem cells and increase their ability to repair tissue.

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