Discover the rejuvenating action of the GHK peptide and copper. And how to correctly use copper peptides in your skincare routine to plump and smooth your skin. I love them – chances are you’ll love them too!


Hello, hello! Attracted by the scientifically proven properties of copper peptides to regenerate the extracellular matrix and improve skin resilience, I decided to try them.

I invest time and energy in skincare ingredients that at least hint at effectiveness. And, when the fall hit (in November), I tried some new products. I also wanted to take a crack at something to better the appearance of a recent scar on my forehead.

So I tried The Ordinary “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%. Later, I’ll tell you about my 6-month experience using it and when to avoid copper peptides. Don’t miss that!

The Ordinary "Buffet" + Copper Peptides 1% serum: a drop and the bottle.
The serum is blue due to copper.

First, let’s see why copper and the GHK peptide – that is, copper peptides – increase your skin vigor (unless you were allergic to them – which may occur with any skincare ingredient). And how to integrate them into your skincare routine. 

The GHK peptide (Glycine-Histidine- Lysine)

Peptides are chains of amino acids (like glycine, histidine, or lysine). And amino acids are the building blocks of proteins (such as collagen or elastin). 

There are many different peptides with diverse functions in our bodies. Some are structural peptides (like those that form collagen, for instance), while others have signaling properties. For example, Botox is a signaling peptide that keeps the muscles relaxed.  

GHK is a signaling peptide that increases the synthesis of the components of the extracellular matrix (like collagen or elastin, which maintain it bouncy). Thus, it boosts the healing of wounds or the regeneration of the skin.

The GHK peptide is in our blood and decreases as our chronological age (the number of years we’ve spent on Earth) increases. GHK is around 200 ng/ml at age 20 and tends to decline to an average of 80 ng/ml by age 60. 

However, the level of GHK also correlates with our biological age (the actual age of our body, which may not match our chronological age). In other words, the more GHK in the blood of an adult, the younger the biological age.

Additionally, the GHK peptide has a high affinity for copper.

Copper (Cu)

Small amounts of copper (1 to 1.5 mg/day) are indispensable to keep our bodies healthy. For instance, copper is necessary for energy synthesis in our cells or the arrival of oxygen and nutrients to peripheral organs (like the skin). 

In the skin, copper is essential for the activity of the enzyme lysyl oxidase, which generates mature collagen and elastin fibers and a compact yet flexible dermis. That is a wrinkle-free, functional dermis

We also require copper daily for the activity of the enzyme tyrosinase and hence to maintain skin and hair pigmentation. Indeed hair is the body structure with the highest copper content. 

Copper helps maintain the color of our hair and skin, and avoids skin laxity.

If you want to discover more about the role of copper in the skin and the best nutritional sources of copper, visit my article 8 reasons why copper keeps your skin and body youthful.

How to optimally apply copper to the skin

Copper penetrates well in the skin when compounded with the GHK peptide.

Therefore, due to the known positive impact of copper and the GHK peptide on the skin, the Cu-GHK complexes are a great vehicle to deliver copper into the skin

Copper also penetrates the skin when embedded in high amounts in ointments (for instance, to treat skin hypopigmentation due to lack of melanin). 

However, in general, copper peptides are a more pleasant option.

And the most important thing! Copper peptides reduce fine lines and wrinkles and increase the firmness and elasticity of the skin when tested in peer-reviewed clinical studies – which are well-done, precise measurements of the effects of copper peptides after their application to the skin of humans.

Antioxidant activity of copper and copper peptides

As I told you in my previous article on copperit enhances our antioxidant defenses through the action of superoxide dismutase (a ubiquitous copper- and zinc-containing antioxidant enzyme). 

And copper peptides act at the genetic level modifying the expression of antioxidant genes (their translation into proteins). Thus, they further counteract free radical damage in the skin.

My 6-month experience with copper peptides

I ordered a bottle of The Ordinary “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1% serum in November. From my point of view, that is an excellent water-based serum that also has glycerin (a great skin humectant).

As you can see in the color-coded ingredient list below, it contains not only the copper peptide (copper tripeptide-1) but also other peptides with anti-aging and skin-firming properties (highlighted in green).

Ingredient list (INCI) of The Ordinary Buffet + Copper peptides 1%

There are also a couple of hyaluronic acid forms (a great polymer and a lower molecular weight form) and various amino acids [glycine, alanine, serine, valine, isoleucine, proline, threonine, histidine, phenylalanine, arginine, and aspartic acid].

It also includes soothing molecules (like allantoin), other humectants (such as trehalose), and other molecules naturally found in the stratum corneum (the top layer of the skin) like urea, PCA, or lactic acid (sodium lactate).

How to apply the copper peptides serum

You can use it in the morning or at night before thicker products (like other serums or moisturizers). At the moment, I apply it to my face and neck just in the morning. I use about five or six drops right after washing or showering and before my moisturizer or sunscreen.

Anecdote or fact? Eliminate your skin tags with copper

I started using the copper peptides serum only in the morning. Then I realized that some acrochordons I had on my neck (skin tags that appear due to friction against clothes and seem contagious warts, but they aren’t) became itchy.

I thought that could be due to the anti-microbial properties of copper. Therefore, I started to apply the serum at night too.

Dark acrochordon (in the middle), a day before falling.
Dark acrochordon (in the middle), a day before falling.

Acrochordons are not infectious (viruses don’t cause them). But some microorganisms which might grow with friction against clothes could influence the growth of the acrochordons. Why do I say that? Because two big acrochordons I had fell!! 

No big acrochordon the day after!
No big acrochordon the day after!

That might be an anecdote, not a scientific experiment, but there you go. After that, I returned to the morning-only routine with copper peptides. 

And since then, no more skin tags have fallen. The remaining skin tags were small, but now one is medium-sized. So, I’m attacking morning and night again. I’ll keep you informed!

I’ve also discovered copper mini-clips on Amazon: you attach one to a skin tag and get rid of it in a few days (such things!). I’m not the only one who has noticed the potential anti-acrochordons effects of copper!

Improve your scars with copper peptides

After six months of using the copper peptides serum, my skin is very well. It seems even more healthy and supple. I love this stuff! 

That’s subjective. But you know I do not make those statements lightly. I take this blog and your skin concerns very seriously and believe copper peptides can make a difference. 

Scar on my forehead (arrow). It has a fat cyst beside it.
Scar (arrow). It has a fat cyst beside it.

In addition, I noticed something unexpected: an improvement in the appearance of the scar on my forehead (which is two years old now). I also use retinal and a product with glycolic and salicylic acids on that scar on alternate nights. But I already followed that routine before trying copper peptides. 

Since the scar had been there for over a year, I thought I might need a minor procedure by a dermatologist to forget about it. But the copper peptides are working. Let’s see how that evolves!

In summary, the daily use of the serum with copper peptides boosts the cutaneous extracellular matrix. And hence the skin appearance (and health!).

With some exceptions (I tell you now), this hydrating serum can improve the skincare routine of anyone.

Ingredients you should not mix with copper

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Copper (as a metallic ion) can favor the oxidation (and inactivation) of labile molecules such as ascorbic acid. Therefore, if you like vitamin C in your skincare routine, apply it in the morning and the copper peptides at night (or vice versa, not at the same time).

Kojic acid

Kojic acid traps metallic ions such as free copper (Cu2+), making them unavailable. That’s how it reduces skin hyperpigmentation, given that tyrosinase (the key melanin-producing enzyme) requires copper.

Thus, copper cancels the effects of kojic acid (and vice versa). Hence better apply copper peptides in the morning and kojic acid at night (not simultaneously).

When to avoid copper peptides

You may want to avoid copper peptides if you have skin hyperpigmentation (dark spots, melasma). You know, copper favors skin pigmentation through tyrosinase activity.

For instance, my skin has an olive hue. I also have vascular rosacea on my cheeks and the skin underneath my eyes. Thus, I constantly develop hyperpigmentation there. I also have melasma on the highest area of my cheeks. Therefore, I don’t use the copper peptides serum over there (I skip those areas altogether). 

I hope this was useful. Please leave your questions in the comments below!

And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter: stay in the know about effective skincare that saves you time and headaches! My subscribers enjoy exclusive tips that I don’t share anywhere else.

Take care and see you soon!


For your reference:

Regenerative and Protective Actions of the GHK-Cu Peptide in the Light of the New Gene Data. Pickart L, Margolina A, Int J Mol Sci., 2018 Jul 7; 19 (7): 1987.


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