Copper Peptides

What are Copper Peptides?

Copper peptides find use in cosmetics, particularly for anti-aging applications. GHK is a naturally occurring tripeptide present in human plasma, saliva and urine.1 Discovered in the early 1970s, it has the amino acid sequence glycyl-histidyl-lysine and is characterised by a strong affinity for copper (Cu) leading to the complex known as GHK-Cu. GHK mediates biological processes associated with wound and tissue repair.

Its ability to support skin repair processes has popularised the creation of numerous anti-ageing cosmetic products devoted to the treatment of wrinkles and photoaging.2 GHK also stimulates hair growth by promoting the health and maintenance of hair follicles.3

It is thought that the biological effects of GHK stem, in part, from the essential role of copper as a co-factor in many human biochemical processes, where it facilitates the delivery of copper in a form that is both non-toxic and readily utilisable by cells.4 More recently, studies have shown that it can also modulate the expression of many human genes related to aging, pointing to a broader suite of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms that regulate skin remodelling and tissue repair.5