are copper peptides more effective than retinoids

BFFs are awesome.

Mine encourages me to go for a walk when I complain about the couple of extra pounds I’ve put on during my last trip to Italy, gives me a pep talk when I start doubting my writing, and even helps me come up with new ideas for the blog.

My BFF just makes my life better. She makes me more confident. Keeps me focused on my goals so I achieve bigger and better things.

Skincare ingredients have their BFFs too. Peptides and copper, for example. Together, they’re called copper peptides, and rumour has it, they work even better than retinoids. Can you believe it?

Here’s all the gossip (and the truth in it):

What Are Copper Peptides?

Peptides are proteins made up of amino acids, the building blocks of life. Some of these peptides have an affinity for the metal copper. When they meet, they hug and bind to each other really tightly.

That’s when peptides and copper become one: a copper peptide.

It can happen naturally in the body. Copper peptides are present in trace amounts in saliva, blood plasma, and even urine (eww, I know).

Or it can happen in a lab. A scientist mixes amino acids with a solution that contains copper and a copper peptide comes out.

P.S. In case you were wondering, the copper peptides found in our skincare products come from a lab.

Related: Types Of Peptides In Skincare: Which Ones Are Best For You?


Struggling to put together a skincare routine that fights wrinkles, boosts collagen, and gives you a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):


Can Copper Peptides Fight Wrinkles And Premature Aging?

Copper peptides are powerful allies in the fight against premature aging.

Science says copper peptides can increase the production of collagen, the substance that keeps skin firm. The more skin makes, the less likely it is to sag and wrinkle.

There are also a few studies that say copper peptides do this so well, they produce more collagen than vitamins A (retinoids) and C, two of the most powerful anti-aging superheroes ever.

Pretty impressive, right?

Related: 8 Science-Backed Ways To Rebuild Lost Collagen

Are Copper Peptides More Effective Than Retinoids?

The jury’s still out there on this, BUT there are two reasons why I won’t be switching from retinoids to copper peptides anytime soon:

  1. The studies I’ve just mentioned were done in vitro (petri dish), not in vivo (on real skin). See the potential problem with this? Just because something works in a petri dish doesn’t mean it’ll work when applied on the skin.
  2. Copper peptides don’t improve the texture of the skin. Vitamin A can also reduce roughness and dark spots. Copper peptides can’t.

Having said that, if you can afford to add a serum with copper peptides to your skincare routine (they can cost a pretty penny) do it! Anything that promotes collagen (and isn’t dangerous, of course), is always worth a try.

Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It

the ordinary buffet + copper peptides 1% 02

What Else Do Copper Peptides Do For Skin?

Copper peptides are skincare multitaskers. Here are all the way they help your skin:

  • They have anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritations, one of the main causes of premature aging.
  • They help heal wounds.
  • They help heal scars by getting rid of the extra large, damaged collagen in them.
  • They promote the production of elastin, glycosaminoglycans, proteoglycans, and other building blocks of the skin’s protective barrier.
  • They produce enzymes that are essential for skin’s health, including antioxidant Superoxide Dismutase and Lysyl Oxidaze (it weaves together elastin and collagen).

Related: Is Superoxide Dismutase The Most Powerful Antioxidant Of Them All?

niod copper amino isolate serum 2 1 review

Do Copper Peptides Have Any Side Effects?

It doesn’t seem so. Unlike silver, copper is metabolized by the body so there’s no risk of toxicity.

Some people report that too much copper triggers the production of metalloproteinases, which basically eat collagen and elastin. The result? Skin sags. Wrinkles appear.

Keep in mind, though, that there are no studies confirming this happening. Only a tiny minority of people who overused copper peptides reported this side effect. Until a study is done, we don’t know if this is true or even what defines overuse. A 10% concentration? Daily use? Who knows?

As I said, very few people experience this, so I’d say copper peptides are pretty safe.

What Are The Best Products With Copper Peptides?

If you’re ready to splurge on copper peptides, you may want to check these out. They are the best products with copper peptides I’ve come across so far:

The Bottom Line

Copper peptides are pretty expensive and there isn’t much research on them yet. But, what we know is promising, so I’m including them in my skincare routine and recommend you do the same. But, only when the products have plenty of other proven-to-work ingredients. Just in case. 😉