Copper Peptides – the next big thing in skincare?

Copper Peptide 500 aCopper Peptides are enjoying a surge in popularity as more and more consumers discovers the benefits of this remarkable skincare active. Find out what all the fuss is about below

What are Copper Peptides?

Skincare products containing copper peptides are all the rage at the amount with consumers searching for products online and at their favourite beauty counters. Just as hyaluronic Acid was causing all that fuss a couple of years ago now it seems that Copper Peptides are attracting all the attention.

 

Copper Peptides are to be found typically in moisturising creams and serums.

Copper peptide GHK-CU is a naturally occurring tri-peptide that is composed of three amino acids bonded to a copper molecule. It is found naturally in human blood where it performs a number of important biological functions.

blue-copper-peptide

Copper Peptides first came to prominence in the field of medicine where it was found that topically applied copper peptides significantly improved wound healing and reduced scar tissue formation following significant skin injury and trauma. Before long the cosmetic benefits of copper peptides were recognised and a growing number of skincare products began to appear on the market.

 

Clinical research has demonstrated that GHK-Cu is able to pass through the lipid barrier of the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin) and to reach epidermal cells. Moreover, GHK-Cu complex appears to be the only peptide-copper complex that can penetrate stratum corneum membranes.  At present, GHK-Cu undoubtedly has more scientific support data than any peptide used in today’s cosmetic practice.

ghk-cu 2

Skin benefits

As mentioned above Copper Peptides first gained prominence in the field of medicine as a wound healing agent but fortunately it is not necessary to suffer significant skin trauma to enjoy the benefits of this remarkable active agent.

Skin Remodelling

Research shows that copper peptides have the ability to break down large agglomerations of collagen fibres. Scar tissue is primarily composed of disordered bundles of collagen as the skins primary concern is to repair damaged skin as quickly as possible and is less concerned with appearance. So at the site of any wounds or burns we have visibly different areas of skin to the rest of the local area.acne_scars

If copper peptides have the ability to break down badly organised collagen fibres and allow normal skin remodelling to take place the potential benefits are enormous.

Although unlikely to be able to remodel deep scars ( post operative scars, or those formed following significant trauma) it is reasonable to expect some reduction in scar tissue and the emergence of a more ‘normal’ skin profile to take place. So improvements to post acne scars, stretch marks, and minor imperfections is achievable.

In order to effect the best possible outcome it may be necessary to injure the skin once again at the wound site.

Skin needling is a technique whereby a stainless steel roller embedded with tiny needles is rolled across the skin creating thousands of microscopically small punctures. The skin detects this minor damage and triggers a repair response to manufacture collagen and elastin fibres to repair the tiny punctures. Applying copper peptides to the area will enhance the repair process by degrading the poorly organised collagen and elastin fibres that resulted in the scarring and ensuring that new newly formed collagen and elastin is better formed. Over time and with repeated applications the damaged collagen will be replaced and a better skin profile will develop.

Derma_RollerSkin needling rollers are available with various needle sizes. For complexions it is recommended to use a needle length of 0.2mm to 0.3mm whilst for the body (buttocks, thighs, and stomach, a needle length of 0.5mm to 1mm is recommended. Please be aware that the longer the needle length the likelier the skin will bleed. Stick to short needle lengths for the complexion

There is a secondary benefit which will enhance the process. The skin is designed to prevent penetration by chemicals and depending on the molecular size of those chemicals the skin will prevent much absorption by even beneficial skincare active ingredients. The creation of thousands of tiny holes dramatically increases the ability of active ingredients to pass through the stratum corneum (the thin layer of skin composed of already dead skin cells that functions as a barrier) and reach the epidermis where the active ingredients are needed.

A therapy consisting of applying a copper peptide serum immediately after needling the skin offers the best possible chance of improving minor scarring. This method ought to work on stretch marks too. Stretch marks are formed when the skin is stretched following weight gain, pregnancy, or growth spurts. The tell tale marks are actually tears in the collagen fibres. Copper peptides will degrade the damaged collagen fibres and allow better organised collagen fibres to replace them.

Copper Peptides and General Improvements to the Complexion

A clinical study by Abdulghani et al. established that facial cream containing GHK-Cu increased collagen in photo-aged skin of 20 female volunteers, performing better than vitamin C and retinoic acid.

Leyden et al. conducted a 12-week facial study of GHK-Cu containing face and eye cream, reporting significant improvement of skin laxity, clarity and appearance, reduced fine lines and the depths of wrinkles and increased skin density and thickness comparing to placebo. GHK-Cu eye cream performed better than vitamin K cream.

Collagen-cream

Applying a collagen cream

Finkley et al. conducted a 12 week facial study on 67 women and reported that GHK-Cu cream applied twice daily improved aged skin appearance, increased thickness, reduced wrinkles and strongly stimulated skin cell growth. The same study found copper peptide GHK-Cu to be non-toxic and non-irritating.

 

Whether or not copper peptides are the elixir of youth is debatable but the science and supporting evidence from clinical trials suggest that significant improvements to the complexion are achievable.

Reduction of minor scars

Reduction of lines and wrinkles

Increased skin density

Clearer and more radiant complexions

Copper peptides are readily available in creams and serums and ought to be considered as an important and valuable addition to your skincare routine.

Copper Peptide Serums with GHK-Cu in Hyaluronic Acid are available are available at

Sensora Ltd

www.sr-skincare.co.uk

Vitamin C Serums – is Vitamin C the best anti-ageing ingredient?

Skincare products

An array of skincare products

Whenever a new product hits the health care market, it doesn’t take long before the huge amount of choices becomes a little bit overwhelming. The best example of this, over the past couple of decades, is the anti-ageing industry. Scientists are constantly discovering new ways to beat the years, and turn back the clocks with different skin care ingredients, but with every new discovery, comes a myriad of new products which claim to completely reverse ageing, and several other benefits. However, every once in a while, a product comes along which actually works, and can withstand the competition from the cash hungry salesman that are constantly pushing new, supposedly genius innovations.

One of the most popular skin care products of the past several years have been Vitamin C Serums, which has been touted as one of the best discoveries in the skin care industry. It’s difficult to find someone who has given this cheap, yet powerful product a try without seeing fantastic results.

Oranges vitamin c

Benefits of Vitamin C Serums for the skin

So what exactly does vitamin C serum do, and why is it so effective?

We have known since we were little children that vitamin C is incredibly good for us, and we should be aiming to consume as much of it as possible in our daily eating habits. We knew Vitamin C was packed full of antioxidants, and it was abundant in oranges, but apart from that, we never really learned anything else about it. Little was known about the skin care benefits of Vitamin C until recent years, when researches discovered the profound effects that a topical Vitamin C serum can provide. Without sounding too scientifically advanced, let’s take a look at 3 of the main benefits of Vitamin C serums for the skin:

It Brightens Your Skin:

Glowing Complexion

Glowing Complexion

 A Vitamin C serum, that is applied topically has been shown to reverse the signs of ageing by reducing the appearance of age spots, hyper-pigmentation and dark circles.

When applied to the skin, Vitamin C will act as a natural bleaching agent, and will ultimately reduce the visibility of any signs of ageing. Vitamin C serums have also been shown to prevent, or at least minimize the damaged caused by mild sun damage, reducing the apparent redness that tends to follow a day out in the sun.

It Naturally Produces Collagen:

With ageing, the body will naturally slow down it’s production of collagen. When we are young, our skin looks plump, and it looks healthy. The compound that is responsible for such young looking skin, is collagen, but as time passes, our natural production slows down, and we need to look at external sources to compensate.

Collagen and Elastic

The ECM framework

For a lot of people, cosmetic enhancement is the first choice. It’s expensive, and it’s unsafe. For those who want to achieve that plump, healthy look without resorting to natural enhancements, Vitamin C serums can help to stimulate the bodies natural production of collagen, which has been shown to reduce the sped at which we develop wrinkles, and other signs of ageing.

It Protects You From Free Radicals:

Free Radicals

Free Radical Activity

It’s pretty much impossible to escape the onslaught of free radicals that are produced by the environmental factors that are outside of our control. Pollution, unhealthy foods and sun damage are all contributing factors to the production of dangerous free radicals in our bodies, and without taking precautions, these free radicals could dramatically increase your risk of developing fatal conditions such as Cancer. Vitamin C serums have been shown to combat the production of free radicals in the skin, thanks to the huge amount of antioxidants it carries. Stopping the production of free radicals will not only make you feel healthier, it will also drastically improve the appearance of your skin, by offering you the other two benefits previously mentioned.

While Vitamin C serums are no replacement for a healthy lifestyle, they can certainly play their part in helping you achieve the natural, healthy look that we all desire. There is no need for a cupboard full of beauty products, which could potentially do more harm than good. Save yourself some time, and save yourself some money by choosing a well formulated Vitamin C Serum.

Collagen creams – don’t believe the hype

Over the last few years there has been a steady increase in the number of collagen creams entering the market. Such products are marketed to give the impression to the unwary consumer that the (animal derived) collagen contained in the cream can act in the same way as our own naturally occurring collagen

Often described as the ‘elixir of youth’ these creams claim to be able to restore the collagen levels in your skin and thereby reduce fine lines and wrinkles, reverse sagging, and tighten and tone the skin. One would assume from these descriptions that your skin can somehow absorb the collagen and incorporate it into your existing collagen framework. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth

What is Collagen?

There are various types of collagen but for our purposes we will focus on the type of collagen that dubious creams claim to be able to rebuild.

Collagen and Elastic

The ECM framework

Collagen, together with elastin, is a major component of the Extra Cellular Matrix (ECM) a lattice of protein fibres that give the skin it’s structure, strength, and elasticity. Hyaluronic acid is also a major component of the structure.

In our youth this matrix maintains it’s structural integrity and so our skin remains supple and well structured. But as we age the ability of our skin to repair and maintain this intricate lattice diminishes as a result of various biological inefficiencies.

Collagen - young v old

Effect of ageing to the structure of the skin

As our skin remains susceptible to intrinsic (chronological) ageing and extrinsic (environmental assaults from sunlight, pollution, etc) ageing our skin factories simply can not keep up with the ongoing damage to the ECM and collagen and elastin levels decline. The matrix begins to break down with a consequent loss of structural integrity and elasticity. The visible evidence of this breakdown is the appearance of lines and wrinkles and sagging of the complexion.

Why can’t topically applied collagen repair the damage?

The notion that a cream containing third party (animal derived) collagen can somehow penetrate the skin to a sufficient depth and thereupon miraculously weave itself into the complex structure that is the ECM is as spurious as imagining that we could throw a ball of wool into the air and have a fully knitted cardigan fall to the floor. Animal derived collagen is not that dissimilar to gelatin and one might as well take a strawberry jelly and massage it into the complexion – good luck with that one!

Collagen-cream

Applying a collagen cream

The fact is that the ECM is such a complex structure that the only possibility for repairing the ECM is by encouraging the skins own biological processes to increase the manufacture of collagen and elastin.

How the skin makes collagen

Within the skin are specialised cells known as fibroblasts. Fibroblasts secrete the precursors (building blocks) that will be modified to form collagen and elastin fibres. Collagen is composed of chains of amino acids (as all proteins are), most notably glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine. Some of these amino acids are available in the skin whilst some have to be created by the skin by converting or combining other amino acids. In simplistic terms the skin will combine long chains of amino acids in a particular sequence to make long strands of collagen and elastin which will then be ‘woven’ into the ECM to replace or repair existing fibres.

So the notion that the skin’s own process of manufacture can be made redundant by applying gelatin to the skin is plain daft.

How can we encourage the collagen manufacturing process?

Thee are two approaches

Controlled injury.

This method involves deliberately injuring the skin to provoke a response. The methods are generally safe as the ‘injury’ inflicted on the skin is minor and is simply designed to force the skin to react in the way that we want. Mild chemical peels, dermabrasion, and other exfoliating methods strip away the surface layer of skin to reveal the layer immediately below. The skin reacts by making new skin in the lower layers and this process necessitates the manufacture of collagen and elastin. By regularly provoking the skin in this way we can increase the amount of collagen and elastin that would otherwise be made.

An alternative method to exfoliation is via the use of skin needling rollers and stamps. These devices create tiny punctures in the skin which necessitate the manufacture of collagen and elastin to repair the holes. By regular employment we can make the collagen building process more efficient as the skin becomes used to having to make more collagen.

Chemical intervention.

The emergence of peptides onto the skincare market has transformed the sector. Peptides are very small chains of amino acids that acts as messengers to the skin cells and tell them how to function. There are several peptides that act as messengers to the fibroblasts and trigger them to make collagen and elastin. Matrixyl 3000 has dominated this particular market for a decade though there are several other peptides that perform similar functions. As peptides are very much smaller molecules than collagen they can penetrate the outer surface layer and pass on their message.

There are hundreds of skincare products available on the market containing collagen boosting peptides. The rationale behind them is well considered and is backed by positive clinical data testifying to the ability of peptides to increase collagen manufacture.

Only part of the solution

However one factor is invariably overlooked when looking to provoke the collagen manufacturing process. It’s all very well triggering the response, but it is essential that once the machines have been switched on so to speak, they are supplied with the raw materials.

Collagen is composed of chains of amino acids and it is therefore essential that sufficient amounts of certain amino acids are available to the skin. We consume amino acids in our diet but as other parts of the body will have first claim on the amino acids little will be available for the skin. Fortunately amino acids being smaller than collagen or even peptides can be absorbed by the skin and so topical application of a cream or serum containing amino acids will provide the raw materials the skin needs for the conversion process.

The role of vitamin c in the collagen manufacturing process

There are lots of online references about vitamin c’s ability to increase collagen in the skin and it is certainly true that it plays a crucial role. However it is not the case that vitamin c has the capacity to make collagen. Vitamin c’s importance is rather as a catalyst in the conversion process by which certain amino acids are combined into the required components for collagen manufacture.

Without sufficient levels of ascorbic acid in the skin the process will be compromised. Vitamin c is ingested from our diet, but as with amino acids, other parts of the body will claim it first. Little vitamin c will actually make it to the skin. Topical application of vitamin c via creams and serums will ensure that sufficient levels are available in the skin to enable the collagen manufacturing process.

A realistic (and effective) approach.

If we accept the argument that applying third party collagen to the skin will not effect an improvement in the extra-cellular matrix, will not improve the suppleness and elasticity of the skin, and will not lead to a visible reduction in the appearance of lines and wrinkles then we need to employ an effective strategy to make those improvements.

There are two basic approaches

Kickstarting the process by ‘injuring the skin.

Chemical peels, dermabrasion, and skin needling will trigger the collagen building process.

Application of a glycolic acidd peel

Application of a chemical peel

Chemical peels such as glycolic acid, and dermabrasion will require at least 6 once per week sessions. Skin needling can be employed 2 or 3 times per week over a 6 week period. Extending the intervention ensures that the collagen building is maintained at a heightened level for that time period which is sufficient time tp make a realistic difference. It is worth noting that benefits to the skin will extend beyond simply triggering collagen building. Peels and dermabrasion by removing the tired and dull surface layers of skin will result in a brighter, softer, and smoother complexion.

Amino acid creams can be applied daily or twice daily. and vitamin c serum ought to be applied daily. (Recent research suggests that topically applied Vitamin c remains available within the skin for 2 or 3 days so one could apply a serum on alternate days)

Use of Peptides to trigger the process

There are numerous products available on the market containing collagen boosting peptides. Look for Matrixyl 3000, Syn-coll, Matrixyl Synthe, amongst others. Apply daily or twice daily as desired or follow the makers recommendations.

And apply amino acid creams and vitamin c serum as above.

Avoid products which claim to combine high levels of ascorbic acid and peptides. Vitamin C serums are fairly acidic products and peptides will be affected by the acid environment. It is likely that the peptides will be destroyed. It is a concern that some manufacturers are not aware of this potential.

Please visit www.sr-skincare.co.uk as we have a range of products from chemical peels, skin needling rollers, peptide creams and serums, amino acid creams, and vitamin c serums available.