Ingredient Focus: Copper Peptides

Often referred to as ‘nature's Botox’, copper peptides has fast become the anti-ageing term on everyone’s lips. But plenty remains unknown about this powerhouse ingredient outside the beauty industry – which is why we asked the experts to explain all…
By Sapna Rao

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They Occur Naturally

“Peptides are short chains of amino acids. Think of them as the essential building blocks needed by the skin to maintain its health. These are naturally found in the skin and support a wide range of essential biological functions, including the skin’s barrier function.” – The Experts At The Ordinary

They Can Minimise Signs Of Ageing

“As we age, the level of amino acids and therefore copper peptides in our skin starts to decline. Therefore, using them in your skincare routine will help produce more collagen and elastin, thereby helping your skin look firmer, suppler and more youthful.” – Dr Usman Qureshi, aesthetic doctor & founder of Luxe Skin by Dr Q

The Benefits Don’t End There

“Copper peptides also help fortify the skin's defences against external stressors, promoting a healthier appearance and protecting against the damaging effects of environmental aggressors, including UV damage and harsh pollutants” – The Experts At The Ordinary

“Copper is also known to speed up wound healing by normalising the level of bacteria on your skin. This in turn helps combat spots and blemishes – as well as the scars sometimes left behind by old breakouts.” – Claire Williams, skincare specialist & founder of WOW Facial

“Peptides are essential for strengthening the skin’s defences, maintaining hydration, resilience and its overall appearance. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, helping to reduce redness and skin discolouration.” – Qureshi

They’re Different To Other Peptides

Much like other peptides within the body, which perform specific biological functions, the peptides used in cosmetic products also provide specific benefits. Some peptides work to enhance skin tone, while others balance texture, target signs of ageing, support the skin barrier, or promote thicker-looking hair. Combined, these technologies can address cosmetic concerns from multiple angles, which is what makes them so incredible.” – The Experts At The Ordinary

There Is A Way To Add Them To Your Routine

“If you’re trying a copper peptide product for the first time, the easiest way to work one into your routine is to try a serum or moisturiser that explicitly contains them. You can then slowly weave this into your daily skincare regime.” – Qureshi

“A copper peptide product should be applied before or after thicker creams and serums. As for our own copper peptide products, we suggest using them after cleansing and before other serums or creams morning and night.” – The Experts At The Ordinary

Finally, There Are Some No-Nos

“We don’t recommend combining copper peptides with direct acids, retinoids, pure or ethylated vitamin C and strong antioxidants. Should any of these ingredients be present in an existing routine, they should be applied separately. For example, one in the morning and the other in the evening.” – The Experts At The Ordinary

“Vitamin C, retinol or AHAs are stimulatory ingredients (peptides), so it's better to avoid using too many at once. Generally, copper peptides pair well with hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. There is also evidence that suggests copper peptides can enhance the benefits of hyaluronic acid on the skin.” – Qureshi

“Typically, those looking to try a copper peptide should avoid it if they have overly sensitive skin. They should also not be used on skin that is compromised, broken or peeling. If you aren't sure if it’s right for you, ask a dermatologist or skin doctor first.” – Claire


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