I’m a lover of antioxidants and the benefits they provide for the skin.

I drink smoothies on the daily and I’m always looking for skincare that packs a punch. There are too many environmental stressors out there for us not to be fueling up on antioxidants in every way we know how. And since antioxidants protect against free radical damage, they’re automatically a great ingredient for anti-aging purposes. Many of them, like copper peptides, help stimulate collagen.

SEE ALSO: Why is no one talking about Freck Beauty’s secretly amazing skincare line?

Copper peptides? Seems like a strange ingredient. You’re probably familiar with peptides but not of this exact variety. And if you’re anything like me, you roll your eyes at facemasks that claim to contain “24K gold” or sheet masks that look like tin foil. But for some reason, this metallic ingredient doesn’t make me cringe. It has a lot of science behind it and I can actually look up why brands are using it.

When I heard the ingredient was trending, I found out many of the products I already use contain them. Just recently are brands beginning to market them and show off the name. I chatted with Dr. Caren Campbell to get some real answers on how copper peptides can help us all with our anti-aging skincare efforts and improve our skin barriers.

What are copper peptides?

“Peptides are the building blocks of proteins and they help activate pathways that result in changes in the way the body is functioning,” says Dr. Campbell. Our body naturally produces a form of copper peptides – they can be found in our saliva. Copper peptides are seen as a restoring ingredient, and like most peptides, they can help to rebuild our skincare barriers, stimulate collagen production, and aid in smoothing the skin’s texture.

What kind of ingredient is it?

Copper peptides are the ultimate restoring ingredient for the skin. First and foremost, they smooth any rough texture you may have. They improve skin firmness and elasticity while repairing important proteins needed for optimal skin barrier functioning. Added anti-aging benefits include reducing fine lines and improving the depth of wrinkles.

Due to its antioxidant benefits, copper peptides reduce signs of sun damage, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation. Personally, I’ve seen great benefits in how fast the ingredient heals my cystic acne. Copper peptides have wound healing benefits and sometimes when a cystic acne pimple pops, it can take a long time to heal itself and calm down.

What kind of products are copper peptides in?

“Copper peptides are found predominantly in anti-aging creams and under-eye creams.  It is also in after-sun products, post-procedure creams (post laser resurfacing creams), and hair growth serums,” says Dr. Campbell. They’re also cropping up in serums as of late.

If a brand doesn’t say copper peptides but you see “Matrixyl 3000 in the product descriptions and ingredient list, that’s it!

VGL approved picks:

Overt Repair + Soothe Serum ($49)

I don’t always want to reach for my vitamin C serum or something with crazy exfoliating properties. Sometimes I just want a little TLC, and that’s when I use a gentle soothing serum. I love using this one at night when I feel my skin needs to calm down a bit from the day it has had. It is great for layering and I always put a heavy cream over top to seal it in. It leaves your skin looking plump and you feel good knowing your skin barrier is in check.

The Ordinary Buffet Serum ($14.80)

This is a must-have in your skincare collection as it’s crazy affordable. You’ll notice your skin looks a bit more lifted after using this serum and it’s really gentle. The peptide complex includes more than just copper as well. It’s truly a do-it-all kind of product for restoring skin that needs some love.

Aesop Elemental Facial Barrier Cream ($60)

This is a rich cream that comforts your skin like no other. It feels like a cloud and has a warm scent too. It helps calm redness and repair harsh damage and irritation like windburn or stressed skin. This is the ideal cream for winter and soothing skin as it comes in from the cold.

TLDR;

– Copper peptides are the anti-aging ingredient you should know

– It’s ideal for restoring our skin and repairing our skin barrier

– It has powerful antioxidant powers and helps smooth texture

– They’re great at stimulating collagen

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