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Copper peptides or retinol?

March 26, 2018 Reviewed by Marta 6 Comments

My favorite anti-aging ingredient has long been copper peptides. Recently, I have become a convert to the newer and safer forms of retinol. These are actives that deserve serious consideration and investment for our skincare regimens. And many of you do, judging by email inbox. Copper peptides or retinols is a question that I am often asked for guidance on. Well, these actives are very different as this article explains. Read on to find out which is the most appropriate for you.

What are copper peptides?

Copper peptides have an impressive clinical pedigree going back to the 1970s. They are proven wound healers, can help hair growth and have been in skin care products for past 20 years. Today, they are regarded as one of the most potent skin regeneration actives, and much more is understood about how they work and how we can get the most out of them as an anti-aging active for skin and hair.

Cleveland Clinic points out that studies have shown copper peptide promotes collagen and elastin production and also acts as an antioxidant. It also promotes production of glycosaminoglycans. Clinical studies have found that copper peptides also remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue because they activate the skin’s system responsible for those functions. Copper is the key mineral in lysyl oxidase, an enzyme that weaves together collagen and elastin.

Why you need them

Choose copper peptides if you have pronounced wrinkles and/or sagging skin.

What is retinol?

Retinol is widely recognized as a reliable anti-aging ingredient. It has a specific molecular structure that enables it to penetrate the skin and act as a deep exfoliator. This action speeds up skin cell turnover and encourages the formation of new collagen. The problem is that there can be side effects, including sun sensitivity, extreme dryness, redness and irritation, as well as thinning of the skin over time. Sensitive types, like me, have long been hesitant to use retinol creams and treatments. But times are changing: There are new, gentler forms of retinol that effectively overcome such adverse effects. Now, even I am becoming a convert.   

Retinol is vitamin A in its whole molecule form, which can be broken down into thousands of smaller components, including retinoic acid (or Tretinoin, the active ingredient in Renova and Retin-A). 

There are the new variations to look out for including retinaldehyde, r-retinoate and bakuchiol, as well as the new ways of delivering them such as smart encapsulation or buffering techniques.

Why you need it

Choose a retinol product if you have fine lines, rough and reddened skin, hyperpigmentation.

  • April 30, 2018

    by Marta

    Hi Robin, you should be focusing on antioxidants for prevention. Copper peptides work best when they have something to repair, but they also help collagen production. So incorporate them into your regime a few times a week.

  • April 29, 2018

    by robin makki

    Almost 50 here, and while I do not (yet) have pronounced wrinkles or sagging skin, was wondering if copper peptides also work to prevent/delay those conditions or should I focus on retinol now, and use CP when big guns are needed? Thanks, R.

  • March 28, 2018

    by Carol Smith-Blum



    Excellent newsletter !!! I thought retin A, thinned the skin, over time, and that retinols, increased collagen, so therefore,
    strengthened the skin, with consistent use. I will need to learn about the safer retinols, so, hopefully, my skin, doesn't
    sag, more in some places, on my face and body. I am trying so hard to learn about the appropriate products to use on my face,
    as well, as excercises. It is not an easy balance. I try to incorporate copper peptides, into my skin regime, as well, especially, in
    my hair line, where I am noticing some skimpy patches of hair growth.

    I do love your newsletters, and buy your products, through out the year. I am amazed at your knowledge, you really do, go into depth
    when discussing the ingredients, in the products, and how they cross link with the chemical make up of the body systems. I find it very
    interesting, and beneficial, when choosing the best products to purchase.

    Marta, thank you for all you do, you are not only a skin care advocate, but a teacher as well.

    Warm regards,

    Carol Smith-Blum

  • March 28, 2018

    by Marta

    Hi Claudia
    This article has a link to a more detailed one called the Truth About Copper Peptides and this explains that there is no problem using CP with vitamin C. It would be fine to alternate retinol with CP.

  • March 27, 2018

    by Claudia

    Please clarify how to use copper peptides. Which substances interfere with the actions of copper peptides? Can copper peptides be used with Vitamin C or nicotinamides? Is it better to use them in them AM or PM? How about alternating them with retinol? Thanks.

  • March 27, 2018

    by Victoria

    great info I need help with finding a way to take care of my aging , I am 55. Everything is so expensive

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