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I have long been convinced by copper peptides for wrinkle repair and hair regrowth. But for a few other believers, such as Osmotics and Skin Biology, it was lonely in the copper camp until just recently when Dr. Oz featured copper peptides on his TV show and Harper’s Bazaar magazine woke up to “copper, the new skin saver” with, I was amused to see, a copper-infused pillow.
What’s not to like about hitting the sack and getting your beauty sleep? But I was skeptical about the idea of an anti-aging pillowcase infused with copper oxide fibers. The Iluminage pillowcase ($60) uses a polyester fabric with copper called Cupron.
Cupron has conducted some research, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, showing that over an 8-week period, sleepers on copper pillows showed decreased crow’s feet.
Since it would not be possible that copper fibers could actually penetrate the skin and repair wrinkles in the way that a topical peptide serum might, I wondered how the Cupron pillow might work. According to Iluminage: “When skin is in contact with the copper oxide fibers, copper ions are liberated into the moisture space between the fabric and the skin. Copper ions released into this moisture help support skin’s natural self-renewal mechanism and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”
Then I found some independent research that sort of corroborates this. A study published in Toxicology In Vitro was looking at the safety of copper oxide nanoparticles when topically applied to the skin. The researchers concluded that there was no penetration of the copper oxide, but that nevertheless changes to the skin were observed. The scientists speculated that the copper adhered to the skin’s surface, reacted with the “local acidic environment” and generated soluble ions that could penetrate the skin.
The other thing to note is that copper has been infused into clothing – e.g., socks – due to its anti-fungal actions.
I’m not completely convinced, but I'm much less dismissive of Ilumage than when I started on this post. I still can’t decide whether to make the investment in a copper pillowcase – perhaps I’ll just sleep on it.