The Copper Peptide: Exploring Benefits of GHK-Cu for Skin and Hair Health

GHK-Cu Copper Peptide Powder

Copper peptides like GHK-Cu (glycyl-l-histidyl-l-lysine) are small, naturally occurring tri-peptides found in human plasma that may promote skin regeneration and wound healing [1] [2] [3]. GHK-Cu (copper peptide) content is highest in the plasma of young, healthy individuals and declines with age, potentially signaling the need for skin repair [1]. This article explores the benefits of GHK-Cu peptide (copper peptide) for skin care, collagen production, wound healing, and hair growth. It delves into the science behind this copper-peptide complex, its cosmetic applications, and potential for promoting tissue repair [2] [3].


Skin Regeneration and Cosmetic Applications

Revitalizing Skin with GHK-Cu

GHK-Cu, the copper-bound form of the tripeptide glycyl-l-histidyl-l-lysine, offers remarkable benefits for skin regeneration and cosmetic applications. This potent complex has been shown to:
  1. Tighten loose skin and reverse thinning of aged skin [1], [4]
  2. Repair protective skin barrier proteins [1]
  3. Improve skin firmness, elasticity, and clarity [1], [2], [3], [4], [6]
  4. Reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and improve aged skin structure [1], [3], [4]
  5. Smooth rough skin [1]
  6. Reduce photodamage, hyperpigmentation, and skin lesions [1], [4]

GHK-Cu stimulates the synthesis of collagen, glycosaminoglycans, and the small proteoglycan decorin, while modulating metalloproteinases and anti-proteases, helping to regulate protein breakdown in skin [1], [2]. This synergistic action contributes to an overall improvement in skin appearance [1].

Various clinical studies have demonstrated GHK-Cu's ability to increase skin density, thickness, elasticity, and reduce wrinkles, effectively enhancing the appearance of aging skin [1], [2], [5]. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties further protect skin cells from UV radiation and free radical damage [1], [3], [4], [6].

GHK-Cu's ability to stimulate collagen and elastin production, combined with its wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, make it a powerful ingredient in cosmetic formulations [2], [3], [5], [6]. Topical creams and serums containing GHK-Cu can improve skin firmness, reduce wrinkles, and provide anti-aging effects, while also promoting hair growth and thickness [7], [8].

Wound Healing and Tissue Repair

Accelerating Wound Healing

GHK-Cu exhibits potent wound healing and tissue repair properties through several mechanisms. Animal studies confirm its ability to accelerate wound healing by stimulating antioxidant enzymes, promoting blood vessel growth, and regulating matrix metalloproteinases [1], [2]. This copper-peptide complex also facilitates nerve and blood vessel growth, which is crucial for skin regeneration and healing [1].

Protective and Regenerative Actions

GHK-Cu's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions protect cells from oxidative damage, a key factor in wound healing and tissue repair [1]. It can reverse gene expression changes associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), activating the TGF-β pathway and restoring lung fibroblast function [1]. Additionally, GHK-Cu possesses anti-cancer properties, suppressing metastasis-associated genes and enhancing apoptosis in cancer cells [1], [9].

Enhancing Wound Healing

  • Accelerates wound healing in various animal models, including rabbits, rats, mice, pigs, and dogs [2]Improves healing of diabetic and ischemic wounds in rats [2]Serves as a natural modulator of dermal repair, present in the extracellular matrix and released upon injury [2]

Resetting the Human Genome

  • Up- and down-regulates a significant number of human genes, resetting the genome back to health [9]Supports DNA repair, protecting skin cells against cancer development due to environmental factors like UV radiation [9]

Stimulating Skin Regeneration

  • Stimulates collagen, glycosaminoglycan, and decorin synthesis, modulating metalloproteinases and anti-proteases [4]Increases skin fibroblast viability, basic fibroblast growth factor production, and collagen synthesis [4]Stimulates epidermal basal cells, increasing their stemness [4]

Biochemical studies demonstrate that GHK-Cu stimulates collagen synthesis, protein accumulation, glycosaminoglycan production, and DNA synthesis in dermal wounds [10]. When incorporated into collagen wound dressings, it stimulated wound contraction, cell proliferation, and antioxidant enzyme expression in diabetic rats [10].

Injections of GHK-Cu can assist with wound healing, skin repair, breakdown of collagen and glycosaminoglycans, and potentially improve tissue repair and fight against cancer [8].

More about GHK-Cu

GHK (glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine) is a naturally occurring tripeptide found in human plasma, saliva, and urine [2]. However, its levels decline with age, from around 200 ng/mL at age 20 to 80 ng/mL by age 60 [4]. This decrease may contribute to the reduced skin repair ability observed in aging [4].

Resetting the Human Genome

GHK has been proposed as a therapeutic agent for various conditions, including COPD, skin inflammation, and metastatic colon cancer [2]. This is because GHK is capable of up- and downregulating at least 4,000 human genes, essentially resetting DNA to a healthier state [2].

Gene Regulation

Upregulates and downregulates over 4,000 human genes [2]Resets the genome to a healthier state [2]

Potential Therapeutic Applications

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) [2]Skin inflammation [2]Metastatic colon cancer [2]

Copper Complexation and Delivery

GHK can form complexes with copper, which facilitates copper uptake into cells and silences copper's redox activity, allowing for nontoxic delivery [2]. The copper binding of GHK-Cu involves the glycine, histidine, and lysine residues, enabling it to transfer copper into and out of cells [10]. Copper is vital for many enzymes and biological processes, and GHK-Cu's ability to modulate copper levels is key to its biological activity [10].

Stimulating Collagen and Glycosaminoglycans

GHK stimulates both synthesis and breakdown of collagen and glycosaminoglycans, modulating the activity of metalloproteinases and their inhibitors [2]. It stimulates collagen, dermatan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and the small proteoglycan decorin [2]. This balanced regulation of collagen and glycosaminoglycans is crucial for skin health and wound healing.

Therapeutic Dosage and Formulations

The effective dosage of GHK for therapeutic effects is estimated to be around 100-200 mg [2]. GHK-Cu is available as a 10 mg/mL injection, to be delivered subcutaneously, with a suggested dosage of 0.2 mL once per day [8]. It is also available as a 5 mg/mL (0.05%) topical foam and facial cream, to be applied once per night [8]. Additionally, GHK can be incorporated into topical gels, dermal patches, collagen membranes, and oral formulations like liposomes [2].


Q: Can GHK-Cu promote hair growth?

A: Yes, GHK-Cu is highly effective in signaling tissue regrowth and remodeling throughout the body, which includes promoting hair growth. It has even been found to be more effective at stimulating hair growth than the active ingredient in Rogaine.

Q: What is the typical timeframe for seeing results from GHK-Cu?

A: The full benefits of GHK-Cu treatments are generally visible within 3 to 6 months of consistent use.

Q: What is the recommended daily dosage of GHK-Cu for injections?

A: For injectable GHK-Cu, the suggested dosage is 0.2 mL administered subcutaneously once a day. If using a topical foam, it should be applied nightly with about 2-3 pumps.

Q: What are the functions and benefits of GHK copper peptide?

A: GHK-Cu, in combination with copper 2+, is known to significantly enhance wound healing and skin graft acceptance, reduce inflammation, and promote the contraction of healing tissues.


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