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Copper was lauded for its anti-microbial benefits as far back as ancient times, and the first mention of its medicinal use for sterilizing wounds and drinking water appeared in the Smith Papyrus, an Egyptian medical text written between 2600 and 2200 B.C. Greek, Roman, Aztec and other civilizations used copper for hygienic purposes as well, so it was only a matter of time until this metal found its way into modern skincare and beauty products.
Copper can be found in various forms depending on the purpose of the product. Copper peptides are widely used in age-reversing products due to their ability to stimulate the antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD). This mineral also works synergistically with vitamin C to promote collagen production. As far as copper peptides’ anti-aging benefits are concerned, New York City dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo says, “Copper peptides may reduce inflammation and speed up wound healing, which may help the skin look and feel younger and fresher. The argument for copper peptides is that they are small molecules important for various body functions, and if they are applied to the skin as topicals, they can enter the skin easily and improve its functioning.”
However, Dr. Peredo takes these potential upsides with a grain of salt. “There are no studies that have compared copper peptides’ efficacy to other non-copper peptides or potent antioxidants. Studies that are done are often commissioned by the product manufacturers, or done on a small scale without peer review.”
In addition to its peptide form, copper ions have been found to play a role in the skin’s renewal process as well as the growth of natural proteins, so these positively-charged molecules have been incorporated into fabric-based products that come in contact with the skin’s surface and other innovative delivery systems.
Dr. Peredo’s advice: “I recommend trying out a copper product for one to three months without changing other parts of the beauty routine to decide whether it works for you.”
Read on for four of our favorite copper-based beauty enhancers, and see how this ingredient can make your skin and hair shine.
iS Clinical Copper Firming Mist ($32)
For a copper-infused skin-protection boost anytime and anywhere, a few spritzes of this mist should do the trick. Infused with copper PCA and botanically-based antioxidants, this spray shields skin from the damaging effects of free radicals and environmental pollution as it works to preserve your skin’s collagen.
Kiehl’s Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Cream SPF 30 ($58)
Moisture, broad-spectrum sun protection, antioxidants and anti-aging all come together in this multi-tasking daily hydrator. Featuring copper PCA to support the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers, this wrinkle-smoothing, texture-refining powerhouse also works to boost the feeling of skin firmness, and it’s been clinically proven to improve elasticity by almost 20 percent.
Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase ($60)
You should be sleeping for seven to eight hours a night, so why not make the most of this time with an anti-aging pillowcase? This innovative fabric’s fibers are embedded with copper to help maintain a youthful appearance and smooth fine line lines, wrinkles and skin texture. Independent double-blind controlled trials have shown that it improves the overall appearance of the skin in four weeks, and you can also get the benefits of this patented textile in an eye mask and hand-rejuvenating gloves as well.
HedLux CopperHed Hair Care ($30 – $250)
Harnessing the power of copper to fight thinning and greys, this haircare system features a daily leave-in treatment, blowdryer and flat iron to provide both the scalp and hair with a dose of the precious metal. The pre-styling solution is formulated with copper tripeptide, copper salicylate, copper zinc enzyme and more to promote the production of natural pigment (and ward off greys) while supporting the follicles for healthy hair growth. The styling tools have the copper ceramic technology to generate ions that inhibit bacteria and leave hair soft, silkier and shinier than ever.
Note: HedLux products were provided for review. All other products were purchased or sampled in store. All opinions are my own.