January 13, 2023

What are peptides?

  • Amino acids are the building blocks of life. Amino acids form peptides and peptides produce proteins. There are various types of peptides and they all have different functions. To name a few benefits of peptides, these short chain amino acids can moisturize the skin, stimulate collagen production, and stop muscle contraction. Peptides are a new strategy in cosmetic science and technology to generate more youthful looking skin. Not all peptides are the same and it is important to be aware of what kind of peptides you are putting on your skin to obtain those desired benefits.

General Information

What are the different types of cosmetic peptides?

  • Copper tripeptide-1 or GHK (glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine) copper on increases production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid in the skin. GHK copper increases firmness and elasticity of the skin and also helps to eliminate fine lines and wrinkles. Too much copper tripeptide does not produce free radicals but too much copper on its own can generate highly reactive or unstable cells which is damaging to the skin. Copper paired with GHK is an antioxidant and so it prevents and removes free radicals.
  • Argirelene (hexapeptide-8) and Leuphasyl (pentapeptide-3) are referred to as the Botox peptides. These peptides have a similar function and role to the main ingredient that is found in Botox.

What are the benefits of peptides for the skin?

  • Tightens loose skin and improves elasticity
  • Improves skin density and firmness
  • Reduces fine lines and deep wrinkles
  • Improves skin clarity
  • Reduces photodamage and hyperpigmentation
  • Increases the production of keratin

Frequently Asked Questions

What does copper do for the skin?

  • Believe it or not, copper has multiple roles in our skin. Copper is an essential cofactor for enzymes involved in collagen synthesis and elastin synthesis. Collagen and elastin give our skin volume, structure, and balance which is important for skin health. Copper is also necessary to have an even skin tone.

Is an injection the only option available to take peptides?

  • No. Peptides can be taken in multiple ways and injecting yourself is not the only route of administration. Peptides are available in topical (creams, foams), nasal (sprays), transdermal (patches), and oral formulations (tablets, capsules). For skin health purposes, peptides are commonly applied in the form of a cream. A lot of peptides can easily be added to your daily skin routine.

Can retinol be used with GHK copper?

  • Retinol and GHK copper complement one another. GHK copper can be applied in the morning and retinol can be applied at night. GHK copper and retinol both boost collagen production. Those who are unable to tolerate retinol, GHK copper can be used instead since no adverse effects were observed in clinical studies. When taking any substance, there is always the risk for side effects and so this is something to be aware of but overall, GHK copper is considered to be safe.

Can Vitamin C be used with GHK copper?

  • Copper by itself can oxidize Vitamin C leading to inactivation of the Vitamin C. GHK copper inactivating Vitamin C is not known. Some dermatologists would recommend to not take them at the same time while others would say let one of them dry before applying the other.

L’Neisha Leslie

Midtown Express Pharmacy

Pharm.D. Candidate 2023


  1. Peptide program. Dr.Paulvin. Accessed August 21, 2022.
  2. Pickart L, Vasquez-Soltero JM, Margolina A. The human tripeptide GHK-Cu in prevention of oxidative stress and degenerative conditions of aging: implications for cognitive health. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012;2012(324832):1-8. doi:10.1155/2012/324832.
  3. Pickart L, Vasquez-Soltero JM, Margolina A. GHK peptide as a natural modulator of multiple cellular pathways in skin regeneration. BioMed Res Int. 2015;2015(648108):1-7. doi:10.1155/2015/648108
  4. Dragomirescu AO, Mihaiela A, Ionescu D, Andrei F. The efficiency and safety of Leuphasyl-a Botox-like peptide. Cosmetics. 2014;1(2):75-81. doi:10.3390/cosmetics1020075.