With lightning speed developments in skincare technology over the past decade, it’s a quest to keep abreast of all the new ‘wonder’ ingredients in products and what they can offer your clients.
And as clients are more informed and discerning than ever before about what they put on (therefore into) their skin, they will expect you to be up to speed.
So here’s the latest buzz in skincare – and it’s as old as time. Copper.
In ancient Egypt this trace metal was believed to give magical powers to those who wore it. Eternal life, even.
Today the best bet copper (in the form of peptides) can offer is that it will help prolong the youthfulness and radiance of the skin. Certainly copper has long been known for its therapeutic benefits, as evidenced by the popularity of copper jewellery and various supplements for alleviating the swelling and pain of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions; also promoting healing, such as in diabetic and vein ulcers.
‘Copper peptide is often referred to as the most effective skin regeneration product, and has been on the market [in skincare] since 1997,’ says Melbourne’s Dr Jean Laing, creator of LaGaia skincare. ‘That’s 17 year’s it’s been on the market. Why aren’t we all using it?!
‘It helps repair and rebuild the skin and connective tissue resulting in tighter, firmer, rejuvenated skin and, so, more youthful appearance. It also defends against free radicals that can damage cells.
‘LaGaia’s Precious Element Series includes Hydraceutical Copper Gel and Copper Mist. They provide copper in a form that is readily available and can be directly targeted to specific areas for maximum benefit. The percentages are at therapeutic levels for maximum results.
‘Customers using copper peptides to increase skin re-modelling have seen reduction or removal of sun damage marks, skin tags, certain types of moles and age spots, old stretch marks of pregnancy,and burn scars. ‘Usually these are reduced with the addition of glycolic acid creams but often the copper peptides are effective alone.
‘The method produces no skin irritation and results are usually evident in one month. It may take as long as four months to achieve maximum results.’
Some other copper-based products to consider:
- Obagi ELASTIderm eye products (cream, gel and serum), containing proprietary bi-mineral complex Copper Zinc Malonate, clinically proven to restore elasticity and support collagen production. www.obagi.net.au
- Medik8 Firewall contains the brand new and patented Cusodase-P complex has been proven in tests to be more than five times stronger than the best alternative*. Regular use can lead to a more youthful and brighter complexion with significant decrease in wrinkle depth and further wrinkle formation in less than six weeks. Increasing hydration and tone helps maintain collagen levels and helps improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin, reducing the appearance of age spots and discolouration. www.advancedcosmeceuticals.com.au
New York dermatologist Dr Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Department of Dermatology, agrees that copper definitely plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin.
‘It helps to develop collagen and elastin, which maintain the strength of the skin, and it promotes the production of skin-plumping hyaluronic acid,’ he says.
‘It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, which help prevent infections, which is why it has been used in wound care since the ’60s (and shows high hopes for acne treatment too).
‘And unlike other heavy metals, such as silver, the risk of toxicity from topically applied copper is low because it is metabolised by the body.’
The properties of copper peptides are now even being applied to hair. ‘Any issue you have when it comes to your hair – volume, texture, or shine – starts with the scalp,’ says fellow New York dermatologist Dr Dennis Gross says.
‘The copper peptides in the serum stimulate the collagen in your hair follicle, which helps promote thick hair and volume.’ Results can be seen in as little as two weeks, he adds.
So all that glitters in skincare efficacy is by no means gold.
*In independent clinical trials, Firewall and nine competing premium products from around the world were tested for antioxidant activity using four free radical assays (peroxynitrite, hydroxyl, superoxide and halogenated oxidant). Firewall had the highest total antioxidant score, beating the next highest performing product by more than five times.