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Avoid FAKE Skin Rejuvenating Copper Peptides

Avoid FAKE Skin Rejuvenating Copper Peptides and Hyaluronic Acid Products
We have been many questions about various "copper" products on the market. There are a number of companies selling inactive and possible skin damaging copper complexes. They basically sell "junk" products that can be produced at a very low cost. GHK is expensive, so they either use very little GHK or use unproven copper complexes.

Such companies say:

Fake Claim #1 - GHK and copper do not bind together.

Not true. There are a number of papers proving that GHK very tightly binds to copper 2+.

Freedman, Jonathan H., et al. "Structure of the glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-copper (II) complex in solution."Biochemistry 21.19 (1982): 4540-4544.

Kwa EY, Lin BS, Rose N, Weinstein B, Pickart L, in Peptides: Structure and Function, 8, 805 (1983).

Perkins, M, Rose, N, Weinstein, B, Stenkamp, R, Jensen, L, Pickart, L Inorg. Chim. Acta, 82, 93-99 (1984).


Fake Claim #2 - There is no evidence that the Skin Biology's mixed peptides work on skin.

Not true. This is a small fraction of peptides from enzymatically digested proteins that promote skin health when bound to copper 2+.

Howard Maibach published four papers on the mixed copper peptides and found positive results on skin appearance. Dr. Maibach has published over 2,700 papers and books on skin.

Zhai, M. D., et al. "Stripped skin model to predict irritation potential of topical agents in vivo in humans."International journal of dermatology 37.5 (1998): 386-389.

Zhai, H., Y-H. Leow, and H. I. Maibach. "Human barrier recovery after acute acetone perturbation: an irritant dermatitis model."Clinical and experimental dermatology 23.1 (1998): 11-13.

Zhai, Hongbo, Nicholas Poblete, and Howard I. Maibach. "Sodium lauryl sulphate damaged skin in vivo in man: a water barrier repair model."Skin Research and Technology 4.1 (1998): 24-27.

Zhai, Hongbo, et al. "In vivo nickel allergic contact dermatitis: human model for topical therapeutics."Contact dermatitis 40.4 (1999): 205-208.



Fake Claim #3 - The best concentration of copper peptides in products is 2 parts per million.

Not true. This level is what has been used in cell culture studies, which are very different than topical application to the skin.

Maquart FX, Pickart L, Laurent M, Gillery P, Monboisse JC, Borel JP. FEBS Lett. 1988 Oct 10;238(2):343–346.

Much of the peptide copper 2+ applied to your skin is converted to inactive copper peptide 1+ on the skin. Then, the remaining copper 2+ must penetrate the skin barrier and affect skin cells. Our first safely studies on GHK-copper 2+ were performed by Dr. Peter Pugliese, a renowned dermatologist. Low concentrations of GHK-Cu in a cream were applied to skin of women in their 50s. Low concentrations of GHK-Cu did nothing. Higher concentrations improved skin appearance.

Peter T. Pugliese, M.D. (A Legend in Aesthetics) - See:



Fake Claim #4 - If you mix 1 ml of 1% GHK with 99 ml of water, you end up with 100 ml of 1% GHK.

Not true. You would end up with 0.01% GHK in the water, an insignificant amount.



Fake Claim #5 - Copper plus amino acids work better than GHK-Cu.

Not True. We never found this. Loosely chelated copper ion is inflammatory. When copper 2+ is added to keratinocyte cell cultures, it induces inflammatory changes in the cells. But GHK-copper 2+ has no inflammatory actions on the cells.

Li, Hairui, et al. "Selected Biomarkers Revealed Potential Skin Toxicity Caused by Certain Copper Compounds." Scientific reports 6 (2016): 37664.



Fake Claim #6 - High amounts of GHK-Cu in our products are toxic.

Not true. In safety studies, my group and Dr. Maibach's group (in separate studies), tested very high levels of GHK-copper and mixed peptide copper peptides on human skin. At copper peptide strengths higher than our strongest products, there was skin improvement without irritation.



Fake Claim #7 - Copper peptides can permanently damage skin.

Not true. We never found this to happen and we have never had a claim against our liability insurance over our products. Often, if people are using high levels of mixed products, a temporary loosening will occur as older protein is removed. Then, the newer skin re-tightens. No published study on copper peptides from universities ever reported negative actions on skin.

See: Tips on How to Use Copper Peptides Properly



Fake Claim #8 - Amino isolate is a beneficial ingredient.

I have a degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California at San Francisco and have worked on peptides since 1969. I have no idea what "amino isolate" means.



Fake Claim #9 - Hyaluronic Acid is a beneficial ingredient.

Hyaluronic acid (scientifically named "hyaluronan") is a sugar-like molecule that can bind huge amounts of water (1000-fold of its own weight).

When applied to the surface of human skin, it feels smooth and sensuous but will slowly wets the skin's outer protective proteins and damages the skin barrier. This can temporarily improve the looks of skin but does not help skin health. The outer layer of skin (what we actually see) is composed of keratinocytes. The signal that causes the skin to send new keratinocytes to the skin's surface is a dryness in the outer layers of the skin. Hydrating (wetting) the outer skin proteins slows or even stops the normal flow of keratinocytes to the skin surface. If the skin is kept wet, such as by using hyaluronan, the skin renewal is slowed and skin ends up looking older.

Skin Damaging Cosmetic Moisturizers are designed to push water into the skin and wet the outer skin proteins. Various detergents (but they may not be called detergents) and water-holding molecules such as hyaluronic acid often used to loosen the outer skin proteins so water can interact with them. But this weakens the skin barrier and lets in viruses, bacteria, and allergens.

In about 1997, there were studies from Denmark that found that oil/water skin moisturizers broke down the skin barrier. The concern was that this could increase infection in hospital patients. Since then, it has been found that....

This means to skin is more slowly replaced and damage remains longer. Cosmetic moisturizers are designed to wet the outer skin proteins and push water into the skin to puff it up. Various detergents (but they may not be called detergents) are used to loosen the outer proteins so water can interact with them. The best example is the "cold creams" that women applied every night in the 1930s and 1940s. You may have seen these in old movies. Their skin was kept moist but the women ended with horrible wrinkles.

Various polymers of hyaluronan are used as skin injectable skin fillers. Injectable form of hyaluronic acid are sold as "not-from-animals" but they are from pathogenic bacteria. The FDA warns that the material contain small amounts of bacterial protein and this can produce allergic responses in time.

Hyaluronic acid in tissues speeds the spread of cancer cells. Anti-cancer therapies are being developed to lower hyaluronic acid in tissue to stop cancer growth.

Go to and type in "hyaluronan cancer" and you will get about 1,100 recent references. If you type in "hyaluronic acid cancer metastasis", you will get about 332 references.

Fragments of hyaluronan "teach" cancer cells to evade the immune system and grow better.

J Immunol. 2008 Sep 1;181(5):3089-98. Links Tumor-educated tolerogenic dendritic cells induce CD3epsilon down-regulation and apoptosis of T cells through oxygen-dependent pathways.

Kuang DM, Zhao Q, Xu J, Yun JP, Wu C, Zheng L.
State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China.
Defects in the CD3/TCR complex and impairment of T cell function are necessary for tumor evasion, but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. We found that culture supernatants from several types of solid tumor cell lines drove human monocytes to become tolerogenic semimature dendritic cells (TDCs). Upon encountering T cells, the TDCs triggered rapid down-regulation of CD3epsilon and TCR-alpha/beta and subsequent apoptosis in autologous T cells. Consistent with these results, accumulation of immunosuppressive DCs coincided with CD3epsilon down-regulation and T cell deletion in cancer nests of human tumors. The impaired T cell function was mediated by factor(s) released by live TDCs after direct interaction with lymphocytes. Also, the TDC-induced effect on T cells was markedly reduced by blocking of NADPH oxidase but not by inhibition of arginase, inducible NO synthase (iNOS), IDO, or IFN-gamma. Moreover, we found that hyaluronan fragments constituted a common factor produced by a variety of human tumor cell lines to induce formation of TDCs. These observations indicate that tumor microenvironments, including hyaluronan fragments derived from cancer cells, educate DCs to adopt a semimature phenotype, which in turn aids tumor immune escape by causing defects in the CD3/TCR complex and deletion of T cells.

PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22836. Epub 2011 Jul 28.Upregulation of HYAL1 expression in breast cancer promoted tumor cell proliferation, migration, invasion and angiogenesis.Tan JX, Wang XY, Su XL, Li HY, Shi Y, Wang L, Ren GS.Source


Department of Endocrine and Breast Surgery, the First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, China.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a component of the Extra-cellular matrix (ECM), it is closely correlated with tumor cell growth, proliferation, metastasis and angiogenesis, etc. Hyaluronidase (HAase) is a HA-degrading endoglycosidase, levels of HAase are elevated in many cancers. Hyaluronidase-1 (HYAL1) is the major tumor-derived HAase. We previously demonstrated that HYAL1 were overexpression in human breast cancer. Breast cancer cells with higher HAase expression, exhibited significantly higher invasion ability through matrigel than those cells with lower HAase expression, and knockdown of HYAL1 expression in breast cancer cells resulted in decreased cell growth, adhesion, invasion and angiogenesis. Here, to further elucidate the function of HYAL1 in breast cancer, we investigated the consequences of forcing HYAL1 expression in breast cancer cells by transfection of expression plasmid. Compared with control, HYAL1 up-regulated cells showed increased the HAase activity, and reduced the expression of HA in vitro. Meantime, upregulation of HYAL1 promoted the cell growth, migration, invasion and angiogenesis in vitro. Moreover, in nude mice model, forcing HYAL1 expression induced breast cancer cell xenograft tumor growth and angiogenesis. Interestingly, the HA expression was upregulated by forcing HYAL1 expression in vivo. These findings suggested that HYAL1-HA system is correlated with the malignant behavior of breast cancer.




This is a very important and ignored area. Cosmetics are used for decades and their long term use is a serious concern. Products designed to increase skin rejuvenation may also cause or stimulate cancer growth. For example PDGF (platelet derived growth factor) has been used in cosmetics. However, it can strongly promote cancer growth.

Heldin, Carl-Henrik. "Targeting the PDGF signaling pathway in tumor treatment."Cell Communication and Signaling 11.1 (2013): 97.

Connolly, Nina P., et al. "PDGF-A overexpression and p53 depletion in rat neural precursor cells induces large brain tumors that resemble human glioblastoma." (2017): 808-808.

Chen, Jinhuang, et al. "PDGF-D promotes cell growth, aggressiveness, angiogenesis and EMT transformation of colorectal cancer by activation of Notch1/Twist1 pathway." Oncotarget 8.6 (2017): 9961.

Sizemore, Gina M., et al. "Stromal platelet derived growth factor receptor-beta (PDGFRbeta) promotes breast cancer progression." (2017): 2966-2966.

In contrast, GHK appears to possess many anti-cancer actions. We are not saying that GHK would help with cancer, but research does indicate the remarkable safety profile of the molecule.

Companies that sell various types of copper systems for skincare should fund and have independent university studies published on their method. Otherwise, they are FAKE and potentially dangerous.



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