Ingredient Breakdown: Copper

Caitlin M.
ByCaitlin M.

By now, most skincare fanatics know that miracle, fix-it-all ingredients don't really exist. In fact, science shows that a beauty routine that incorporates several high-powered ingredients is the best way to combat signs of aging, skin damage, and all those other fun things we deal with on a daily basis. But, how do you know which ingredients are worth the hype? We're making it easy! In this series, we'll give you the must-know info on both trending and mainstay ingredients. The ingredient we're diving into this week might seem like a new one that's creeping up lately, but it's actually one that's been around for ages.

The ingredient: copper

Also known as: copper peptides, copper ions

Quick take: Found in a number of skincare products, copper has been touted as having antibacterial properties as well as anti-aging ones. "Copper has been popular ingredient in skincare for almost a decade because it is an important cofactor in the production of collagen," explains Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy, founder and CEO of Miami Skin Institute.

Claims to fame: Although you might be seeing copper pop up a lot lately, the ingredient has actually been used in beauty products since ancient Egypt. (It was rumored to have "fountain of youth" type qualities.) Today, copper is less likely to boast mystical power and more likely to claim scientific-based ones. "It is thought that copper-containing skincare that does penetrate to the level of the dermis can actually improve aging skin’s ability to create collagen and therefore, look smoother and tighter," explains Dr. Jegasothy. OK, we take that back—maybe there are some mystical powers at work!

Where to find it:

SEPHORA COLLECTION Mud Mask Purifying & Mattifying, $20 at Sephora

SEPHORA COLLECTION Mud Mask Purifying & Mattifying

Copper isn't the only active ingredient in this mask. Zinc and white mud help to control excess sebum to mattify and purify pores. And with a $20 price tag, it's a great intro into the copper world!

NuFace Collagen Booster (B1) Copper Complex , $84 at Sephora

nuface collagen booster b1 copper complex

It's all about the collagen with this booster. The copper found in this product works to help improve skin's elasticity, firmness, and luster, so it appears more youthful and radiant. 

Omorovicza Copper Peel, $160, Sephora

omorovicza copper peel

This two-phase system lets you get a powerful peel at home. First, you start with a blue copper paste and finish with a lactic acid activator to smooth the skin and banish signs of aging.

Osmotics Blue Copper 5 PRIME Perfecting Serum, $98 at

Osmotics Blue Copper 5 PRIME Perfecting Serum

This new launch from Osmotics is specifically designed for 40+ skin and harnesses the power of copper peptides and other active anti-agers to act as a primer for makeup and deliver long-term anti-aging results.

Christie Brinkley Authentic Skincare Inlighten Spot Correcting & Brightening Serum, $69 at

Christie Brinkley Authentic Skincare Inglighten Spot Corrector

The Bio-Copper Complex in Christie Brinkley's serum specifically targets dark spots and hyperpigmentation by invigorating skin and helping with elasticity production to kiss unevenness goodbye. 

iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase With Copper Oxide, $60 at Sephora

iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase With Copper Oxide, $60 at Sephora

Although not found a skincare lotion or potion here, copper is still an active ingredient in iluminage's Rejuvenating Pillow Case. Thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, copper ions in this silk pillow case help support skin's natural self-renewal process.

Do you use any products containing copper? Let us know!

About the Author
Caitlin M.
Caitlin M.
Runner. Music lover. All things nachos. Follow me on Instagram: @caitlinsmiller