GHK copper is a copper-containing tripeptide that accelerates wound healing and skin repair by its interaction with copper 2+. It enhances synthesis of both collagen and glycosaminoglycans, promotes proliferation of fibroblasts, attracts immune cells and endothelial cells, inhibits the activity of matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors, and stimulates decorin production. It also reactivates replicative vitality of fibroblasts after radiation therapy and enables the formation of new blood vessels. GHK copper also stimulates hair growth and significantly increases the thickness of hair shafts.
In a clinical study, ghk copper applied twice daily as an encapsulated formulation of 3% peptide and EGF (epidermal growth factor) reduced wrinkle volume and depth by 55.8% and 32.8% respectively compared to Matrixyl 3000. It also increased the density of the hair shaft by 59%.
GHK is able to cross the epidermis and can be used in cosmetic products such as liposomes, nanoparticles, foams or as a subcutaneous injection. Its stability has been confirmed by X-ray crystallography, EPR spectroscopy and titration. Its complex structure comprises the chelating imidazole nitrogen from histidine, and the deprotonated amide nitrogen of the glycine moiety.
Studies conducted in Monique Sensenbrenner and Gertrude Lindler’s laboratories have demonstrated that GHK activates nerve outgrowth, an essential attribute of skin repair, and restores the skin’s innervation by increasing production of neurotrophic factors. It also has the potential to activate stem cells, thereby shifting regeneration processes toward healthy regeneration. It can be easily incorporated into cosmetic products and has no toxic effects when applied topically.