Skin Remodeling Lesson 7, Part 4: Peptides

Matrixyl

Chemical Name: Matrixyl, palmitoyl pentapeptide-3, palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, Pal-KTTKS

Used For: Matrixyl is used to treat wrinkles, stretch marks, discoloration, and sometimes scars. The non-irritating peptide is structurally similar to procollagen type I, a precursor to collagen. Regular application can stimulate your skin into producing more collagen and perhaps other components of the skin matrix. Studies indicate that its effects on sun damage are equivalent to retinol.

Effective Concentrations: Most studies use a concentration of 3%-8%, though product information is not always available.

How to Use It: Matrixyl products can be used in the day or evening, but like most ingredients night use may be more effective because the ingredient is not affected by UV exposure. Many products direct you to use it twice a day, in the morning and the evening. It is very gentle on the skin and can typically be used the next day after a superficial peel. Wait at least a few days after a stronger chemical peel or needling. This ingredient works well on it’s own if skin is properly exfoliated and works well with other actives in the same or a separate session.

Side Effects: Though Matrixyl is much less irritating that other actives, some users have experienced itching or redness in the beginning. This ingredient has a very low risk of side effects. These are normal side effects. There is always a chance that you can be allergic or extra sensitive to an ingredient, check your product label for additional warnings.

Strength Building: Since Matrixyl is generally non-irritating, strength building usually goes very fast. Since you’ll probably outgrow the milder formulations quickly, it may be best to purchase the strongest product first and strength build by increasing frequency, i.e., every third day at first, and gradually work your way up to daily use.

Matrixyl 3000

Chemical Name: Matrixyl 3000; Palmitoyl oligopeptide and Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7; Pal-GHK and Pal-GQPR

Used For: Matrixyl 3000 is used to reduce wrinkles and stretch marks, and may also improve scars and discoloration. It is a combination of 2 peptides that work together to stimulate the fibroblasts to produce more collagen and perhaps other components of the skin matrix. One of the peptides is similar to the CU-GHK copper peptide and may work in a similar way without the potential serious side effects. The other reduces skin inflammation that can degrade the skin matrix.

Effective Concentrations: 3% – 8%, though this information may not be indicated.

How to Use It: Matrixyl 3000 can be used in the evening or morning. Many products will instruct that you use it twice a day at both times. Matrixyl 3000 is non-irritating and can typically be used the day after a superficial peel or microdermabrasion, but you should wait at least a few days until after a stronger peel or needling. Matrixyl 3000 works well with other actives in a routine.

Side Effects: Most people don’t experience negative side effects when using Matrixyl 3000. There is a slight chance of itching and redness in the beginning. These are normal side effects. There is always a chance that you can be allergic or extra sensitive to an ingredient, check your product label for additional warnings.

Strength Building: Like Matrixyl, Matrixyl 3000 is generally non-irritating and strength building usually goes very fast. You are likely outgrow the milder formulations quickly, so it may be best to purchase the strongest product first and strength build by increasing frequency, i.e., every third day at first, and gradually work your way up to daily use.

Copper Peptides

Chemical Name: Copper Peptides, GHK-Cu copper peptide, Cu-GHK, first generation copper peptides, second generation copper peptides.

Used For: Copper peptides were initially designed to accelerate wound healing. In home skin care, they are usually used in conjunction with peels, needling, microdermabrasion, etc to treat scars and stretch marks, and sometimes wrinkles. Copper peptides have been shown to enhance normal collagen production while stimulating the breakdown of irregular collagen. They may also promote formation of other components of the skin matrix, but studies are limited and most were done by the patent holder.

Effective Concentrations: Unknown, the formulations are patented. Relative strength is usually listed on the product label.

How to Use It: Copper peptide products will be the most effective when used with some sort of controlled damage that stimulates the body’s wound healing process, such as a chemical peel. They should not be used on their own, especially on the face. These products should only be used on skin that is already damaged, not as an age preventative. You do not have to use a strong chemical peel, many users combine them with daily use of an alpha hydroxy lotion or serum. Copper peptides also work well with irritating ingredients such as retinoic acid. Do not use copper peptides along with Vitamin C products.

Some copper peptide formulations are designed for use immediately after a strong chemical peel; others should be used in a few days. Using copper peptides on the fifth day after needling seems to be ideal. Do not apply them to open wounds. These products are often used for a few months at a time along with regular chemical peels. They can also be used as a few applications to stimulate healing after a medium chemical peel or needling treatment, and then sporadically for 4-8 weeks afterwards. Users report better results from these products when they are used to treat scars and stretch marks, as opposed to wrinkles.

Side Effects: These are normal side effects. There is always a chance that you can be allergic or extra sensitive to an ingredient, check your product label for additional warnings. Copper peptides are generally non irritating, so itchiness and redness is rare. Strength building is still necessary and some users may experience a slight rash from initial exposure.

Unfortunately, a small percentage of people experience adverse side effects that can be severe. Too much free copper in the skin can cause the breakdown of collagen and cause the skin to look “crepey” or lax. This is often referred to “the uglies” in the skin care community. This usually only happens when the products are used on the face. Some skin care enthusiats recommend to just keep using the products and it will get better. This is probably bad advice because for many users, these effects can be permanent. Using copper peptides can also cause body and facial hair to become thicker. Despite their potential drawbacks, copper peptides are extremely helpful for scars and stretch marks when combined with controlled damage. Some users have been able to remove or greatly reduce scars and stretch marks by using copper peptides with superficial peels 3-4 times a week.

Strength Building: Despite their ability to soothe irritation from other ingredients, strength building is very important with copper peptides because of their potential to develop serious side effects. Start using the milder formulations and work your way up. Don’t apply the product daily in the beginning; try every third of fourth day. Theoretically, the complications arise from too much free copper in the skin, so daily use of the stronger formulations may not be ideal. Do not use copper peptides alone, especially on the face. Most people start off by using them along with a 10% glycolic or lactic acid product.