Beauty / 31.05.2017

Why copper is the hottest beauty ingredient you’ve never used

By Francesca Specter
Thought it was just for pipes? Think again

Long treasured for its immune-boosting qualities, and more recently for its use as a weight-loss aid, copper is now in the spotlight for its beautifying properties.

The mineral has ‘dual benefits’ for the skin according to Kelly Saynor, founder of Renew Medical Aesthetics, including ‘deceleration of cell damage and the promotion of skin renewal’. This makes it ideal for the summer, when you want to protect your skin from the sun, and its benefits run through the year to help you fortify the all-important skin barrier for the colder months.

READ MORE: The 10 organic beauty ingredients you need right now

How do you use copper for beauty?

Copper can be used topically on the skin or taken orally (via food or supplements*). Nutritionist Angelique Panagos recommends rich food sources such as seafood, sesame seeds and cocoa, as well as leafy greens and asparagus. However, she warns that copper can be toxic in high quantities and, to work effectively in your body, should be taken alongside iron, vitamin C and zinc. Try Holland & Barrett High Strength Chelated Zinc with Copper Tablets 15mg (£5.29 for 60, Alternatively, copper peptides (pieces that are tiny enough to penetrate the skin) can be used topically in skin products to get to the skin’s top layers. Try IS Clinical Copper Firming Mist (£32 for 120ml,, which works for both the face and body.

Why you need it now

If the sun has managed to catch you out without your regular slather of SPF, copper can help. ‘The beauty of copper peptides lies in their great ability to remodel the skin – whatever the concern – from sun damage, age spots, scars, lines or wrinkles,’ says Saynor. Taken orally, it can also help you maintain that gorgeous summer radiance: ‘Alongside iron, consuming copper helps produce the healthy red blood cells that carry nutrients throughout our bodies and give our skin a fresh glow,’ Saynor adds.

Prepare for the colder months

Tend to get dry, flaky patches of skin in colder weather? While autumn seems far away now, planning ahead can make all the difference. Copper, both in beauty products and in your diet, can help you build up your all-important skin barrier: ‘It is highly effective in promoting the production of two essential skin-friendly proteins – collagen and elastin – which together help to give skin a more plumped- out appearance,’ says Saynor. ‘In turn, this protects against future cellular damage.’