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Copper in the regeneration of hair follicles against hair loss?

Copper is a trace element naturally found in the body, particularly in the skin and hair. This active ingredient indeed provides numerous benefits to them. Copper is even credited with the ability to regenerate hair follicles, making it a valuable ally in combating hair loss. But what is the real story? Let's learn more together.

Published February 6, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

Copper, in brief.

The copper is a natural chemical element found in small quantities in the human body. Belonging to the category of trace elements, it is particularly involved in the formation of collagen, a protein of the extracellular matrix that plays a structural role for the skin. Copper also has antioxidant properties and protects tissues and cells from damage inflicted by free radicals.

Thanks to the benefits it provides to the skin, copper is included in the composition of certain cosmetic treatments, primarily in the form of copper PCA, copper gluconate and copper peptides . The first is mainly used for its antibacterial and sebum-regulating virtues, allowing it to purify combination to oily skin and rebalance oily scalps. Copper gluconate, on the other hand, promotes cell regeneration and wound healing. Finally, copper peptides are recognized for their regenerative properties and their ability to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, proteins essential for skin flexibility and elasticity. Copper peptides are also used for their antioxidant action. They are therefore frequently found in treatments targeting signs of aging.

What is the effect of copper on hair follicles?

Although it is primarily found in skincare products, copper is also present in hair care products. In the form of copper peptides, this element has numerous benefits for hair and among other things, it helps to protect against free radicals and to regenerate hair follicles located at the base of hair fibers. The properties of copper thus promote hair growth and help to limit hair loss.

A study ex vivo particularly focused on the effects of a copper tripeptide on the growth of human hair and on the dermal papilla cells. These cells are specialized fibroblasts that play a significant role in the morphogenesis and growth of hair follicles. The dermal papilla cells were cultured for twelve days in the presence of the tripeptide Alanine-Histidine-Lysine-Copper (AHK-Cu).

Researchers observed at the conclusion of the experiment that the tripeptide had acted as a growth factor for various differentiated cells and that its addition to the culture medium had stimulated the proliferation of dermal fibroblasts. It was also noted that the elongation of human hair follicles had been accelerated. This study thus suggests that AHK-Cu promotes the growth of hair follicles and that this effect is due to the stimulation of proliferation and the prevention of apoptosis of the dermal papilla cells.

Furthermore, copper has a preventive effect on hair loss. The antioxidant properties of AHK-Cu have also been studied, and it has been shown that this tripeptide increases the production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), an antioxidant enzyme that neutralizes certain free radicals such as the superoxide ion O2-. Oxidative stress triggers an increased synthesis of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the hair follicles of the scalp. This androgen hormone accelerates the entry of hair follicles into the telogen phase, or hair loss phase. Thus, AHK-Cu has a protective effect on the hair and helps to limit hair loss.


  • KIM K. & al. The effect of tripeptide-copper complex on human hair growth in vitro. Archives of Pharmaceutical Research (2007).


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