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Copper in the regeneration of hair follicles against hair loss?

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

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

Copper, in brief.

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 former 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 cellular regeneration and wound healing. Finally, copper peptides are recognised for their regenerative properties and their ability to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, proteins essential for skin suppleness and elasticity. Copper peptides are also used for their antioxidant action. They are therefore frequently found in treatments targeting the signs of ageing.

What is the effect of copper on hair follicles?

Although it is primarily found in skincare products, copper is also present in haircare products. In the form of copper peptides, this element has numerous benefits for the hair, including protection against free radicals and regeneration of hair follicles located at the base of the hair fibres. The properties of copper thus promote hair growth and help to limit hair loss.

An ex vivo study has particularly focused on the effects of a copper tripeptide on the growth of human hair and on the dermal papilla cells . These cells are specialised fibroblasts that play a significant role in the morphogenesis and growth of hair follicles. The dermal papilla cells were cultivated 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 neutralises 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. AHK-Cu thus 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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