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Which other active ingredients can copper be combined with?

Copper is a trace element naturally found within the body. Essential for the formation of collagen and elastin for the skin, it is also present in many cosmetic treatments where it is used in synergy with other active ingredients. Which ones? Discover the interesting ingredient combinations with copper.

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

Association No.1: Copper and Hyaluronic Acid.

Thehyaluronic acid is a highly hydrophilic sugar naturally produced by the skin. Renowned for its moisturising properties, it often features in the composition of firming and hydrating treatments. It is sometimes paired with copper, which has antioxidant properties and the ability to stimulate the synthesis of collagen and elastin. This combination of active ingredients is particularly interesting for targeting skin sagging.

Research has been conducted specifically on the effects of a gel composed of amino acids, copper, and hyaluronic acid. This was applied four times at weekly intervals to the faces of five participants. The depth of wrinkles was assessed before and after the treatment: it was on average 0.067 mm at the start compared to 0.061 mm afterwards. The evaluation of skin hydration also showed an improvement: it increased from 48.9% to 56%.

Association No. 2: Copper and Zinc.

Copper is also combined with zinc to formulate cosmetic care products. This combination primarily involves copper PCA and zinc PCA, two active ingredients known for their antibacterial and sebum-regulating properties. Copper PCA and zinc PCA are frequently used in synergy in products aimed at purifying skin that is prone to oiliness or acne.

Their mode of action is quite similar, although the precise mechanism through which copper PCA exerts its antibacterial properties is still poorly understood. In terms of their sebum-regulating effects, both copper PCA and zinc PCA act by inhibiting 5-α-reductase, the enzyme that catalyses the transformation of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Once formed, DHT binds to a specific receptor in the sebaceous glands, thereby increasing their activity and the production of sebum. Copper PCA and zinc PCA limit this phenomenon, which helps to regulate sebum synthesis and thus reduce the risk of skin pore obstruction.

Association No. 3: Copper and Niacinamide.

The niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a soothing active ingredient that reduces skin inflammation and helps to alleviate redness. Moreover, niacinamide is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It is sometimes paired with copper peptides in treatments aimed to prevent skin ageing and the appearance of fine lines. Indeed, niacinamide and copper work effectively when used in synergy to protect the skin from oxidative stress and enhance its firmness and elasticity.

Note : It is advised against combining copper with exfoliating acids such as AHAs like glycolic acid, or BHAs such as salicylic acid. It has been observed that these combinations can lead to irritations, even though the mechanism at work has not been fully elucidated.


  • BORKOW G. Using copper to improve the well-being of the skin. Current Chemical Biology (2014).

  • SONG S. & al. Evaluation of the efficacy of an elastin-inducing composition containing amino acids, copper, and hyaluronic acid: Results of an open single-center clinical trial study. Cosmetics (2022).


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