What You Need to Know About Copper Peptides, an Under-Eye Skin Saver

Photo: Getty Images/Aleksandar Nakic
When you deal with persistent under-eye puffiness or dark circles, you'll try pretty much anything to reduce inflammation and discoloration—hence why under-eye products are so popular. Who hasn't seen someone wearing eye masks on Instagram lately? But that's just the beginning. There are creams, serums, ice rollers–you name it. And I've tried them all. My medicine cabinet is basically an ever-revolving door of products for this particular area that I'm constantly testing in order to find what works and what's worth skipping.

One ingredient I came across recently that is supposed to be a game-changer for under-eye woes is copper peptides. It's possible you've already heard of peptides for skin since so many derms swear by them. But for those unfamiliar, they're an ingredient that can stimulate collagen production. "Peptides are messengers that boost your skin cells' activity, and have various functions depending on the particular peptide," Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, previously told Well+Good. "Most have skin brightening effects."

Experts In This Article

In the case of copper peptides, their benefits are less about boosting your skins brightness and more about helping it bounce back from common environmental stressors and certain conditions that often arise as you age.

Why copper peptides are so great for your skin

Dermatologist Christine Choi Kim says that copper peptides are found in plasma. "The most studied effects of them on the skin are accelerated wound healing and stimulation of collagen production," she explains. Cosmetic benefits may include increased skin firmness and elasticity, and decreased wrinkles and pigmentation." Copper peptides can also help tame skin inflammation, "so it's both protective and regenerative," says Dr. Kim.

What causes under-eye bags and circles?

Loss of collagen is one of the culprits that can cause under-eye puffiness and dark circles, hence why copper peptides can help, says Dr. Kim. Other factors that cause the conditions include genetics, allergies, blood circulation, and unusual protrusions (i.e. herniations) of fat pads in your face. Oh, and yes, lack of sleep and diet may also be play a role here. "Lifestyle factors like lack of sleep and excessive salt intake can also exacerbate the skin concerns in this area," she says.

What to look for in copper-peptide eye products

Plenty of products will call out peptides right on the front of the label (hello, Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum ($60), but others will take some digging to find on ingredient lists. Once you do find a product that has copper peptides, Dr. Kims says to look for another common skin-care active: vitamin C.

That's because copper peptides can make vitamin C less effective. It's best to avoid products containing both ingredients, and don't apply products with both ingredients at the same time. "The copper oxidizes the ascorbic acid, which causes it to break down rapidly, so you won’t get the benefits of the latter," says Dr. Kim.

Keep in mind that the skin under your eyes is very sensitive compared to other parts of your face or body. So if you've never used copper peptides before, your best bet is to start with a patch test to see how your skin reacts first. "Before starting any new product in this area, it may be wise to perform a patch test first on your neck or inner forearm," advises Dr. Kim.

Which copper-peptide products should I try for under-eye bags and circles?

Sundree Pept Eyes Bio Cellulose Eye Mask — $38.00

Copper peptides and CBD combine here to help depuff under eye bags thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of both ingredients. Pop them in the fridge for a sec before you use them for an extra-cooling effect.

Drunk Elephant Eye Serum
Photo: Drunk Elephant
Drunk Elephant Shaba Firming Eye Serum — $60.00

A cocktail of powerhouse ingredients like niacinamide (a compound known for its oh-so soothing qualities) in addition to copper peptides, this serum is clutch for addressing fine lines and wrinkles, as well as sun damage.

Neova Super Eye Lift Serum — $61.00

Tired eyes will get a pick-me-up from these under-eye treatment, thanks to the amino acids, plus antioxidants from green tea it contains to reduce puffiness and fight damage from free radicals.

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