Various forms of copper have been used for medicinal purposes throughout the history of mankind. As more information becomes available, alternative healthcare and home remedies are turning this common alloy into a skin care ally.
Copper is easily stretched, moulded and shaped, is resistant to corrosion and conducts heat and electricity easily and efficiently. It is logical, therefore, that copper has been important to early humans and continues to be a material of choice today, for a variety of domestic, industrial and high-technology applications. Copper has uses in industry, architecture, electrical applications, transportation, medical and biological care and in household appliances and utensils — the list is endless. Copper is an essential nutrient in higher plant and animal life where it is present in tissue, liver, muscle and bone. Copper is believed to improve the production of haemoglobin (the main component of red blood cells), myelin (the substance that surrounds nerve fibres), collagen (a key component of bones and connective tissues) and melanin (adark pigment that colours hair and skin). It also helps in the absorption of iron, another important trace element, and benefits the liver, spleen and lymphatic system.
Copper peptide is often referred to as the most effective skin regeneration product, even though it has only been on the market since 1997. Studies have shown that copper peptide promotes collagen and elastin production, and also acts as an antioxidant. It also promotes production of glycosaminoglycans (e.g. hyaluronic acid). Studies have also shown that copper-dependent enzymes increase the benefits of the body’s natural tissue-building processes. The substance helps to firm, smooth and soften skin, showing results in less time than in the case of most other anti-ageing skincare products. Clinical studies have found that copper peptides also accelerate the removal of damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue.
Copper peptides are used clinically for wound healing, increased skin healing after laser resurfacing and chemical peels, and for improving the success of hair transplantation. They help stimulate the skin’s regenerative processes which repair its protective outer barrier, increase new capillary formation (angiogenesis), increase the production of collagen and elastin and increase the water-holding proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) which hold moisture in the skin and are the only “true” moisturizers of skin. They also activate the skin’s system (called metalloproteinases) that removes damaged proteins such as in scars and sun-damage marks. Copper peptides also improve the skin’s anti-oxidant defences by activating superoxide dismutase (SOD), a protein that detoxifies free radicals and is the body’s primary anti-oxidant defence.
With the rapid advancement of scientific research, integrating copper into textiles was just a step away! Modern research has clearly demonstrated the health benefits of copper and established that copper-impregnated fabric worn next to the skin produces pharmacological effects. At the forefront in harnessing the full potential of copper oxide is a US-based company, Cupron USA the creator of a copper-based antimicrobial and skin enhancement technology who were awarded the 2013 Richmond Governor’s award for Scientific Innovation for their technology that uses copper to enhance everything from footwear and clothing to cosmetics and hard surfaces. It was found that Cupron’s Copper-enhanced textile material can killtrichophyton mentagrophytes, the active fungus in Athlete’s Foot, by more than 99.9 per cent after 12 hours of contact with the fibre. Cupron’s technology makes it possible to use these powerful and wide-ranging antimicrobial properties in new ways.
“Fungal skin infections such as athlete’s foot are a common and irritating affliction, a condition that has been difficult to prevent and treat successfully,” said Alastair Monk, Cupron’s Director of Clinical and Scientific Affairs.“This technology significantly expands the options available for foot care.” Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection of the foot that can cause itching, stinging and burning and can be spread by contact with an infected person, their socks, shoes and contaminated surfaces. Skin fungal infections afflict an estimated 10-20 percent of the US population (between 29 to 59 million individuals) at least once in any given year, with athlete’s foot being the most common. It has been estimated up to 70 per cent of the world’s population will experience a cutaneous fungal infection at some point in their lives, and 45 per cent of those with athlete’s foot will have recurrent episodes for more than 10 years.
Copper-enhanced socks already are issued to select military organisations around the world because of the anti-fungal qualities they possess that can benefit soldiers in the field for long periods. In August 2010 the world watched in amazement the heroic rescue of 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days in a mine 2000 feet underground. It later emerged that miners suffering from fungal infections and other skin-damaging microbes, were supplied copper-enhanced antimicrobial socks, which helped stave off infection. Fabrics using this technology are used in military and medical areas to reduce infections and as an aid to those suffering from asthma and allergies such as hay fever.
The latest offering from the anti-ageing skincare market in Australia is the Cupron, copper-oxide-infused pillowcase introduced in the U.S and parts of Europe a few years ago. While the search for new, more effective anti-ageing skincare goes on and gets more interesting, this new product that claims one can just “sleep their wrinkles away!” seems to be the most innovative. Best of all, all you have to do is what you do every night — sleep!
These Cupron Satin Pillowcases are claimed to be dermatologist-tested and clinically proven to smooth and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, crow’s feet and other skin imperfections in just four weeks. To quote the founder of a product line using the copper–infused fabric, “the ‘cosmetic fabric’ is like a firming cream in fabric form.” A ground-breaking concept and very appealing in that it requires practically no effort, apart from laying one’s head down on a Cupron Satin-encased Pillow and Eye-shades and doing what one does anyway for around seven hours every night.