Search Skin Biology

Hydrogels for Osteochondral
Tissue Engineering
Journal of Biomedical

(March 2020)
Anti-Wrinkle Activity
& Transdermal Delivery
of GHK Peptide
Journal of Peptide Science
(March 2020)
Pulsed Glow Discharge
to GHK-Cu Determination
International Journal
of Mass Spectrometry

(March 2020)
Protective Effects of GHK-Cu
in Pulmonary Fibrosis
Life Sciences
(January 2020)
Anti-Wrinkle Benefits
of GHK-Cu Stimulating
Skin Basement Membrane
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
(January 2020)
Structural Analysis
Molecular Dynamics of
Skin Protective
TriPeptide GHK
Journal of Molecular Structure
(January 2020)
In Vitro / In Vivo Studies
pH-sensitive GHK-Cu in
Superabsorbent Polymer
GHK Enhances
Stem Cells Osteogenesis
Acta Biomaterialia
Antibacterial GHK-Cu
Nanoparticles for
Wound Healing
Particle & Particle (2019)
Effect of GHK-Cu
on Stem Cells and
Relevant Genes
OBM Geriatrics
GHK Alleviates
Neuronal Apoptosis Due
to Brain Hemorrhage
Frontiers in Neuroscience
Endogenous Antioxidant
International Journal of Pathophysiology and Pharmacology (2018)
Regenerative and
Protective Actions of
GHK-Cu Peptide
International Journal of
Molecular Sciences
Skin Regenerative and
Anti-Cancer Actions
of Copper Peptides
GHK-Cu Accelerates
Scald Wound Healing
Promoting Angiogenesis
Wound Repair and

GHK Peptide Inhibits
Pulmonary Fibrosis
by Suppressing TGF-β1
Frontiers in Pharmacology
Skin Cancer Therapy
with Copper Peptides
The Effect of Human
Peptide GHK Relevant to
Nervous System Function
and Cognitive Decline
Brain Sciences (2017)
Effects of Tripeptide
GHK in Pain-Induced
Aggressive Behavior
Bulletin of Experimental
Biology & Medicine
GHK-Cu Elicits
In Vitro Alterations
in Extracellular Matrix
Am Journal of Respiratory
and Critical Care Medicine

Selected Biomarkers &
Copper Compounds
Scientific Reports

GHK-Cu on Collagen,
Elastin, and Facial Wrinkles
Journal of Aging Science
Tri-Peptide GHK-Cu
and Acute Lung Injury

Effect of GHK Peptide
on Pain Sensitivity
Experimental Pharmacology

New Data of the
Cosmeceutical and
TriPeptide GHK
SOFW Journal
GHK Peptide as a
Natural Modulator of
Multiple Cellular Pathways
in Skin Regeneration
BioMed Research (2015)
Resetting Skin Genome
Back to Health
Naturally with GHK
Textbook of Aging Skin
GHK-Cu May Prevent
Oxidative Stress in Skin
by Regulating Copper and
Modifying Expression of
Numerous Antioxidant Genes Cosmetics (2015)
GHK Increases
TGF-β1 in
Human Fibroblasts

Acta Poloniae

The Human Skin Remodeling Peptide Induces Anti-Cancer
Expression and DNA Repair Analytical Oncology
Resetting the
Human Genome to Health
BioMed Research
Enhanced Tropic Factor Secretion of Mesenchymal
Stem Cells with GHK
Acta Biomater
Anxiolytic (Anti-Anxiety)
Effects of GHK Peptide
Bulletin of Experimental
Biology & Medicine
Lung Destruction and
its Reversal by GHK
Genome Medicine
TriPeptide GHK Induces
Programmed Cell Death
of Neuroblastoma
Journal of Biotechnology
Stem Cell
Recovering Effect
of GHK in Skin
Peptide Science
Skin Penetration of
Copper Tripeptide in Vitro
Journal of International
Inflammation Research
Possible Therapeutics
for Colorectal Cancer
Journal of Clinical and
Experimental Metastasis
Methods of Controlling
Differentiation and
Proliferation of Stem Cells
Effects of
Copper Tripeptide
on Irradiated Fibroblasts
American Medical Association
Avoid Buying Fake Copper Peptides Dangerous

Diabetic Skin Issues

Francois-Boucher----Young-Woman-with-a-Bouquet-of-RosesAn ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We all know that. Yet if you have diabetes, your doctor may not pay much attention to your skin unless you develop painful cracking, infected sores, ulcers or hardening of the skin, at which point you may require some serious treatment.

Unfortunately, diabetes manifests itself in many organs including skin. Excess sugar damages the skin by causing accumulation of AGE – Advanced Glycation End products. AGE appears in your skin when sugars attach themselves to various skin proteins, including collagen and elastin; diabetics may have up to fifty times as many AGEs in their skin as a non-diabetic person.

Sugar may be sweet, but what it does to skin proteins is not nice at all. A consequence of high blood sugar is that your skin's proteins become hard and brittle and so does your skin. In time, affected skin may develop painful cracks and sores. It also ages faster than normal.

In persons with diabetes, skin problems can produce unhealed sores which, at worst, can lead to limb amputations. Controlling your blood glucose is the first and most important step to preventing skin damage from diabetes. If your skin develops unhealthy complications in spite of your best effort, there are also simple, safe, and effective ways to treat the problems of diabetic skin.

This is done by creating a favorable environment for its protective and regenerative systems, so you can maintain its healthy appearance, lessening adverse effects of elevated sugar and impaired immunity.

Your Skin May Be Dry and Sensitive

Abbott Handerson Thayer Angel 1889

If you have diabetes, your skin may appear dry, rough, itchy and unpleasantly tight after cleansing your face or applying cosmetics. High blood sugar causes diabetic skin to lose fluid, and some diabetes medications make the dryness worse. There may be damage to the nerves that cause sweating. Dry and sensitive skin is not fun for anyone, but with diabetes you need to be especially attentive to your skin’s signals. Take special care of your skin by routinely using products designed to improve skin barrier and overall health.

If the skin continues to become dry, its upper layer will eventually lose elasticity and develop cracks. You do not want this to happen since those cracks may take very long to heal and may become a gateway to infection. Use a mild soap and dry your skin completely after washing. To keep your skin elastic and supple, you need to develop a habit of applying emollients twice a day or every time you feel that your skin is becoming rough. According to studies, “A one month treatment with an emollient allows a similar skin hydration rate in diabetics to that in healthy people. This dry skin improvement is accompanied by a significant reduction in pruritus and desquamation, and a significant improvement in the skin barrier function.” (Seite S. et al. J. Eur. Acad. Dermatol. Venereol. 2011). If only a month's treatment with emollients reduced dryness, itching and scaling, it is definitely worth a try. Besides, this approach is safe and helps skin look younger and smoother.

The best emollients for your skin are those that are simple and assist your skin’s biology, creating a temporary barrier to water loss. They should also be free of irritants and substances that may disrupt your skin’s barrier.

Some of the safest moisturizers are pure natural healing oils such as squalane (a natural protective component of skin’s sebum) and emu oil. Squalane does an excellent job of softening the skin and making it more elastic, while at the same time protecting it from environmental assaults. Pure squalene may be cold-pressed from olives, and it helps to keep skin soft, smooth and silky without irritating sensitive skin; it quickly penetrates deep into skin and avoids any greasy feeling. Emu oil is an ancient healing remedy used by Australian indigenous people to treat wounds, insect bites and inflamed sores. This fast-absorbing oil comes from the emu bird and efficiently improves rough, dry skin; powerful omega fatty acids promote the formation of healthy, new skin cells, promoting healing in targeted areas.

Aloe Vera GelAnother useful substance is aloe vera gel, which is rich in polysaccharides. Polysaccharides of aloe vera are very effective at binding moisture, acting similarly to your skin’s own natural moisturizing system. In addition, aloe supports the skin’s immune defense and stimulates healing while instantly soothing the painful itching and burning which may occur with damaged skin. Application of a cooling aloe vera gel reduces the compulsion to scratch dry skin and further injure the irritated area. Free of synthetic ingredients, pure aloe vera is suitable for the most sensitive of skin.

If you have diabetes, please remember that not only your face and hands but the soles of your feet need emollients and moisturizers. Very often the soles are neglected up to the point when they cry for help and demand attention. With diabetes, it is not wise to wait until you are forced to pay attention to your soles, because cracks on the skin of your feet are extremely difficult to heal due to thicker skin and poor circulation. Check your legs and feet daily for sores and skin breakage, and if an area continues to concern you, check with a doctor.

AGE and Anti-AGE

Arthur Hughes - Asleep in the Woods No, we are not talking about "aging" here, even though diabetes may make your skin age faster. A.G.E. is an abbreviation for Advanced Glycation End products, which accumulate in the skin when sugars attach to proteins and is the result of high blood sugar.

Fortunately, there are some substances that are known to counteract glycation. Those include the antioxidant compound alpha-lipoic acid, carnosine and copper peptide GHK-Cu (discovered originally by Dr. Loren Pickart in 1973). GHK has been shown to inhibit the damaging glycation of copper, zinc-superoxide dismutase caused by fructose, and was more active than carnosine in this respect.

It has further been shown that protein glycation in diabetics is linked to excessive production of free radicals in the mitochondria. Antioxidant compounds including coenzyme Q10 and alpha-lipoic acid can protect mitochondria from oxidative damage and reduce protein glycation. In addition, plant carotenoids such as lycopene and lutein, as well as members of vitamin E family – tocopherols and tocotrienols may help reduce protein glycation. Carotenoids, bright pigments that help plants absorb light energy, also deactivate free radicals, preventing cellular damage. Tocotrienols are much more potent antioxidants than tocopherols but are poorly absorbed by the digestive system, and so they must be used in a Vitamin E cream.

Finally, copper peptides, especially GHK-Cu, play an important role in antioxidant defense, increasing the level of the skin’s own antioxidants as well as detoxifying harmful products of excessive peroxidation. By supplying your skin with protective factors, you can do your utmost to help its appearance and bring forward its natural radiance. Fill your diet with healthy fruits, vegetables, and supplemental antioxidants, and feed your skin with products containing molecules proven to counteract skin damage such as GHK-Cu; this will help your body to reach its full ability to prevent oxidative damage and delay skin disease. Now is the time to stimulate your body's natural defenses against cell damage and actively fight premature aging.

The Healing Power of Your Skin

Diabetes is a perfect lesson in the importance of the skin’s own healing power. When this power is impaired, even small cracks and sores can become dangerous. Copper peptides, your skin’s natural regenerative molecules, have been shown to accelerate wound healing and lessen the impact of underlying health conditions. Especially the GHK-Cu peptide demonstrated notable wound healing activity in numerous animal studies, improving wound healing in rats, horses, dogs and pigs. It was also successfully used in a collagen based wound dressing to accelerate wound healing in diabetic rats. Many informed people make the reasonable choice to stimulate their skin's natural cell regenerative process with a safe and tested molecule that is found naturally in their blood and compatible with their skin's biology.

A study in a wound clinic that specialized in the treatment of diabetic ulcers used a 2% GHK gel on 120 diabetic patients after their skin ulcers were surgically excised of devitalized tissue. The percentage of closure for ulcers in GHK-Cu group was 98.5% compared with 60.8% for standard treatment. Most importantly, the incidence of infections (that cause amputations) lessened (7% for GHK-Cu vs. 34% for vehicle) (Mulder G.D, Wound Repair Regen. 1994). In short, that unusual blue gel gave researchers something to write home about!

However, it must be stated that a later trial of 530 patients in 33 hospitals failed to reach treatment goals. In short, GHK-Cu gel improved wound recovery in the wound clinic patients but not in regular hospitals. This failure was also observed with many other growth factors tested for wound healing and may have been due to the then unknown existence of bacterial biofilms that colonize 60% of hospital wounds. Biofilms secrete powerful proteases that degrade therapeutic peptides and proteins in minutes. The early positive results in the wound specialty clinic may have been the result of better reduction in bacterial contamination of wounds. Eventually, Dr. Pickart developed a second generation of copper peptides with better stability; however, they have never been tested for treatment of diabetic skin ulcers.

An Ounce of Prevention

John-William-Godward---An-Offering-to-VenusIt may be as long as 10-20 years before your skin starts develop visible complications from diabetes. However, do you really want to wait until it happens? Of course not. The best time to start fighting for your skin’s beauty and radiance is when it is still healthy. Develop a routine to prevent premature aging and skin disease, and devote more of your time to preserving your health, protecting your beauty, and maintaining your body in good physical shape.

Take control of your skin health by educating yourself on common diabetic skin ailments such as fungal infections, changes to small blood vessels, and dermal discoloration induced by weight gain. In addition, carefully select a daily skin care routine; it is worth the time spent if it can prevent serious, lasting damage to your skin's integrity.

Improve your health with good food and exercise while remembering to inspect your skin daily. Simple healthy skin care methods such as the regular moisturization and application of emollients as well as supplying your skin with natural nutritional regenerative factors may go a long way in keeping your skin looking youthful, smooth and vibrant.


revised 6/4/18

Copper peptides are not drugs and have not been approved by FDA for treatment of diabetic sores and ulcers.
Therefore they should not be used on broken skin and are not intended for treatment of diabetic skin complication. If you have a special skin concern, please consult a physician or dermatologist first.

Questions or Advice?

Ask Dr. Loren Pickart:

Call us at 1-800-405-1912 Monday through Friday (8 am to 6 pm) PST