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What Happens to Our Skin as We Get Older?

There are 4 basic biochemical changes our skin goes through during the aging process:


Change 1: The rate of the skin cell replacement decreases, producing a thinner, more fragile skin. Skin is replaced every three weeks at age 20 but this slows to every nine weeks by age 50.


Change 2: Damaged proteins accumulate in the skin. This damage can be the result of scars, sun damage, oxidative damage, and the cross-linking of skin proteins by sugars.


Change 3: Around age 25, skin oil production starts to drop. This reduces acne but produces a drier skin. This drop in oil production becomes even more serious after age 45.


Change 4: The biosynthesis and breakdown of collagen, elastin, and water-holding glycosaminoglycans exists in a dynamic balance in young healthy skin. However after age 25, the skin's production of collagen, elastin, and the water-holding GAGs slows down while the rate of breakdown of these factors speeds up, thus starting the beginning of wrinkle formation and loss of elasticity. This problem becomes progressively more serious with passing years.


While all these changes are taking place, gravity is also at work, pulling at your skin, causing it to sag. Skin tends to heal more slowly and minor blemishes become more apparent. In addition, the aging process can be exacerbated by factors such as extremes of cold or heat, excessive sunlight exposure (UV radiation), psychological stress, and improper nutrition.


Has science discovered any help with what has confounded us for centuries? 
YES. GHK-Cu seems to affect in a positive way all of the aforementioned changes. For example:


Change 1: Thinning skin - Several open studies gave evidence for increased skin thickness such as  a placebo-controlled study of 71 females for 12 weeks. GHK-Cu containing creams reduced wrinkles and fine lines while increasing skin density and thickness. Even a GHK-Cu containing liquid foundation tested on skin appearance showed improved epidermal thickness in an 8 week study / See: Controlled Studies on Human Skin Improvement


Change 2: Oxidative Damage - Evidence suggests that GHK has two main functions: (1) first as a potent tissue protective, anti-inflammatory agent that limits oxidative damage and (2) as a signal that activates tissue remodeling / See: GHK-Cu Function in the Human Body


Change 3: Dry Skin - Animal studies suggest that copper helps increase the production of water holding proteins (glycosaminoglycans) which results in true moisturization / See: Benefits of GHK for Scar Reduction and General Skin Health


Change 4: Breakdown of Collagen - Using mRNA analysis, it was demonstrated that GHK-Cu stimulates collagen. It was also confirmed that GHK-Cu increases decorin which improves collagen structure / See:  Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice: Anti-Aging Activity of the GHK Peptide 



For additional information, see:


Dr. Loren Pickart who has a BA in Chemistry and Mathematics from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Francisco is dedicated to the research and further discussion of biochemistry, science, and health in all its applications.


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  • youngandagedskin_WhatHappens: Biochemical Changes of Human Skin Aging
Last edited by Skin Biology
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