Acetyl hexapeptide-3, trade name Argireline™, has been touted as the revolutionary Botox™ alternative. Supposedly, it inhibits the nerve muscle connection, which relaxes the muscle that causes the wrinkle. It is safe and non-invasive and can be used over the whole face, in contrast to Botox™, which can only be used over a small portion of your face. Unlike Botox™, it takes several weeks to see effects, but the effects are cumulative. Also, Botox™ injections target specific muscles, whereas Argireline™ is likely to relax most of your face.
Argireline is made in Spain by a company named Lipotec™. I could find very few studies in the medical literature reviewing Argireline™. Both studies I did find were conducted in Spain, where the drug was developed.
Nevertheless, here is what I found:
In a clinical study published in the 2002 International Journal of Cosmetic Science, acetyl hexapeptide-3 was tested for 30 days at a 10% concentration. After 30 days, it was shown to reduce the depth of wrinkles up to 30%. Analysis of the mechanism of action showed that Argireline significantly inhibited neurotransmitter release with a potency similar to that of Botox. Also, it displayed a much lower efficacy than Botox. No toxicity or irritation was noted at high doses. In conclusion, the researchers determined Argeriline™ to be a non-toxic, anti-wrinkle treatment alternative to Botox™.
The same journal reported a second study in Spain on Argeriline™. It reported a 17% reduction of wrinkles around the eyes after only 15 days of treatment. Tests also show a 39% improvement in smoothness, 42% improvement of dryness and 45% improvement in overall skin tone.
Sumayah Jamal, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine, is quoted on WebMD with the following:
“Botox™ works by destroying a protein involved in the release of a neurotransmitter that would otherwise keep a muscle tense, allowing a wrinkle to form. By stopping the tensing motion and relaxing the muscle, the wrinkle seems to disappear. The acetyl hexapeptide-3 attempts to mimic that same Botox™ action by blocking the action of the protein. It doesn’t destroy the protein, like Botox™ does, but, instead, simply keeps it from connecting to the cell and turning on the muscle contraction. The end result may be similar to medical procedures, just much less dramatic.”
Needless to say, this is a new drug with a lot of potential, and may revolutionize the cosmeceutical industry. However, it is new and relatively untested, and as such, I approach it with prudence (Veterinarian = slow to change, remember?). And while Argireline™ may reduce wrinkles, it needs to be tested to get a full grasp of what this powerful anti wrinkle component can do. Also, no studies longer than 30 days have been conducted. I would like to see studied continued out 1-2 years to determine the long-term safety and efficacy.
Notably, another ingredient I reviewed on this site, deanol, is purported to stimulate the release of neurotransmitters and increase facial tension, i.e. by producing roughly the opposite effect to Argireline™. It is only my opinion, but I wonder if these ingredients have synergistic effects, and I welcome any feedback on the topic.
Having given my opinion, still, my top two recommended products, Lifecell and Revitol, contain this revolutionary new treatment in small doses. Both products are safe to use on your whole face and neck.