Is Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 (Argireline) An Effective Alternative To Botox?

by Gio
is argireline an effective alternative to botox?

Am I the only one who is put off by “Botox in a jar” claims?

I get it why they’re doing it. Who doesn’t want the benefits of Botox without the needle and the high price tag? (Sign me up, please!).

But am I really supposed to believe a cream can freeze my wrinkles? Pleeeeeeease.

Yet, that’s exactly how Argireline hooks you in. Here’s what it promises (and what it REALLY delivers):

What The Heck Is Argireline And What Does It Do?

Argireline (full name Acetyl Hexapeptide-3) is a synthetic peptide made by Spanish firm Lipotec. Rumour has it, it prevents wrinkles by inhibiting muscle movement.

Here’s how it works. For a muscle to move, it must receive a message from a neurotransmitter. This is a more complicated process than it sounds so I won’t bore you with all the little details.

You just need to know this: for this message to get through to the muscle, you need to activate something called SNARE complex. This complex is made up of three proteins, VAMP, Sintaxina and SNAP-25.

Argireline is sneaky. It knows how to mimic the protein SNAP-25, taking the place of the real thing in the SNARE Complex. This “destabilizes its formation, without breaking any of its components“.

If the SNARE complex is destabilized, the muscle can’t move. No movement = no wrinkles (well, no wrinkles caused by facial movement; UV rays, pollution and co can still cause them).

What does Argireline do?

A study published by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science in 2002 shows that a cream with 10% Argireline (way more than the amount usually used in skincare products) applied “on healthy women volunteers reduced wrinkle depth up to 30% upon 30 days treatment”. A good start but I need more than one study to convince my inner sceptic.

A more recent study tested a combo of argireline and tripeptide-10 citrulline and found two things: it helps keep skin moisturised and has some anti-wrinkle activity. But the problem with studies like this is that you can’t be sure if the duo shares the antiaging and moisturising jobs equally or one of them does the heavy lifting.

But there is NO proof that it works as well as Botox.

P.S. If you’re interested in trying argireline, choose a water-in-oil product. Argireline penetrates skin better when there’s plenty of water around.

Concerns about Argireline

Let me start by saying there isn’t (as yet, at least) any scientific proof for these concerns. But as this is a post about argireline, I feel like you have to know what critics are saying too. Then, you can make up your own mind.

You know how Botox targets one particular muscle? Argireline doesn’t. You put it all over your face. Some people are worrying that putting too much argireline on your face over a long period of time may freeze it. Sag, even (muscles atrophy when they’re not used).

I personally don’t think this is a big concern because argireline can penetrate your skin but not all the way to reach your muscles. But who knows, maybe in the future, we’ll have the technology for that, too!

What Are The Best Skincare Products With Argireline?

I don’t recommend you splurge on a product just because it has argireline yet. But if you really want to give it a try, go with The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10%. It has enough argireline to work (it uses the same concentration as the studies), it’s water-based and is dirty cheap. Just saying.

The Bottom Line

Research on argireline is promising but limited. I wouldn’t buy a product just because it has argireline yet but if you’re curious, go with the cheapest option.

Do you use products with Argireline? Share your faves in the comments below.



Trisha March 6, 2012 - 7:27 pm

Stuff like this kind of scares me. I’d rather age naturally, honestly. I mean…it inhibits muscle movement? Yikes.

beautifulwithbrains March 6, 2012 - 9:04 pm

Trisha, I’d rather age naturally too. We don’t really know much about Argireline at trhe moment but even if it turns out to be safe, inhibiting muscle movement can’t be a very good idea. Muscles are supposed to move!

Annabella Freeman March 10, 2012 - 10:28 pm

I’m with you guys, I want my face to move! Looking good when you are older is great but if parts of your face don’t move then you just look stupid IMHO!

beautifulwithbrains March 11, 2012 - 8:37 pm

Annabella, I agree with you. It really freaks me out when people start to talk or express feelings with their voices and their faces remain still and nothing moves.. that’s just weird and not a good look. Your face is supposed to move!

SherryG October 7, 2017 - 11:32 pm

This was from five years ago. Is there any new research? I know of some anecdotal evidence from You Tube, using a serum by Skin Deva. Of course, they use so many different anti-aging products, who knows if it’s the Argireline!

Gio October 14, 2017 - 10:17 am

Sherry, yes, I’ve found a few new studies. I will update the post with them but in the meantime here’s the gist:

One study tested a combo of acetyl hexapeptide-3 and tripeptide-10 citrulline and found it helps keep skin moisturised and even has some anti-wrinkle activity:

But there’s also research showing that while argireline may help with wrinkles and is able to penetrate the skin, it doesn’t work as well as dermatological procedures:

In a nutshell, it can help make wrinkles look smaller but it’s no alternative to Botox.

rachel April 16, 2020 - 8:52 pm

any updates?

Gio May 15, 2020 - 3:58 pm

Rachel, nothing worth mentioning. If it were really that revolutionary as the press makes it out to be, you’d know!


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