is argireline an effective alternative to botox?

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

I get 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 Is Argireline?

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).

Related: The Truth About Peptides In Skincare: Do They Really Work?

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What Does Argireline Do For Skin?

In theory, it helps freeze muscles, so wrinkles won’t show. In practice, here’s what science says.

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.

Either way, there is NO proof that Argireline 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.

Related: Treatment VS Prevention: What Really Works Against Wrinkles?

Can Argireline Penetrate Skin?

You know what they say, “What works for one person may not work for another.” That’s true ESPECIALLY with Argireline.

Some women may experience the 30% reduction in wrinkles depth as shown in the study above, but others have NO results at all. They may just as well splash water on their skin.

What’s going on here?

Argireline is very bad at penetrating skin. Even after several hours, it can’t penetrate beyond the uppermost, dead layers of skin. It never reaches deep enough to affect muscle movement.

The thinner your skin is, the higher the chance Argireline can penetrate a little deeper and work a little better. If you’re young and your skin is still fairly thick, you won’t see any difference at all.

Related: Does Your Skin Really Absorb 60% Of What You Put On It?

argireline botox in a jar

Can Argireline Damage Skin?

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’t really reach your muscles. But who knows, maybe in the future, we’ll have the technology for that, too!

P.S. Argireline is safe to use. It’s not very effective, but it doesn’t have any other serious side effect.

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 affordable. Just saying.

Related: The Complete Guide To The Ordinary Peptide Serums: Which One Is Right For You?

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.