is matrixyl an alternative to retinol

Is Matrixyl a gentler alternative to retinol?

If there’s a peptide that can fight wrinkles, this is it. Unlike most other members of the peptide family, Matrixyl has a ton of research supporting its anti-aging properties.

The catch? Read on to find out:

What Is Matrixyl?

Matrixyl is the trade name for Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, a peptide developed by Sederma and Proctor & Gamble.

For the science nerds out there, Matrixyl is a small molecule made up of five amino acids (the building blocks of all proteins) linked together. These amino acids are attached to Palmitic Acid (a fatty acid) to better penetrate your skin.

Fun fact: Some people call it collagen pentapeptide because it’s a subfragment of type I collagen.

P.S. Matrixyl is not the same thing as Matrixyl 3000 (Don’t you love it when brands confuse the heck out of you? 🙄 ).

Related: Why You Need Amino Acids In Your Skincare Routine (And Where To Find Them)

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What Does Matrixyl Do For Skin?

Matrixyl promises to fight wrinkles as well, if not better, than retinol (the gold standard for anti-aging) – and without its irritating side effects, too. Does it deliver?

This is a tricky one. There are a plethora of studies that support its anti-aging claims. BUT they’re almost all sponsored by the manufacturer. This is typical. Not much funding goes into independent skincare research, so it’s manufacturers that do most of the hard work here.

But can these studies be trusted? Yes and no. We all know that manufacturers like to embellish the truth a little (or a lot), so take them with a pinch of salt.

Having said that, here’s what a scientific review of Matrixyl revealed:

  • It reduces signs of aging: Almost all studies show a significant reduction in fine lines, wrinkles, and overall skin texture. And at ridiculously low concentrations. It works even at 0.0003%!
  • It’s a retinol alternative: A study comparing 0.0003% Matrixyl with 0.07% retinol found that the peptide has similar wrinkle-improving properties, but it’s gentler and better tolerated by skin.

A bit biased maybe, but definitely a very promising start.

Related: Retinol Side Effects: What They Are And How To Deal With Them

How Does Matrixyl Work?

Research shows that Matrixyl stimulates the synthesis of collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep your skin firm and elastic. The more of these two proteins your skin has, the younger it’ll look.

But we still don’t know the mechanism through which it does this – or even how well it penetrates skin. Research is still at the beginning here.

Related: 7 Science-Backed Ways To Boost Collagen For Firmer, Younger-Looking Skin

What Are The Best Skincare Products With Matrixyl?

  • Mizon Peptide 500 ($35.00): Available at Yes Style
  • Neogen Surmedic Azulene Soothing Peptide Ampoule ($34.00): Available at Yes Style
  • Olay Wrinkle Correction Serum with Vitamin B3+ Collagen Peptides ($38.99): Available at Target, Ulta and Walmart

Is Matrixyl Safe?

Matrixyl is a gentler alternative to retinoids and doesn’t cause irritation.

As it’s so new, we don’t have any info on its long-term safety, yet. Again, that’s typical. It can take decades to establish this and Matrixyl simply hasn’t been around that long!

medik8 retinol 6 TR 01

Should You Use Matrixyl?

Despite its promising anti-aging properties, Matrixyl hasn’t made me change my mind about peptides. There’s still not enough independent research to show that it works as well as retinol.

If you have sensitive skin that can’t tolerate retinol even in small doses, Matrixyl may be a good alternative to fall back on.

If you can tolerate retinoids, they’re still the better option. If you want to up your anti-aging game, using prescription Tretinoin will do more for you than adding random peptides to your routine.

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

The Bottom Line

Matrixyl is a new promising active in the fight against wrinkles. Initial research shows that it’s almost as good at retinol at reducing wrinkles – and without its irritating side effects, too. But it’s still too early to make the switch, in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on Matrixyl? Let me know in the comments below.