snake venom syn-ake in skincare

“How did you get the inspiration for Syn-ake, your new revolutionary anti-aging ingredient?,” the hopeful young reporter asked the Pentapharm representative.

“We at Pentapharm have always been fascinated with snakes. We are the largest snake breeders and keepers in the world.

“Their transfixing gaze, their slithering crawling… they’re so powerful. But snakes can also be dangerous. Take the deadly South Asian temple viper. It bites its victims, injecting them with a poison that paralyzes them.

“And so we  thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could paralyze muscles like that? Maybe we could use their venom for it!’ And that’s how Syn-ake was born”.

“Clever play on words, there, Syn-ake. I like it. But isn’t it dangerous to apply snake venom on your skin?”

“Oh, I’ll tell you a little secret, if you promise not to print it. Snake venom is just a marketing name. What we’re really using is a synthetic tri-peptide derivative that only mimics the activity of snake venom.

“It blocks some receptors so muscles can’t contract,” he finished off, before handing her the press release. He hoped she would use that for her article.

But our young reporter is smart. After finishing off this interview, she started to dig into the science of Syn-Ake. What she found isn’t as miraculous as the guy from Pentapharm told her (suprise, surprise):

What Is Syn-Ake?

Syn-Ake is the cute name for the impossible-to-pronounce Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate (DDBD), a synthetic tri-peptide derivative made by Pentapharm Ltd, s Swiss chemical company.

This peptide mimics Waglerin-1, a substance found in the venom of the Temple Viper. It basically keeps muscles relaxed so they can’t contract and form wrinkles.

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

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

Does Syn-ake Really Work?

Our young reporter started her research by taking a closer look at the study done by Pentapharm. They tested Syn-Ak on 45 people, which were divided into three groups. The first group was given a cream with 4% Syn-ake, the second one a cream with 10% Argireline (another “Botox in a jar” peptide), and the third one a placebo.

The results? The group who used Syn-Ake saw a 52% reduction in wrinkles. The other two creams didn’t show any significant results. Impressed but slightly biased, don’t you think?

Let’s see what independent studies say now.

Sadly, not much.

For this 2009 study, 37 women with “mild-to-moderate, fine and coarse periocular and perioral wrinkles” used a cream with “multiple growth factors, antioxidants, and a collagen-building peptide [Syn-Ake]” twice a day for 3 months. The results?

“The early onset of efficacy observed within minutes of application suggests that this unique combination of HA filling spheres and a muscle contraction-inhibiting peptide may work synergistically to promote rapid reductions in wrinkle appearance. The ability of HA to attract and retain moisture may contribute to the observed smoothing effect on lines and wrinkles. […]

The immediate improvement in wrinkle appearance may also be due to the muscle-relaxing effects of the Waglerin-1 mimicking peptide as wrinkles in the periocular and perioral areas are often associated with repeated muscle movement. In addition, the light-diffusing polymeric microspheres in the line treatment may also soften the appearance of fine lines in these facial areas.”

Translation: Syn-Ake may have contributed to a reduction in wrinkles but the creams contains so many other goodies, such as Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid, we don’t know who’s really to thank for the benefits here. 

Look, I’m not saying Syn-Ake doesn’t work. Maybe it did play its part in this study. But, until someone does a study on Syn-Ake alone, we don’t really know how well it works.

Related: Why You Need Hyaluronic Acid In Your Skincare Routine, No Matter Your Skin Type

The Bottom Line

Don’t let the hype bite you! Syn-Ake looks promising, but there’s no scientific proof it works as well as claimed yet.