I think many peptides are promising, so I was happy when a company, WrinkleReviews.com, recently sent me a sample of Complexion MD Anti-Wrinkle Cream ($79.95, Amazon.com) for review. Of course, they were informed that sending a product wouldn’t automatically result in a positive review – the cream had to earn that on its own!
Fortunately, Complexion MD Anti-Wrinkle Cream turned out to genuinely be a winner.
What I especially liked was that three peptides (acetyl hexapeptide-3, palmitoyl oligopeptide, and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3) were listed in the first seven ingredients, indicating that these are present in a very high concentration. Here’s what to know about them:
Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 has more research on it than any other peptide, at least in topically-applied form. Also known as Matrixyl 3000, palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 been demonstrated to stimulate feedback regulation of new collagen synthesis and to result in an increased production of extracellular matrix proteins (types I and II collagen and fibronectin). In a 2005 study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 was found to significantly improve the appearance of wrinkles/fine lines, as well as overall moisturization levels. Given that this was 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, split-face, left–right randomized clinical study, it’s one of the best I’ve read regarding peptides to date. Research has also shown that palmitoyl pentapeptide increases skin firmness over time (Cosmeceutical Peptides, 2007).
You may remember a few years back when there were lots of radio commercials advertising Hydroxatone as an “an alternative to Botox”. Well, the main active ingredient was none other than acetyl hexapeptide-3. Also known as argireline (Acetyl Hexapeptide-3), argireline raised eyebrows literally and figurately after a 2002 study found wrinkles were reduced in depth by 30% when it was injected into the skin, similar to BotoxTM. Argireline works on the same muscle-to-nerve connections as BotoxTM, which makes sense, given that it is actually a shortened peptide sequence of BotoxTM.
Unfortunately, while injections of argireline produced similar results to BotoxTM, argireline in skin care creams cannot diffuse through the top layers of skin to reach the crucial muscle-nerve connections like injectable BotoxTM.
Of all the peptides in all the world, palmitoyl oligopeptide walks into every favorite list of mine. What is great about palmitoyl oligopeptide is that it significantly stimulates collagen production in human fibroblasts, as shown in a 2007 study in Dermatologic Therapy. When used twice daily for a significant period of time – about six months – this means firmer skin, provided that other factors remain the same (i.e., weight, sun exposure, etc.).
On the other hand, palmitoyl oligopeptide is interesting because it brings up one of my favorite debates: Do we want to upregulate or downregulate elastin expression? Palmitoyl oligopeptide has been found to down-regulate elastin expression. From one point of view, this is not a bad thing – elastin expression naturally increases with age, after all. However, elastin cross-fibers in older individuals grow in a less organized pattern than in individuals at a younger age, so down-regulating unorganized elastin expression may keep your elastin fibers from growing in a disorganized pattern characteristic of old age. Yet, products that have been shown to stimulate elastin production (like one of my favorites, Relastin Eye Silk) also increase the firmness of the skin. So which is right? Nobody knows for sure yet. I have an interview coming up with a very prominent dermatologist (hint: she’s written a couple of books!), so I’ll be sure to ask her for her opinion. I’ll also be sure to keep you updated if any elucidating research is presented on this topic in the future.
Overall Use + Opinions
When dealing with peptides, it is ultra-important to remember that it is a marathon, not a sprint. In my experience, use of retinoids and potent glycolic acid peels generate more dramatic results in less time. However, peptides slowly and gently increase the firmness of the skin, particularly when they are used in as high a concentration as in Complexion MD Anti-Wrinkle Cream. So I recommend them, though as much as for prevention as treatment purposes. I personally started using Complexion MD Anti-Wrinkle Cream every night over my retinoid serum. I find it to be medium consistency, perhaps a little on the thicker side; quite hydrating, with a high concentration of sodium hyaluronate; and smells pleasant, due to the high concentration of aloe vera. It’s definitely a “buy” – just remember to take your time in waiting for results.
Product Rating: 8.5/10 (High or optimized concentration of proven ingredients: 3/3. Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3. Value for the money: 2.5/3. Sunscreen: 0/1).
Links + Related Posts You Might Enjoy