Ah, skin care products from infomercials. Some, like Pro-Activ, are pretty quality. Others (which shall not be named here) get sued for false advertising and claims. So it’s hard to know which products just sound quality and which are the real deal. Which brings me to Hydroxatone ($69.95, Urbane-Nutrition.com). Marketed as a product that “erases wrinkles without BotoxTM,” women on the radio claim that their husbands can’t get over how much younger they look after each use.
The product is marketed as “an alternative to Botox” due to its inclusion of Argireline (Acetyl Hexapeptide-3). A peptide originally created by Lipotec in Barcelona, argireline was found in a 2002 study by Blanes-Mira et. al to reduce the depth of wrinkles by up to 30% with thirty days when injected into the skin, similar to BotoxTM. For this reason, argireline is often called the “freeze” skin care ingredient. Argireline works on the same muscle-to-nerve connections as BotoxTM. Specifically, argireline was found by Gutierrez et. al in 1997 to prevent neurons from stimulating muscles to contract, which relaxes the muscles, giving the skin a smoother appearance, and preventing the formation of wrinkles that are caused by excessive use of the muscles. 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.
This is not the first time a cream has stated that it has efficacy similar to BotoxTM. In a 2006 study, the efficacy of botulinum toxin type A (Botox™), placebo injection, and three claimed alternatives, StriVectin-SD®, Wrinkle Relax™, and HydroDerm™ (all with peptide complexes similar to Hydroxatone) were compared, and it was found that none of the topical preparations were better than BotoxTM in efficacy and overall patient satisfaction. This is most likely due to the fact that peptides just increase collagen production over time, whereas BotoxTM stimulates collagen production over time and relaxes muscles, giving immediate results.
This is not to say that Hydroxatone or other peptide-complex creams are not effective. On the contrary, Hydroxatone contains not only Argireline (Acetyl Hexapeptide-3), but also Matrixyl-3000® and the natural moisturizing factor hyaluronic acid. According to the company Helix Bio Medix, Matrixyl 3000® is the brand name for a two-peptide combination ingredient. At the 2002 World Congress of Dermatology in Paris, France, Matrixyl® was reported to decrease wrinkle depth by 68% and wrinkle density by 47% over six months. In addition, Matrixyl® stimulates fibroblasts to produce collagen, and also promotes hyaluronic acid production in the skin over time. However, Matrixyl® must be applied in minimum concentrations of 2%, but ideally between 4 and 8%, in order to demonstrate these effects; the concentration in Hydroxatone has not been reported.
Therefore, Hydroxatone is definitely an exciting product that seems likely to stimulate collagen and hyaluronic acid production over time, resulting in firmer, more moisturized skin. However, due to the fact that topical argireline has not been shown to have the efficacy of injected BotoxTM, don’t be using the cream thinking that you’ll look like you just stepped out of the derm’s office. Definitely a great cream, maybe just a tad overhyped.