As per reader request, our Ingredients Glossary is back! We’re kicking it off with acetyl hexapeptide-8, a neuropeptide sold under the commercial name of Argireline or AHA-3, which is used as a muscle relaxer.
What It Is, What It Does
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. 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. 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.
What Science Says
Unfortunately, while injections of argireline produced similar results to BotoxTM, argireline in skin care creams have never been proven to diffuse through the top layers of skin to reach the crucial muscle-nerve connections like injectable BotoxTM.
Despite this, I have seen some people have wrinkle-reducing results after using creams that contain argireline. In fact, a study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science showed a 10% concentration of Argireline reduces wrinkles by 30% over a 30-day period.
On the other hand, unfortunately, some people do not have any results at all after using argireline. It is likely argireline may diffuse through thinner skin and have a greater effect than in those with thicker skin, as I have noticed greater results in older people. Still, the only way to know is to try.
Is it Safe?
No studies to date have been directed specifically at argireline safety. However, despite what you may read elsewhere, argireline will not lead to permanent facial sagging. Though argireline temporarily inhibits the neurotransmitter neuroepinephrine (like Botox does), the effects of topically-applied argireline are temporary. Even the most concentrated dose of topical argireline on the market today is not likely to last for more than 8 hours at a time.
Furthermore, even injectible Botox is found to stimulate collagen production due to stretching of the skin, which increases skin firmness over time, effectively fighting sagging (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2008). This effect is even more pronounced when Botox is used in conjunction with a stimulating filler treatment like Sculptra.
Recommended Products with Argireline
Of those creams with argireline, your best skin care bet is IQ Natural Argireline, with 20% argireline. I can’t guarantee that it will work for everyone, unfortunately, but it has the highest concentration of argireline of any cream I have seen on the market thus far.