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Anti-Wrinkle Ingredients: Argireline

Brittany Kline
By: Senior LetsTalkBeauty Editor  |  Brittany Kline

No Need for Injections

Argireline, scientifically known as Acetyl Hexapeptide 3 or Acetyl Hexapeptide 8, is a plant-derived ingredient included in several anti-wrinkle cosmetic products due to its anti-aging benefits. It is a fragmented piece of botulinum toxin, more commonly referred to as Botox. However, unlike Botox, Argireline itself is not a toxin at all. It is a compound known as a peptide, which is essentially a tiny strand of proteins and amino acids.
It is also unlike Botox in that Argireline is applied topically, most often as a cream, and not injected. Argireline injections are not recommended mostly because it was developed as an alternative to invasive injection procedures. Injecting Argireline would not enhance its effects, as it is proven to soak as deep into the skin as necessary in cream form. For these reasons, Argireline injections are extremely rare.

Botox in a Jar

When applied topically, Argireline suppresses the body’s ability to release neurotransmitters. These are the chemicals that allow the cells in your body to communicate with each other. This prevents your muscles from contracting as much as they normally would, causing them to remain neutral for extended periods of time. In doing so, Argireline greatly reduces your chances of developing wrinkles and expression lines. Unlike expensive injections, Argireline doesn’t completely freeze the face, but rather only makes it more difficult for those cellular communications to happen. This allows you to keep expressiveness in your face when you want it, say, when you want to smile or laugh, but prevents small or resting expressions from forming those fine lines.

Due to this ability, Argireline is commonly found in cosmetic products that are designed with the intent of masking or suppressing signs of aging, including moisturizers, lotions, anti-aging treatments, eye creams, and concealers. Many dermatologists have dubbed this anti-wrinkle agent with the nickname ‘Botox in a jar’, both for its origins and incredibly similar benefits.

Argireline Safety

Argireline was launched in 2001, after enduring over a decade of rigorous study. Since its release onto the global market, even further study and testing has continued. In the first few years following its release, many were concerned that continual use of Argireline could carry the same neurotoxicity of its beauty boosting cousin, Botox. In a 2002 study, researchers found that hexapeptides like Argireline are in fact a biosafe alternative, and do not carry the same dangers. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18498523)

Due to the clear benefits and distinctly lesser dangers of Argireline, (compared to injections of Botox), cosmetic companies are currently including it in a plethora of products as a skin safe alternative to Botulinum toxins.

Sagging Concerns

When Argireline was found to be a safe, nontoxic treatment, naysayers then turned to question if long-term use might cause facial sagging. This comes from the thought that, like its close cousin Botox, Argireline might cause atrophy in facial muscles over time. This theory is inaccurate simply because of the way Argireline works. Argireline is not Botox, nor is it applied like Botox.

In order to ‘sag’, the facial muscles must remain perpetually relaxed. This is not what Argireline does. Argireline prevents the muscles from contracting any tighter than they normally do, which inhibits the formation of wrinkles. This is not the same as keeping muscles permanently relaxed. Argireline, rather, helps keep muscles neutral and natural. If Argireline caused ‘sag’, then any users would see the results right there on their fingertips too, which are used to apply it.

This bottom line was finally published in the journal of Cosmetic and Laser therapy in 2013, stating definitively that there was actually an improvement in skin structure, and absolutely no support for any fears of sagging. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23464592)

Clinical Research & Trials

Argireline has been subjected to clinical testing involving both living and inanimate organic test subjects for over 30 years. Clinical studies of the effects of Argireline have been published by the Universidad Miguel Hernández (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18498523) and the Universidad de Granada (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17520155). These studies found that Argireline was not toxic when introduced orally, and did not cause significant irritation to the subjects at high doses. As a result, the studies concluded that Argireline is a biologically safe alternative to Botulinum toxins when used in cosmetic products.

In a more recent study in 2013, a randomized, placebo-controlled double blind clinical study in Chinese subjects confirmed the efficacy of Argireline that has been claimed since its release almost 20 years ago. It was shown to have clear and obvious signs of wrinkle reduction over 60 days in most patients. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23417317)

In order to be effective, a topical application must have at least a 5% concentration of Argireline, but concentrations of up to 30% have been found to be completely safe. In the conducted studies, it was shown that not only was wrinkle reduction evident in the parties that were administered Argireline, but the appearance of wrinkles was reduced by up to 30%, and results began to emerge visibly after just a single week of application.

The Final Word

If you’re looking for a way to fight wrinkles that is both effective and safe for the long-term use, Argireline might just be your best bet. It has been proven nontoxic time and time again in clinical trials, and produces effects similar to invasive and expensive surgical alternatives for a fraction of the cost. And it works. Even in double-blind studies conducted to prevent any and all bias, Argireline rises to the task and proves how well it treats your skin, and how quickly.

If you’re interested in trying Argireline for yourself, there is no shortage of products you could use. But for the biggest bang for your buck, learn more about our highest rated anti-aging cream, Complexion MD.

Also see our anti-wrinkle cream comparison chart here, or our anti-wrinkle serum comparison chart here.

Brittany Kline
Senior LetsTalkBeauty Editor
We sent Brittany to venture across the world in search of discovering basically the world's best products and then bringing those back to you. She has documented all her research so you can receive the most vital information and latest innovations in beauty.
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