For people looking for wrinkle solutions, I’m pretty sure you’ve considered botulinum toxin (popularly known as Botox) or its painless alternative, the peptide argireline. Both act similarly with muscle relaxation as the end goal. Let’s start off by learning what botulinum toxin is all about.
What is botulinum toxin?
Botolinum toxin is derived from the bacteria C. botulinum, which elaborates 8 exotoxins (A, B, C1, C2, D, E, F and G). Among these toxins, type A is the most potent. The 2 more popular ones in use for cosmetic purposes are toxins A and B and there are also specific types under each. The brand Botox has onabotulinum toxin A; Dysport has abobotulinum toxin A, and Myobloc has botulinum toxin B. And these are only some of the brands available in the market.
But how does toxin A differ from B? Botulinum toxin A destroys a set of proteins called SNARE (specifically SNAP-25) which are needed for docking and release of neurotransmitters. Botolinum toxin B, on the other hand, cleaves synaptobrevin or VAMP. Both toxins prevent neurotransmitters (acetylcholine) from being released, which in turn, prevents muscles from contracting. Less muscle contraction, less wrinkles. Here’s an example of what Botox can do.
Botolinum injections are generally well tolerated with few side effects. These include mild injection pain, swelling, headache, and of course, the dreaded paralysis of nearby musculature which may produce temporary upper lid or brow ptosis.
What is Argireline?
Fortunately, for those afraid of the needle and high medical bills, the alternative argireline is available. It is found in creams or serums and has been around for several years. Argireline is also known as acetyl hexapeptide-8 (or 3), which is a short chain peptide that gives a similar botulinum toxin effect, albeit with a shorter duration. It is topically applied and you can do it at home. As with the injectable toxins, argireline also affects the SNARE complex which is responsible for vesicular fusion. However, it does not cleave the complex (which is what the botolinum toxin does); rather, it mimics its N-terminal end and competes with the natural protein for a position in the complex. By doing so, it causes destabilization of the complex and relaxation of the muscle.
A study in 2010 (Ruiz et al., 2010) showed that argireline improved skin moisture and reduced the depth and width of wrinkles within 30 days of treatment. The researchers proposed that it did so through relaxation of fibroblasts, which decontracted the collagen and elastin matrix. Take a look below at the before and after photos in the study.
Amazing, huh? Both images show marked improvement of wrinkles. Meanwhile, another study (Blanes-Mira et al., 2002) showed that argireline did not exhibit in vivo oral toxicity nor primary irritation at high doses, making authors conclude that it is a non-toxic alternative to botulinum neurotoxins.
Of course, all these stuff about argireline made me want to try it out. So I recently bought this serum online called Acetyl Organics Triple Action Anti-aging Serum with Argireline (20%).
It contains argireline (20%), palmitoyl oligopeptide plus palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 which they called ‘Matrixyl 3000’, vitamin c, hydrolyzed collagen, and retinyl acetate. I haven’t had the time to use it yet but I am excited to give it a try soon because of the great reviews online. Hope it doesn’t disappoint. For any of you who can share their experience with argireline, please comment below! 😊
Blanes-Mira, C., Clemente, J., Jodas, G., Gil, A., Fernández-Ballester, G., Ponsati, B., Gutierrez, L., Pérez-Payá, E. and Ferrer-Montiel, A. (2002). A synthetic hexapeptide (Argireline) with antiwrinkle activity. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 24: 303–310. doi:10.1046/j.1467-2494.2002.00153.x
Ruiz M.A., Clares B., Morales M.E., and Gallardo V. (2010). Evaluation of the anti-wrinkle efficacy of cosmetic formulations with an anti-aging peptide (Argireline®). Ars Pharm, Vol.50 no. 4; 168-176