Argireline is manufactured by a Spanish company Lipotec and is a hexapeptide (a chain of 6 amino acids) attached to the acetic acid residue. It is believed to work by inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters.
- When applied to the skin, Argireline supposedly relaxes facial tension leading to the reduction in facial lines and wrinkles with regular use. This remotely resembles the effect of Botox, which reduces facial tension and movement by paralyzing facial muscles. Note that Argireline is unrelated in its physiologic effect and mechanism of action to other bio-active skin peptides, such as palmitoyl pentapeptide. Lipotec discovered that acetyl hexapeptide mimics one of the proteins in the SNARE complex and as a result can destabilize it. Even a slightly destabilized SNARE won’t work. No SNARE equals no muscle movement. No frowning equals no wrinkles (although there are many other ways that wrinkles are caused of course).
- Lipotec does not claim that Argireline works in any other way, such as boosting collagen or repairing skin. As you would expect, Lipotec claims that simply ensnaring SNARE is enough to have an impact on wrinkles. Lipotec’s studies were based on a 5% Argireline) and female volunteers. Wrinkles around the eyes decreased up to 17% after 15 days of treatment and up to 27% after 30 days of treatment. The only independent study that I have found was conducted by a Spanish university and published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science that says that a 10% concentration of Argireline reduced wrinkles by 30% over 30 days.
- Botox injections target specific muscles, where as Argireline (if it indeed works) is likely to relax most of your face. And while Argireline may reduce wrinkles, it may also, in theory, increase facial sag because the neurotransmitters whose release Argireline inhibits, help maintain facial firmness. Notably, a popular firming skin care ingredient DMAE firms by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters and increasing facial tension, i.e. by producing roughly the opposite effect to Argireline. Whether Argireline may indeed contribute to facial sag has not been studied. Until more is known, people prone to facial sag should approach Argireline with caution and monitor their facial firmness while on it.