What is Argireline, and should I use it or avoid it?

January 6, 2008 at 3:31 pm Leave a comment


Many anti-aging skincare creams are making the compelling claim that they can relax and inhibit the facial muscles that cause expression lines or wrinkles, in a similar fashion to Botox. 

Mythbuster Beauty wants to help you decide the efficacy of these anti-aging skincare products.  Let’s read more about the ingredient that is the source of all the beauty commotion:  Argireline.

Argireline or acetyl hexapeptide-8, is a synthetically derived peptide.

According to Paula Begoun (The Cosmetics Cop):

The company selling acetyl hexapeptide-[8] (trade name Argireline), Centerchem (www.centerchem.com), is based in Spain. According to their Web site, “Argireline works through a unique mechanism which relaxes facial tension leading to a reduction in superficial facial lines and wrinkles with regular use. Argireline has been shown to moderate excessive catecholamines release.” I strongly doubt that any of that is true because there isn’t a shred of published research substantiating any part of it. However, even if it were vaguely true, that would not be good news for your body because you wouldn’t want a cosmetic ingredient without any safety data, efficacy documentation, or independent research messing around with your catecholamines. Catecholamines are compounds in the body that serve as neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, adrenaline, and dopamine. Epinephrine is a substance that prepares the body to handle emergencies such as cold, fatigue, and shock. A deficiency of dopamine in the brain is responsible for the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. None of that sounds like something you want a cosmetic to inhibit or reduce.

Here is another compelling argument presented byThe Beauty Brains“:

They Say: “Argireline is a safer alternative to Botox. It works by relaxing facial tension because it reduces excessive release of the neurotransmitters, called catecholamines, that make your facial muscles tense up. It’s as simple as that: reduce muscle tension, avoid poison and maintain skin shape.”

We say: It’s not as simple as that at all! First, you have to get the Argireline down to the muscle tissue. To get to the muscle you have to pass through a thick layer of skin, then fat, then connective tissue. (That’s why Botox requires injection!) Second, even if the chemical could penetrate that deeply, if it’s going to reduce the release of neurotransmitters it has to get inside the neuromuscular junction. And that requires a specific biochemical transporter to move the chemicals into the neurons. Finally, even IF it could work, it would be a drug that is regulated by the FDA.

Even if Argireline did work they way it reports to (and there is close to no evidence of this), Smartskincare.com brings up yet another drawback:

“There is one more concern worth mentioning. Botox injections target specific muscles, whereas 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.”

My verdict?  As much as I would LOVE to find a skincare cream that could eliminate the crevice that I have between my eyebrows, soften my laugh lines, and erase my crow’s feet, it looks like creams that contain Argireline are a big waste of time and money.  And even worse, they might be dangerous for your health.

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