Argireline® is the brand name of acetyl hexapeptide-3, a skin lotion used for wrinkles and other effects of aging. It is marketed as an alternative to botulinum toxin, better known as Botox and the most widely used anti-aging treatment in the world. Argireline® is developed by Barcelona, Spain-based company Lipotec S.A.
The Argireline® skin-care treatment is classified as a peptide. This is an organic compound comprising amino acids tied together by peptide chemical bonds. Acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a shorter form of protein, which makes it a shorter form of the botulinum toxin protein. Argireline® appears as a transparent solution, with water solubility. The key component of Argireline® is acetylcholine (ACh), which is a chemical compound that can be found in the body's peripheral nervous system and central nervous system. It acts as a neurotransmitter, contracting muscles to give skin a smoother, more youthful look.
Argireline® is manufactured to be effective within a minimum period of 15 days. Lipotec claims a 17 percent reduction of wrinkles using 10 percent of acetyl hexapeptide-3. According to a 2002 report by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, women were able to reduce the depth of their wrinkles by up to 30 percent using the same amount within a 30-day period of treatment. In another report, based on the research of Centerchem, Inc., a 27 percent improvement was recorded, this time with 5 percent of acetyl hexapeptide-3 over the same period length.
In the early 2000s, some medical and federal agency reports in the United States and Canada suggested that there were several dangers associated with Botox, which include breathing problems, muscle weakness, pneumonia, swallowing difficulties, speech disorders, respiratory failure and, in the most extreme case, death. Since Argireline® was only developed around this period, it is not yet known whether it would share the same long-term effects of Botox. Moreover, as of 2011, double-blind clinical trials, which are a very stringent level of testing where any possibility of bias concerning the subjects and the researchers is eliminated, have not been conducted, or its results have not yet been published. Still, the manufacturer advertises the skin cream as a safer alternative.
As of 2011, Argireline® has not been approved by any governmental health agency, including the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Some companies, however, have begun selling anti-aging creams containing it. An example is Elite Serum™, which in addition to Argireline®, consists of agents such as aloe vera and acai berries.