Skin Deep - Clinical & Cosmetic Dermatology Blog

Skin Deep is a blog for dermatologists and skin care professionals with focus on theoretical, cosmetic and aesthetic dermatology. This blog is associated with ‘Dermatologists Sans Borders’ one of the largest curated groups of skin care professionals on facebook. If you are looking for non-technical information, please visit

Adolescent Argireline

Read the full series here.
Hope you enjoyed the peptide story so far. Now we will explore the charming Acetyl hexapeptide-3 (Argireline), the botulinum toxin in a bottle. Acetyl hexapeptide-3 has the sequence Ac-Glu-Glu-Met-Gln-Arg-Arg-NH2 patterned from the N-terminal end of the protein SNAP-25. Before going into the details, let me ask my readers few questions about cosmeceuticals?
Lily Allen. A cropped version of Image:Lily 1.jpg
Lily Allen. A cropped version of Image:Lily 1.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How new is new?
How recent is recent?
How similar is similar?

Acetyl hexapeptide-3 is still considered a ‘new’ technological innovation in cosmetic industry. Wikipedia still gives the benefit of doubt to Acetyl hexapeptide-3 for not having long-term safety related data because ‘it has been developed relatively recently’. ( ). But the earliest pubmed published article [1] on Acetyl hexapeptide-3 dates back to 2002 ( ) and the actual discovery of the peptide to 1983. Acetyl hexapeptide-3 is not an infant as we think, but an adolescent.

Though it is not fair to criticise the initial perception about a technology, I can’t help but quote few lines from this initial article:

“Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) represent a revolution in cosmetic science because of their remarkable and long-lasting antiwrinkle activity. (fair enough) However, their high neurotoxicity seriously limits their use. ” (really!)

“BoNT A is the most potent toxin known to humankind and therefore BOTO@” treatment has to be under strict medical control”

May God save those admitted with severe neurotoxicity after BOTO@ and medical fraternity, please have a strict control over the BOTO@ party next door.

Please take a note of the word ‘potent’ above. See another statement the authors have made in the abstract of the same article:

“Analysis of the mechanism of action showed that Acetyl hexapeptide-3 significantly inhibited neurotransmitter release with a potency similar to that of BoNT A, although as expected, it displayed much lower efficacy than the neurotoxin.”

Was clinical research so advanced a decade back so that potency and efficacy could be assessed by analysis of the mechanism of action? 
English: Chemical structure of Argireline (Ace...
English: Chemical structure of Argireline (Acetyl hexapeptide-3) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you scroll down to the “Results and Discussion” you will see a section on rational design of Acetyl hexapeptide-3 that is irrational. More about this in my informatics blog.

Will be back soon with more stories on the adolescent Acetyl hexapeptide-3 and the similarity of its potency with BoNT A.

In spite of the limitations in this decade old initial studies, Acetyl hexapeptide-3 should still be considered a conceptual innovation even now.

Read the full series here.
1. Blanes‐Mira, C et al. "A synthetic hexapeptide (Argireline) with antiwrinkle activity." International journal of cosmetic science 24.5 (2002): 303-310.

Disclaimer: Argireline is a registered trademark. All information presented here is given in good faith but without warranty or guarantee of any kind whatsoever, whether implied or expressed. 
Read the full series here.

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About Me

As a Dermatologist and Informatician my research mainly involves application of bioinformatics techniques and tools in dermatological conditions. However my research interests are varied and I have publications in areas ranging from artificial intelligence, sequence analysis, systems biology, ontology development, microarray analysis, immunology, computational biology and clinical dermatology. I am also interested in eHealth, Health Informatics and Health Policy.


Bell Raj Eapen
Hamilton, ON