Many people have asked me if argireline is the same as having botox treatment for facial lines and wrinkles. The short answer is no.

Botulinum toxin is a protein produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, and is known to be extremely neurotoxic, and causes flaccid muscular paralysis seen in botulism. Physicians use this as a commercial product called Botox or Dysport to paralyze muscles; originally Botox was developed by Dr. Allan Scott, an ophthalmologist in San Francisco, and Edward Schantz for the treatment of strabismus and blepharospasm in the 1960s. I’ve used Botulinum toxin in my own research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA during the 1980s and 1990s and fully appreciate the power of the toxin to induce paralysis by irreversibly inhibiting acetylcholine neurotransmission at the neuromuscular junction. In 2002, the FDA announced regulatory approval of botulinum toxin type A (Botox Cosmetic) to temporarily improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe frown lines between the eyebrows (glabellar lines). When used for cosmetic surgery the Botox procedure is efficacious and safe and has only minor side effects.

The hexapeptide C{46}H{56}N{12}O{6}, (CAS 616204-22-9) termed Argireline, was produced by the Barcelona-based research laboratory Lipotec as a result of a rational design program based on the Botulinum toxin molecule. Argireline is a shortened version of the Botulinum toxin molecule, designed to mimic the effect of Botulinum toxin in paralyzing muscles. There have been no double-blind studies of Argireline to prove an anti-wrinkle effect, and only one published study. Anedotal reports are mixed, with some suggesting that a generalized sagging of the skin results from long-term usage. Such an effect, i.e. sagging, is plausible given that the Argireline is applied topically without precise application to particular nerves as is performed in Botox injections. My opinion is to use products that create healthy skin and avoid products, such as Argireline, that are toxins. Beautiful, healthy skin can be achieved by nourishing the skin from within, including a good diet and proper hydration, and by applying topical products that are known to be safe and efficacious, such as anti-oxidants and naturally occurring factors found in healthy skin. New anti-oxidant and stem cell-based topical products are appearing on the market that show great promise.