Are Peptides The Future of Anti-Wrinkle Injections?

By Florence Goulbourne

Peptides offer a host of skincare benefits, from reducing the appearance of fine lines and to stimulating collagen production. But can Neuropeptides really work as a needle-free alternative to Botox?

What are Peptides?

Gaining traction in the skincare world, peptides are short chains of amino acids, linked by peptide bonds. As amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, peptides have been purported to offer multiple skincare benefits including hydration, barrier support and smoothing properties. When used in skincare and cosmetic products, peptides mimic the protein sequences found in collagen and elastin to stimulate the skin’s production of these key structures.

What are Neuropeptides?

Neuropeptides work to inhibit the release of neurotransmitters to help reduce the appearance of inflammation and prevent the formation of fine lines. Other benefits include stimulating hyaluronic acid production and helping to increase the skin’s resilience to environmental stressors. Argireline is a peptide that works by inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters at the neuromuscular junction, producing temporary visible effects that replicate those of a toxin treatment. These factors make neuropeptides a key component of preventative anti-ageing skincare.


Neuropeptides vs Neurotoxins

Neuropeptides and neurotoxins both function as chemical messengers within the body, studies have shown that some neuropeptides can create a botox-like effect by inhibiting the release of the neurotransmitters that cause muscle contraction. A study conducted by Kim et al, observed statistically significant wrinkle reduction following the topical application of a neuropeptide-based hydrogel after 8 weeks of treatment demonstrating that neuropeptides can be used in the cosmetic industry as a novel anti-wrinkle agent. Popularised by the rise of anti-wrinkle patches, such as Arkana’s Neuro Peptide Mask, neuropeptides offer promising anti-ageing results. However, when applied topically in the form of masks, serums or moisturisers, neuropeptides can only act on the surface layers of the skin.

In contrast, neurotoxins like Botox, Xeomin and Dysport are able to directly inhibit muscle function, as they are injected below the skin’s surface. Therefore, neurotoxins offer superior results when it comes to preventing fine lines and wrinkles in expressive areas such as the forehead and around the eyes and mouth.

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How Can Peptides Be Used In Aesthetic Medicine?

With neuropeptides and neurotoxins offering alternative treatment routes for the cosmetic improvement of lines and wrinkles, practitioners are now discovering the benefits of combining the two approaches.

Utilising injectable neurotoxins in-clinic offers fast and effective anti-ageing results, while patients can maintain and prolong the skin’s smoothness and vitality by following an at-home neuropeptide-based skincare regime. Neuropeptide skincare can help to maintain toxin results, while further smoothing and firming the complexion.

With perpetual advancements in aesthetic and cosmeceutical technology, peptides and neuropeptides in particular are key ingredients to look out for in 2023. Neuropeptides can provide at-home maintenance for optimal injectable toxin treatment results, when incorporated into a cosmeceutical aftercare regimen.


Kim, D.J.; Lee, S.B.; Chang, S.S.; Lee, J. Anti-Wrinkle Efficacy of Neuropeptide Substance P-Based Hydrogel in Human Volunteers. Cosmetics 2020, 7, 37. https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics7020037

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