Argireline and Matrixyl are two peptides that are commonly used as part of "anti-aging" products. Peptides are generally small fragments of proteins that have their own ability to interact with and affect cells. These compounds are often used together in special skin formulations that are designed to prevent wrinkles, generally in the form of a cream. Generally these two peptides are combined with other ingredients, such as vitamins and supplements for the production of collagen. While Argireline and Matrixyl are two synthetic peptides, they have entirely different effects on the skin.
Argireline's action is thought to be similar to that of Botox. What this means is that it blocks the release of neurotransmitters from the neurons to the muscles. Because these neurotransmitters are necessary for the contraction of muscles, Argireline works to relax muscles near the top of the skin, thus eliminating wrinkles. A 2002 study done by the Molecular and Cellular Biology Center in Alicante, Spain, performed under the supervision of Dr. Ferrer-Montiel, showed that volunteers who used a cream containing this product had a 30 percent reduction in their wrinkles after 30 days of treatment.
Matrixyl works in an entirely different way. Instead of paralyzing the muscles, Matrixyl works to promote the growth of collagen as well as other proteins, such as elastin and glucosaminoglycans. These are all important compounds for the support of the skin. One of the causes of wrinkles is that these compounds, especially collagen, become broken down and cause the skin to develop folds and wrinkles. A study done in Germany, headed by Dr. Molls, studied the effects of a Matrixyl-containing cream on preventing skin problems in women who had received radiation treatment for breast cancer. Although this study did not find this treatment to be any more effective than another commonly used therapy, it did identify Matrixyl as a possible agent for combating skin problems.