Pepping Up Skin Care

Growth in cosmeceuticals is being powered by acetyl hexapeptide-3 and -8. Its use more than doubled between 2006 and 2007, according to the Mintel Beauty and Personal Care Global New Products Database (GNPD). It is described as a safer, more mild alternative to Botox. The peptide targets the skin’s wrinkle-formation mechanism and prevents neurotransmitters from acting, thereby relaxing muscle contractions. It claims to reduce the depth of expression wrinkles, especially on the forehead and around the eyes. The ingredient first appeared in European skin care products in 2002. Today it features most prominently in US brands that blend cosmeceutical and botanical claims. Spa brands are also starting to formulate with it. Below are the some of the most recent products formulated with acetyl hexapeptide-3 and -8.

B Kamins Chemist Therapeutic Diamond Radiance Deep Wrinkle Concentrate contains the peptide and diamond powder. This serum helps to relax and plump up the skin, reducing the look of deep creases and wrinkles around the eyes, mouth and forehead. It is part of a line developed by leading Canadian chemist Ben Kaminsky that bridges the gap between the physician's office and traditional cosmetic treatments. The products focus on a range of skin conditions, with emphasis on sensitive, menopausal, rosacea-affected, problematic and extra dry skin types.

Evolution Skin Therapy describes its range as botaniceuticals, combining a strong base of pure botanical extracts with cosmeceutical grade active ingredients. The new DeCrease Deep Wrinkle Smoothing Crème is formulated with acetyl hexapeptide-3 and -8, other peptides, DMAE and edelweiss. It claims to decrease the need for injections or surgery with an instant and dramatic reduction in deep wrinkles and fine lines. The product is free from parabens, artificial color and artificial fragrance.

Another brand to blend natural and cosmeceutical is PCA Skin ExLinea Peptide Smoothing Serum. It features the “bio-friendly" acetyl hexapeptide-3 and -8, witch hazel, senna leaf extract, honey extract, aloe, rose hip seed oil, essential oils and vitamins C and E. PCA Skin products are free from color additives, synthetic fragrances, alcohol and comedogenic oils. Margaret Ancira, a licensed aesthetician, developed the brand in 1990 in collaboration with physicians and scientists. PCA Skin’s “medical grade” products treat acne, psoriasis, hyperpigmentation, rosacea and wrinkles. They are available through physicians and licensed medical professionals in the United States and 60 other countries worldwide.

Athena 7 Minute Lift pushes cosmeceuticals into organic territory. It contains the acetyl hexapeptide-3 and -8 and 12 organic essential oils, and claims to “freeze” skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles in just seven minutes.  The cream can be applied over or under foundation. Once applied, consumers are advised to “sit expressionless for seven minutes” while the ingredients take effect. One hundred percent of study panelists measured an average of 83.72% reduction of the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles within seven minutes, based on a full-face evaluation. First introduced in 2006 by US-based Greek Island Labs, Athena 7 Minute Lift launched in the UK in December 2007.

Acetyl hexapeptide-3 and -8 is also sweeping into the spa sector. California-based spa brand Veronica recently released Seaweed Peptide Serum. The serum is formulated with seaweed, the peptide and a mixture of glycerin (and) water (aqua) (and) butylene glycol (and) carbomer (and) polysorbate 20 (and) palmitoyl oligopeptide (and) palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3. The product claims to stimulate collagen and increase elastin while reducing the density of furrows.

The combination of seaweed and acetyl hexapeptide-3 and -8 appears in a newly launched spa brand. Dr. Goldfaden Unline Line Diminishing Complex is described as a medical grade serum that inhibits and relaxes the contraction of neurotransmitters that cause facial wrinkles. The product is based on Rooibos red tea and it launched in January in the United States.

—Nica Lewis, Mintel

The Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) tracks new product launches, trends and innovations internationally. The Mintel Cosmetic Research Database tracks mass market and luxury cosmetic innovations in France and the United States. For additional information regarding either Mintel GNPD or Mintel Cosmetic Research, visit or call Mintel International at 1-312-932-0600.

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