Syn-Ake: Myth or Miracle? Here’s What You Need To Know

The YS Beauty Lab

Even though the term “Syn-Ake” has appeared widely in anti-aging skincare products over the past five years, questions are seldom asked about this synthetic snake venom that claims to smooth wrinkles by relaxing facial muscles. This article aims to unmask some of Syn-Ake’s mysteries before you try out this Botox alternative.

What is Syn-Ake?
Syn-Ake is a compound developed by Swiss pharmaceutical company Pentapharm that mimics a protein found in the venom of the Temple Viper. The protein, named Waglerin 1, is responsible for paralyzing the victim of the snake’s bite, as its venom is injected through its hollow fangs. Syn-Ake is soluble in water and appears as a colorless to yellowish viscous liquid with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 in aqueous form.

Temple Viper

How does it work?
Wrinkles are formed after years of activity by the 60 muscles we use to smile, frown or form other facial expressions. According to Pentapharm, Syn-Ake works by preventing sodium ion uptake in muscles and keeping them relaxed to prevent the formation of deep expression lines. That is to say, it works in a way similar to Botox.

It’s skin Power 10 Formula Syn-Ake serum
Image: Beautikon

What’s the normal dosage?
Syn-Ake creams and serums normally contain a concentration of 1 – 4% of the substance, to be applied once or twice daily.

Who’ve used it?
Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow are reportedly fans of Syn-Ake.

Images: Kathmandu Post/ Celebmafia/ Hello! Magazine

Is it effective?
In the 28-day trial of a Syn-Ake cream conducted on 45 volunteers by Pentapharm, 67% of the people claimed that wrinkle size was reduced by up to 52% after applying the cream twice daily.

Ra: average roughness; Rt: maximum difference between the highest peak and the deepest furrows; Rz: mean value of these different maxima. A decrease of the Ra expresses a smoothed relief. A decrease of the Rt and Rz expresses a decrease of the wrinkles’ depth.
Image: Pentapharm

While Botox is injected, Syn-Ake cream can only be applied onto the skin. The question is, can it penetrate deep enough to reach the muscles?

In an article in the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Corey Maas, a fellow of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, stated that the Syn-Ake molecule should be small enough to penetrate the skin. However, it still needs to go through several layers of skin before it reaches the smile muscles. That’s why the effect may only be visible after a month or so.

Chemical structure of the Syn-Ake
Image: Pentapharm

Is it safe to use?
If Syn-Ake can penetrate through the skin and paralyze the smile muscles, it means it may also be able to travel through the body and cause general muscle weakness. However that side-effect may not be obvious under a low dosage. Also, there’s the potential hazard of it limiting your ability to form facial expressions, but that’s just one side of the two-edged sword, like what Botox does if you “overdose.” Syn-Ake has a milder effect than Botox, and as such is revered as the new Botox. And of course, it’s much cheaper!