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Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3 for hair: what are its effects?

Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3 is a biomimetic peptide primarily found in hair care products designed for thin or fragile hair. Discover in this article how this active ingredient acts on the scalp and hair fibres, and what its benefits are for the hair.

Summary
Published February 22, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

What is the active ingredient Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3?

Acetyl tetrapeptide-3 is a biomimetic peptide composed of four amino acids. These are molecules carrying a carboxyl group as well as an amine group which, when combined in a specific order, form proteins or peptides. Made up of short chains of amino acids, a peptide does not contain more than about twenty amino acids, unlike a protein. They are increasingly used in cosmetics due to their beneficial properties for the skin and hair.

Indeed, peptides play essential roles by acting as messengers within the body. They are indeed capable ofsending signals to cells to stimulate or regulate various biological processes. In cosmetics, most peptides used are chosen for their ability to target specific issues, such as cellular regeneration, the production of collagen and elastin by fibroblasts, the regulation of skin hydration, hair growth, and so on.

The benefits of Acetyl Tetrapeptide-3 on hair.

Acetyl tetrapeptide-3 is particularly used in the haircare field to prevent hair loss. From a mechanistic perspective, this peptide works by increasing the synthesis of type III collagen and laminin, proteins of the extracellular matrix (ECM), which helps to ensure a better anchorage to the hair. It's worth noting that the extracellular matrix is made up of an assembly of macromolecules such as collagen, elastin, proteoglycans, and structural glycoproteins, and it is located between the cells of the connective tissue. The ECM provides support and contributes to the structuring of cells and tissues.

By stimulating the synthesis of ECM proteins, acetyl tetrapeptide-3 enables theenlargement of hair follicles, the small epidermal pouches located at the base of hair fibres. Several studies have indeed shown that their size is correlated with the synthesis of ECM compounds. Consequently, when hair follicles are larger, they provide better hair anchorage and reduce the risk of hair loss.

Several studies have explored the benefits of acetyl tetrapeptide-3 in cases ofalopecia. One such study notably demonstrated that thecombination of this peptide with a red clover extract significantly reduced hair loss. In this study, thirty volunteers suffering from alopecia were recruited and applied a daily serum containing acetyl tetrapeptide-3 and red clover extract to their scalp for four months. At the end of this period, the ratio of hairs in the anagen phase, or growth phase, to the number of hairs in the telogen phase, or shedding phase, had increased by 46%.

Another study also demonstrated that the topical application of a blend of acetyl tetrapeptide-3, biochanin A and ginseng extract had a comparable efficacy, if not slightly superior to that of minoxidil. Minoxidil is a widely used medicinal substance in cases of alopecia. It works by stimulating hair growth and slowing down hair loss but can sometimes cause irritations, unlike the acetyl tetrapeptide-3 which is a very gentle active ingredient. It therefore seems that this peptide is well on its way to becoming a competitive alternative to minoxidil and a genuine means of combating hair loss.

Sources

  • HOCQUAUX M. & al. A new strategy to modulate alopecia using a combination of two specific and unique ingredients. Journal of Cosmetic Science (2013).

  • PANCHAPRATEEP R. & al. An Herbal extract combination (Biochanin A, Acetyl tetrapeptide-3, and Ginseng Extracts) versus 3% Minoxidil solution for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: A 24-week, prospective, randomized, triple-blind, controlled trial. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology (2020).

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