Carnosine at a glance

  • Synthetic peptide that is biomimetic (designed to emulate the carnosine naturally found in the body)
  • Offers a host of anti-ageing properties
  • Protects against oxidative stress
  • May help ward off pro-aging glycation effects
  • Aside from topical application, carnosine also comes in dietary supplement form

Carnosine description

As a skin care ingredient, carnosine is a synthetic peptide that is biomimetic, meaning it is designed to emulate the natural carnosine found in the body where it functions as a protein building block (the carnosine peptide contains the amino acids histidine and alanine). Topically applied, carnosine has skin-soothing and antioxidant properties that allow it to protect against oxidative stress and perform anti-ageing capabilities. There is some research indicating carnosine offers antiglycation properties. (Glycation is a process that leads to wrinkles, so warding it off is a good thing.) Manufacturer studies also tout carnosine’s ability to boost collagen, but as is generally the case for peptides, specific formulary considerations and delivery systems have to be in place for carnosine to effectively reach where it would need to go to have that effect. Since carnosine occurs naturally in the body and plays a role in maintaining health, it is considered safe for topical use. The general range considered effective for use in skin care is anywhere between 0.05-2%. Aside from topical skin care, carnosine is commercially available as a dietary supplement, where it shows promise for improving various health conditions.

Carnosine references

  • BMJ Open, December 2020, pages 1-12
  • Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, September 2020, pages 1-15
  • Cosmetics, November 2018, pages 1-9
  • Aging and Disease, October 2015, pages 369-379
  • The Journal of Dermatological Treatment, October 2012, pages 345-384
  • Biopolymers, January 2008, pages 655-662
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, July 2004, pages 26-34
  • Life Sciences, March 2002, pages 1789-1799
  • FEBS Letters, July 1995, pages 81-85

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not Rated