Pentapeptide-18 at a glance

  • Considered a neurotransmitter-inhibiting peptide (“neuropeptide”)
  • Most famously studied for its ability to visibly minimize expression lines and wrinkle depth
  • Also noted in research for its ability to hydrate skin and improve firmness
  • May also have the potential to reduce skin discolorations

Pentapeptide-18 description

Pentapeptide-18 is a peptide that has been studied for its ability to reduce signs of aging, including minimizing the appearance of expression lines and visibly reducing wrinkle depth. It is often referred to as a “neuropeptide” in scientific literature, with “neuro” referring to nerves. Pentapeptide-18 is also noted in research for its ability to hydrate skin and improve firmness. It is commonly referenced in research alongside another neuropeptide known as acetyl hexapeptide-8 (or acetyl hexapeptide-3 or agireline), where it has been reported these ingredients have an additive synergistic effect in visibly reducing wrinkles. Variations of this ingredient exist, based on different sequences of its compounds. One study (funded by Colgate-Palmolive Company and PCA SKIN®) demonstrated that when the amino acid D-tyrosine is added to the pentapeptide-18 configuration, it helps visibly fade dark spots and other forms of uneven tone. More independent studies are necessary to validate these findings, but it does look promising. This peptide is effective in amounts of 0.025% up to 10%, depending on formulary goals and the amount of peptide present in solution or powder forms which vary between suppliers. Suppliers of pentapeptide-18 note that it comes as a white to yellowish powder in its raw material form, but it is also available in an aqueous solution. *There are dozens of different pentapeptides used in skin care products. The “penta” portion of pentapeptide-18 refers to its composition of five amino acids.

Pentapeptide-18 references

  • Cosmetics, July 2021, pages 1-80
  • Molecules, January 2021, pages 1-45
  • Scientific Reports, 2020, pages 1-11
  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, April 2022, pages 1-8

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