How Does Syn-ake Work?



What Is Syn-ake?

Syn-ake is a patented anti-aging ingredient developed by the Swedish company, Pentapharm Ltd, designed to mimic the action of snake venom. It is designed to work on relaxing the muscles in the face to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. 

Syn-ake is a synthetic peptide or syn-peptide. Syn peptides are small synthetic proteins that are modeled off a non-synthetic or real-world peptide. In the case of Syn-ake, it is a synthetic peptide that is modeled off a protein found in the venom of the Temple Viper. The peptide that Syn-ake mimics is Waglerin-1. Waglerin-1 prevents the uptake of sodium by the muscles by working on the mnAchR receptor. Preventing the uptake of sodium inhibits the transmission of nerve impulses to the muscles, and the muscles stay relaxed. This relaxation of the muscles, much like Botox, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

As a skincare ingredient, Syn-ake can be added to most formulation types, such as serums, moisturizers, or most water-based products. It is generally used as the main anti-aging ingredients but also can be formulated alongside other key ingredients to create a more diverse anti-aging product. 

12 Skincare Ingredients You May Want to Avoid


the good:Syn-ake may help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles through reducing the ability of the facial muscles to move.

the not so good:It can cause irritation to the skin, resulting in swelling, itching, and stinging.

Who is it for?All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.

Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients.

Keep an eye on:There is a potential hazard for the peptide to travel through the body and have off-target effects on other muscle groups in the body, potentially causing generalized muscle weakness.

How Is Venom Used in Medicine?

Venom has been used throughout history to treat illness and there has been a significant amount of research in recent times into the potential applications of synthetic venoms to treat a variety of ailments. For example, ziconotide from cone snails to treat chronic pain or lepirudin from leeches to prevent blood clots. 

Interestingly, one of the first recorded uses of venom as a treatment was described by a Roman historian in 37 BCE when it was used to treat a fast bleeding sword wound to the leg. A small amount of venom from the Steppe Viper was used to coagulate the blood and save the man from bleeding out. Ingredients such as the key ingredient in many anti-wrinkle injections, derived from the bacteria known to cause Botulism, have been used in the skincare industry with success. 

How Does Syn-ake Work?

The venom of the Temple Viper which Syn-ake is designed to mimic, paralyzes the muscles to weaken their prey. Syn-ake was created to mimic this action by creating a synthetic peptide with the same amino acid sequence as the Waglerin-1 peptide. The Waglerin-1 peptide was identified as the cause of the paralysis in the snake’s venom. By creating a chemically similar structure, the synthetic peptide is able to produce a similar effect. It is thought that the molecule is small enough to penetrate the skin and work on the facial muscles, however, due to how deep these muscles are under the skin, only small amounts of the molecule will get through. This means that Syn-ake’s effects are generally temporary, lasting for about a month and reducing the likelihood of off-target effects.

Wrinkles around the eyes and mouth form over time because the muscles in the face contract in repeated motions that cause you to smile, laugh, and frown. These facial expressions cause the skin to stretch and wrinkle each time, and eventually, lines and wrinkles form because your skin loses its elasticity and can no longer snap back to its original position. Syn-ake’s ability to reduce the appearance of these wrinkles comes from its ability to freeze the muscles that create them. Syn-ake can be applied to wrinkles on the forehead, the neck, around the mouth, and around the eyes, although extreme care should be taken when using the product around the eye area.

Products containing Syn-ake usually have low concentrations of the peptide, ranging from 1-4%. This low concentration reduces the potential for the ingredient to enter into the bloodstream and causes generalized muscle weakness.

What Are Syn-peptides?

Syn-peptides are synthetically manufactured peptides that are similar in structure to a naturally occurring peptide. They are designed to mimic the action of the naturally occurring form. Peptides are essentially short proteins and are used in skincare formulations as they are often small enough to penetrate through the skin. Syn-peptides have been created to combat the appearance of wrinkles, pigmentation and increase the natural protective abilities of the skin.

Is Syn-ake Actually Safe?

Syn-ake hasn’t been independently evaluated by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel but the company that produced it has not reported any toxicity or sensitization issues in its research. However, Syn-ake has anecdotally been known to cause adverse reactions in some users, you should start out by adding the smallest possible concentration of Syn-ake to your skincare regime until you know how it will affect your skin.

Many users who have sensitive skin have found that using Syn-ake caused swelling, redness of the skin, itching, and stinging when the product was applied. While not all consumers will experience negative side effects, extreme care should be taken during the first application and the results carefully monitored before applying the product again. 

Grob, A, Hashimoto, C, Sticht, H & Eichler, J, 2016. ‘Synthetic Peptides as Protein Mimics’, Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. Fukudu, M, & Yoneyama, T, 2010. ‘Synthetic Peptides’, Microbial Glycobiology. Munawar, A, Ali, S, Akrem, A & Betzel, C, 2018. ‘Snake Venom Peptides: Tools of Biodiscovery’, Toxins, vol. 10, is. 11, pp. 474. Pennington, M, Czerwinski, A & Norton, R, 2018. ‘Peptide therapeutics from venom: Current status and potential’, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 26, is. 10, pp. 2738-2758.



Carrot & Stick

Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare. What does this mean? It perfectly balances the power of plants with innovative science, offering the best of both worlds. Read More


The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Read More