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-ageing 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

See peptides

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!