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Anticellulite Products: Ingredients and Efficacy Testing
By: Bud Brewster, Cosmetics & Toiletries
Posted: December 23, 2008, from the January 2009 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries.
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4. Thigh skin appearance is very heterogeneous. Hard fat nodules in the dermal region are located upon palpation. Micronodules agglomerate into macronodules.
These stages illustrate the variety of circulatory and structural changes that would need to be addressed by treatment approaches.
The Ingredients and Products
In her 2005 University of Cincinnati dissertation on quantitative models for the investigation of cellulite,4 Smalls described numerous treatment approaches: weight loss; surgical procedures; carbon dioxide therapy; mechanical massage; and pharmacological agents, both oral and topical. Her Internet search on the term cellulite treatment early that year revealed 223,000 reports. Her survey of the claims and contents of four affordably priced topical treatments then available, and recapped here, illustrates the range of ingredients and possible mechanisms already employed in marketed anticellulite products.
- Avon's Cellu-Sculpt Anticellulite Slimming Treatment contains caffeine and botanical extracts with anti-inflammatory effects (Ginkgo biloba leaf extract, Panax ginseng extract, Bupleurum falcatum extract (hareâ€™s ear), Lagerstremia indica extract, and Malva sylvestris (mallow) extract.
- Jergens Skin Firming Moisturizer contains a Fucus vesiculosis (seaweed) extract that has anticoagulant properties, may enhance skin fibroblast expression of integrins, and reportedly increases skin firmness and reduces skin thickness (in the cheek). The product also contains Centella asiatica extract that has been reported to induce lypolysis when taken orally.
- Neutrogena Anti-Cellulite Treatment contains retinol, an unspecified seaweed extract and caffeine.
- RoC Retinol ActifPur Anti-Cellulite Treatment uses retinol, ruscus and caffeine to make the skin "appear" smoother and firmer.
New active ingredients and mechanisms are introduced every year. One recent example is a sulfo-carrabioses solutiona from BASF Beauty Care Solutions. This red seaweed hydrolyzate contains a new molecule--called k-carrageenan or, more precisely, sulfo-carrabiose--that is capable of capturing two polyamines--spermine and spermidine--that trigger fat accumulation. The ingredient is a simple and natural sugar trap with the claimed ability to hinder the bioavailability of these two pro-cellulite polyamines, reportedly resulting in a significant reduction of the appearance of cellulite when used with caffeine and compared to caffeine used alone (See Supporting Claims for Sulfo-carrabioses Solution).5
Supplier companies acquire an expertise in preferred anticellulite approaches and develop refinements over the years, as seen in the chronology of patents and patent applications. Examples include L'Oreal's interest in xanthine, Pierre Fabre's nurturing of garlic bulb extracts, and Lipo's series of patents on optically activated particles. Table 1 follows six years of US patent activity at 12 ingredient suppliers.
Finished product manufacturers have devised formulations containing ingredients selected to address cellulite's multiple causes. One example is Life Extension's Cellulite Suppress Formula, which contains seven active ingredients claimed to help correct the underlying causes of cellulite and target existing cellulite (see Figure 1).6 According to Life Extension, the formula contains several proprietary "fat-fighting" ingredients:
- A blend of sorbitan laurate and lauroyl prolineb shrinks adipocytes by turning on fat-burning receptors while simultaneously switching off receptors that inhibit fat burning; it also boosts fat oxidation and inhibits an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase to prevent fat storage (See Supporting Claims for a Blend of Sorbitan Laurate and Lauroyl Proline).
- Chenopodium quinoa seed extractc blocks the formation of blood vessels needed to transform pre-adipocytes into fully formed fat cells, thereby inhibiting the formation of new fat.
- Laminaria hyperborea extractd and Gelidium cartilagineum extracte work in synergy to stimulate key lipolytic enzymes and prevent the formation of new fat cells. They also have a detoxification effect by increasing waste elimination and drainage, thus helping to improve circulation.
Another "fat-fighting" ingredient is glycyrrhetinic acid, which reduces the availability of cortisol, a hormone involved in fat deposition. For skin firming, the formula contains escin (horse chestnut seed extract) to help strengthen the integrity of veins and capillaries, and Centella asiatica to improve the synthesis of collagen around the venous wall, thereby improving skin firmness and elasticity against burgeoning fat cells.6
Evaluating the Efficacy of Anticellulite Products
Even as new ingredients are developed, new methods are evolving for evaluating their efficacy. And as ingredients and approaches are sometimes selectively combined to provide a multimodal approach for treatment, something similar can be said for test instrumentation and methodologies involved in evaluating treatment efficacy.