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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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As demonstrated in this survey, the variety of anticellulite ingredients runs the gamut from herbal to engineered. The variety of instruments and methods to test their efficacy is broad and broadening. Nevertheless, this survey has found suspicion--even among well-meaning people--about the claims made for anticellulite treatments. In addition, this survey has found a need--expressed even by experts within this industry--to standardize and objectify the testing procedures and to find a more perfect single parameter that can be used to measure anticellulite efficacy.
Beyond the scope of this discussion is Lola Smalls' description of a novel, non-contact method using three-dimensional laser scanning technologyf to objectively characterize cellulite. She also described systems to: examine skin biomechanical propertiesg; examine skin thickness and dermal-subcutaneous border morphology using ultrasound; analyze body composition by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. She also reported that quantitative model development by linear regression analysis has revealed that the surface roughness parameters Svm (mean depth of the five deepest valleys) and Sdr (surface roughness ratio) quantitatively describe the cellulite condition. She has been able to relate those roughness parameters to measurable skin biophysical parameters and tissue composition of the thigh. "However, determining the remaining variables that contribute to the cellulite condition would require assessment of the ultrastructure of the skin to determine the features that change with cellulite improvement/worsening," Smalls wrote.4 "The ability to pinpoint the factors that change with changes in cellulite severity will allow scientists to move the needle closer to targeted treatment modalities to ameliorate the condition."
Only a year after those words were written, Enzo Berardesca was able to report that with MRI "the diffuse pattern of extrusion of underlying adipose tissue into dermis is clearly imaged, and was found to correlate with cellulite grading."2 He recently told C&T magazine, "I really trust cellulite can be measured and monitored noninvasively."
It seems clear that objective data can be obtained to support or reject claims of anticellulite efficacy for topical products. What may be less clear is whether that data will be objectively presented to the public.
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1. J Goldstein, Slim evidence for effectiveness of cellulite treatments (posted Aug 19, 2008) http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/08/19/slim-evidence-for-effectiveness-of-cellulite-treatments/ (accessed Nov 29, 2008)
2. C Rona, M Carrera and E Berardesca, Testing anticellulite products, Int J Cosmet Sci 28 169â€“173 (2006)