Cellulite affects nearly all women and some men for most of their lives. In the past few decades, the personal care industry has responded by designing anticellulite gels and lotions to topically reduce its appearance. Cellulite-fighting ingredients today include lotus, algae and seaweed extractsa, to name a few, and anticellulite benefits have expanded into treatments, self-tanners and sun care, among others.
Mirroring cosmetic chemists’ work, the garment industry has approached the same battle with textiles that constrict “troubled areas,” such as the buttocks and thighs, to make them appear smaller. Only recently, however, did the cosmetics and garment industries join forces to target cellulite on both fronts—enter Lytess, a France-based shape-wear company. Lytess entered the market in 2002 with slimming tights and has since launched a number of garments that incorporate embedded, microencapsulated ingredients that are released as the garments are worn, according to Philippe Lahamani, president of Capital & Commercial Ventures Inc., US distributor of Lytess.
Building a Cosmetotextile
Lytess has developed more than 20 shape-wear products. The Orange Peel line of micro-massaging garments, for example, includes sleeves, shorts, capris, a top and leggings and are designed to target cellulite with a double-knit fiber of 92% polyamide and 8% elastane. According to Lahmani, the fibers are engineered to stimulate blood flow and are dosed with actives before being spun and dyed. “This process binds the ingredients to the fibers in a similar way to glue,” explained Lahmani.
Encapsulated and woven into the fabric of the Orange Peel line is a blendb of propylene glycol diethylhexanoate (and) Gelidium cartilagineum extract—a lipolytic and firming agent created with 1.5% active sterol. This ingredient, in addition to the fabric’s micro-circulation effect, helps to reduce the appearance of cellulite. In addition, to provide comfort to consumers wearing the garments, moisturizing ingredients are included—elemi resin, for instance, which according to Lahmani also has a firming effect. Sweet almond and mango butter are also said to moisturize while copaiba accelerates moisturization. Other shape-wear garments by the company include caffeine and shea butter, claimed to slim and moisturize. The company also offers products such as gloves that moisturize with sweet almond oil, jeans lined with red vine to tone the skin, green tea to mobilize fat, and peach oil to moisturize.
Most of the garments have undergone clinical testing, according to the company’s Web site, and although the details are not provided, tests on skin, size reduction, profilometry and self-evaluation were reportedly conducted by an ISO 9001-certified laboratory specializing in the in vivo efficacy of dermo-cosmetic products.
The Pros and Cons
According to Lahmani, shape-wear incorporating encapsulated ingredients reduces the potential for contamination, in contrast to topical products. “[When using] a cream or lotion, you have to be sure that your hands are clean. In addition, the cream can deteriorate from bacteria or over time,” said Lahmani.
Lahmani added that with creams and lotions, dosage can be a factor whereas with the garments, it is not a concern. “With encapsulated actives in garments, the consumer does not have to worry about dosage since it is already prepared for them,” commented Lahmani.
Ingredient-encapsulated garments do have their drawbacks; most notably, the actives are only 100% effective for 20 washes, after which efficacy decreases. “After 30 washes, the consumer [only] has about 30% of the active ingredients, but they can still benefit,” said Lahmani.
Future of Cosmetotextiles
The company continues to examine other applications for cosmetotextiles such as encapsulating lavender or citrus into bedding to help the consumer sleep or improve their mood, or applying medicines in garments to treat elderly patients. Other concepts include socks for athlete’s foot and shirts for sunburn, all melding cosmetics and textiles into one.
1. G Pirotta, Skin Delivery of Active Ingredients from Fabrics, in Skin Barrier: Chemistry of Delivery Systems, JW Wiechers, PhD ed., Carol Stream, IL: Allured Books (2008) p 554