Consumer Health: A Research on Cellulite Creams

The problem of unattractive skin dimples disturbs women all around the world. Hence, cosmetics manufacturers use to sell products of various efficacy to benefit from the situation. While conducting Internet research, I have chosen the topic of anti-cellulite items and narrowed the issue to the words “cellulite cream.” I used three popular search engines: Google showed 863,000 hits, Yahoo and Bing – about 529,000 results.

Using an anti-cellulite cream is one of the methods to solve the problem of the skin. It seems to be the easiest one when compared to exercises or liposuction, but many creams do not contain enough active ingredients. Moisturizing skin temporarily they do not work with the fat cells or collagen production to make the presence of cellulite less.

The web search has shown that there are plenty of advertisements and sites with product ratings. One of these pages is “20 top-rated cellulite creams amazon reviewers can’t shut up about,” posted by Elle.com. That site could be considered dubious because it is commercial. Describing products, authors rely on consumers’ emotions and reviewers’ authority. There is no research provided here, only somebody’s private opinions. For example, Majestic Pure Anti Cellulite Cream is promoted with somebody’s words of a 75% reduction in noticeable cellulite (Elle.com, 2021). The name of the review’s author and her level of awareness of the problem is unknown. None can say decisively that the decrease in fat cells results from that cream, not from a diet or massage. Thus, if consumers want to find a clinically proven product, they should avoid such websites.

The promoters of MarieClaire.com seem to be more considerate because they use the authority of a dermatologist to advertise their products. For instance, they recommend buying Brazilian Bum Bum Cream according to Dr. Peredo’s approval (Hall, 2021). Consumers understand the cream’s efficacy, and still, they are not aware whether the amount of caffeine in that cream is enough to work with the problem. They are supposed to rely on Dr. Peredo’s authority, not facts and investigations.

The purpose of dubious sites is to sell their products successfully. Therefore, they use bright pictures, emotional reviews, and experts’ authority to convince consumers to buy the products using their links to commercial websites. Some of the state data from actual researchers and quotations from professors or dermatologists in the problem’s introduction. However, the fact that they use reliable sources does not prove the description of their products is not dubious.

The web-search has shown some credible findings, for example, “Cellulite treatment” by Suchitra Chari on MedIndia and “Do cellulite creams even work?’ on HuffPost. The first is medically reviewed and refers to a wide range of scientific journals. First, Chari (2020) explains the nature of cellulite and the factors of its development. Then, she represents and comments on various treatment methods, such as non-invasive laser treatment, acoustic wave therapy, etc. As for cellulite creams, she claims that particular ingredients (caffeine, retinol, ginkgo Biloba, Centella Asiatica, horse chestnut) could stimulate fat breakdown (Chari, 2020). The evidence of creams efficacy is a study published in the Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology.

The article “Do cellulite creams even work?’ is full of links to different kinds of sources. There are commercial ones that refer to the products’ prices and medical publications. The purpose of the article is to investigate the efficacy of treatments relying on actual studies and specialists’ opinions. For example, when Falcone (2020) cites Dr. Rahman’s words about retinol’s proven effectiveness, she puts the link to the study “A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of topical retinol in the treatment of cellulite” published on a trustworthy source PubMed. Measuring the promising results of products with retinol, Falcone (2020) refers to the American Academy of Dermatology that declares the most beneficial creams should contain at least 0.03% retinol. A customer could read the research and accordingly choose products with effective ingredients.

The article “Do cellulite creams even work?’ overviews popular products with comments on their ingredients and the probable results of their application. For example, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula contains lots of cocoa, but there is no caffeine, so consumers should not hope they get satisfying outcomes (Falcone, 2020). Products promoted on commercial websites, such as Elle and Marie Claire: Clarins, Bliss, Shisheido, and Glytone, were tested and, according to the International Journal of Dermatology study (2018), proved to be rarely effective (Falcone, 2020). However, the author offers more helpful measures, such as a healthy diet, physical activity, and laser therapies.

If we use Google Shopping to estimate the price range, we see that the cost of cream varies from $4.23 for Kapomi Anti Cellulite Cream Gel to $236.30 for Marini CelluliTx Cellulite Cream. About 90-70% of women have cellulite (Falcone, 2020), and almost every cosmetic brand produces cellulite treatments. According to the statistics, in 2019, about 1,640,000 Spanish and 828,000 French women stated they use anti-cellulite creams (Statista Research Department, 2020a, 2020b). Hence, cellulite creams obtain a large market segment of slimming and firming cosmetics.

Literature Review

The research of “cellulite cream” in Thomas Cooper Library resources has shown 737 results. Among the range of databases with credible scientific studies, PubMed has provided 28 results, the United States Food and Drug Administration database (FDA) – 2 results, and National Institutes of Health (NIH) – 13 results. The publications include tests of different mass-market products and an overview of treatments and consumers’ complaints.

An article “Improvement of a slimming cream’s efficacy using a novel fabric as a transdermal drug delivery system: an in vivo and in vitro study” analyzes the innovative case of cellulite treatment. First, researchers overviewed possible approaches used to enhance the drug penetration through the normal skin barrier. The transdermal medication delivery was tested on guinea pigs: they were divided into four groups when one was left untreated, and three other groups were treated with different methods (Yoo et al., 2020). To assess the results, they used methods of ultrasound and microscopic histological analysis. Comparing the reductions in fat layers, scientists concluded that applying a slimming cream with the novel fabric is effective in enhancing the transdermal caffeine penetration (Yoo et al., 2020). Thus, while topical treatment is proved to be ineffective, the new way to deliver ingredients into deeper skin layers could be the possible solution to the cellulite problem.

The article “A two-center, assessor-blinded, prospective trial evaluating the efficacy of a novel hypertonic draining cream for cellulite reduction: A clinical and instrumental (Antera 3D CS) assessment” by Puviani, Tovecci, and Milani describes the long-term test of a new product. The study participants were 20 women of about 34 with the cellulite severity of Grade I-III, who applied the treatment for 60 days daily (Puviani, Tovecci, & Milani, 2018). After one and two months, researchers used digitalized images to evaluate the results and concluded that the treatment confirmed its efficacy. Thus, the conclusions are rather credible, although the study period should be expanded, and the number of women is not enough to firmly recommend the treatment.

Cosmetic companies often conduct studies of their new products because they need at least prove their safety. Without testing, the products could be considered illegal, counterfeit, or mislabeled. The products presented in previously summarized articles demonstrated their efficacy. However, while short-termed studies with a small number of participants are enough to confirm that the product is not toxic, the credible cellulite cream studies need more effort. When consumers consider buying a product, they could read the information about “clinically proved” results, but the actual data of their studies is often debatable. Therefore, the studies of such products should be more expansive and time-consuming.

Findings/Conclusions

Cellulite is a dermatological problem of dimpled flesh indicated on lower limbs, abdomen, and buttocks. The term refers to an unpleasant but harmless skin condition, which is widely spread among women. Cellulite is often characterized as “cottage cheese skin” or “orange peel.” There are various procedures to correct that condition, from simple weight loss and massage to invasive laser treatments. Women concerned about their appearance often use cellulite lotions and creams provided by mass-market. Compared to plastic surgery, these products are affordable, but the result of their application is rarely long-lasting.

The research on the topic of cellulite creams has shown that there is a wide range of cosmetic brands claiming their products are innovative in the field of dermatology. Describing the effects of their products, they refer to consumers’ emotions and feelings but rarely provide tests. Sometimes advertisements contain information from recent cellulite studies. They give many facts on the problem, but when the matter comes to promoting cellulite creams, the tone of publications changes from logical and well-grounded to optimistic and persuasive. For example, “20 top-rated cellulite creams Amazon reviewers can’t shut up about” relies on personal ratings and opinions that often could be prepaid by brands. The author of the article, “The 19 best cellulite creams, according to dermatologists,” uses the authority of a well-known dermatologist to sell goods. However, the opinion of the dermatologist is not based on reliable studies. The credible articles, such as “Do cellulite creams even work?’ and “Cellulite treatment,” provide data from peer-reviewed sources.

The search among creditable databases of books and articles has demonstrated that the problem of dimpled skin is still a popular topic of research. There are some independent studies of mass-market products and analyses of newly developed products. For example, “Improvement of a slimming cream’s efficacy using a novel fabric…” and “A two-center, assessor-blinded, prospective trial evaluating the efficacy of a novel hypertonic draining cream…” provide results of new cosmetics tests. However, while the methods of the studies and the whole process of testing are convincing, the number of test participants and the terms of the studies are rather questionable. Therefore, before buying a cellulite cream, every consumer should conduct a small research: study the ingredients and the number of active components. The publications of a product’s outstanding results must be viewed with skepticism: at least safety is assured. The result is guaranteed only by time and personal efforts.

References

Chari, S. (2020). Cellulite treatment. MedIndia. Web.

Elle. (2021). 20 top-rated cellulite creams amazon reviewers can’t shut up about. Web.

Falcone, D. R. (2020). Do cellulite creams even work? HuffPost. Web.

Hall, C. (2021). The 19 best cellulite creams, according to dermatologists. Web.

Puviani, M., Tovecci, F., & Milani, M. (2018). A two‐center, assessor‐blinded, prospective trial evaluating the efficacy of a novel hypertonic draining cream for cellulite reduction: A Clinical and instrumental (Antera 3D CS) assessment. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 17(3), 448-453. Web.

Statista Research Department. (2020a). Number of people using slimming and firming creams in France from 2014 to 2019, by specialist type. Statista. Web.

Statista Research Department. (2020b). Number of women using slimming and firming creams in Spain from 2015 to 2019, by purpose of application. Statista. Web.

Yoo, K. H., et al. (2020). Improvement of a slimming cream’s efficacy using a novel fabric as a transdermal drug delivery system: An in vivo and in vitro study. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 19(5), 3282-3288. Web.