As an admitted Sephora junkie, I’ve come across a lot of caffeine-laced cremes for sale that I thought were a rather ridiculous waste of money. A few examples are:
But does infusing caffeine into the skin relay any real beauty benefits? A new study by Brazilian researchers, published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, suggest it might actually slim thighs.
(Continued below the fold….)
99 women were asked to used a 7% caffeine creme twice a day for 30 days, and thigh and hip measurements were then compared to their baseline measurements. More than 80 percent of the the participants had a statistically significant reduction in the circumference of their upper and lower thighs and 68 percent also had slimmer hip measurements. Apparently, smoking, exercise, and alcohol consumption were not related to the results.
The treatment did not, however, have any effect on the cellulite itself, as evidenced by imaging changes in the cellulite (functional capillary density, diameter of the dermic papilla,and capillary diameter.) No significant changes were seen. As the U of M doesn’t have access to the paper, I can’t expound more on the methods or results (and thats saying something, as UM usually has *everything.*)
So why might caffeine slim thighs without affecting cellulite? Cellulite is caused by the accumulation of fat cells deposited in pockets just below the surface of the skin, and is no different than any other type of fat. It gives the appearance of being stubborn to get rid of due to its proximity to the skin’s surface–its more visible than other types of fat. According to Linda Wells, editor-in-chief of Allure Magazine, “caffeine is in almost every cellulite-reducing product that shows any benefit, because it helps blood flow to the skin and works like a diuretic” to remove accumulated fluid in that area. This creates the perception that the area has “slimmed,” but where the fluid goes, who can say, and the effect will likely last only as long as the continued use of the caffeine. So while the caffeinated creme may improve firmness through dehydration, the underlying issue of cellulite deposition remains unaffected.
The authors state as much though:
“This is no cure for cellulite”, said lead researcher Omar Lupi of the Federal University of then State of Rio de Janeiro. “But it can help women who want to look thinner. Exercise is still the best way to go.”
I think I’ll save my money for the gym.
Hat tip Charlie for the press release.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd. (2007, December 7). Caffeine Cream Tones Thighs. ScienceDaily.
Lupi et al. 2007. Evaluation of the effects of caffeine in the microcirculation and edema on thighs and buttocks using the orthogonal polarization spectral imaging and clinical parameters. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2007 Jun ;6 (2):102-7.