Combining multiple actives can increase efficacy of anti-cellulite cream

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags In vivo

Formulating a number of different actives with synergistic and additive effects is a more effective way of tackling the appearance of cellulite, according to scientists from Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

The researchers performed a number of tests, both in vivo​ and in vitro​ to investigate the efficacy and mechanism of action of an anti-cellulite product recently released on the European market.

Containing five different actives (tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine (THPE), caffeine, carnitine, forskolin and retinol) the product, when applied daily for 12 weeks, can decrease orange peel and stubborn cellulite appearance of the skin, the company claims.

Actives to alter fat storage

According to the study, published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, caffeine and carnitine were included in the product as they are known to alter how fat is stored in the adipocytes. Caffeine, the researchers explained, can stimulate the liberation of triglycerides and carnitine, the transfer of free fatty acids into the mitochondria to produce energy.

Similarly, forskolin was included in the formulation as it is known to have a lipolytic effect, and retinol, for its role in skin regeneration.

Numerous factors can act on the appearance of the cellulite. Among them, the structure of the epidermis can contribute to obtain a better improvement. Thus, cell proliferation participates in obtaining a thicker and more resistant epidermis,”​ explained study author and senior scientist at J&J Romain Roure when explaining the inclusion of retinol in the formulation.

In addition, THPE was included in the formulation for its lifting and firming properties, the researchers explained.

According to Roure, cellulite’s complex nature is behind the inclusion of multiple actives with different properties.

“Cellulite is a multi factorial skin condition that should be therefore approached using a multi directional strategy. The learning of this study is that by combining actives delivering on different targets can generate better final benefits on cellulite,”​ he told

In vivo study

The double blind randomized study included 78 subjects who applied either the placebo or the anti-cellulite product twice daily for 12 weeks on the hips, thighs, buttocks and stomach.

According to Roure and the team, circumference measurements in all four body areas showed significant decreases after application of the formulation for 12 weeks. In addition, the researchers claimed that orange peel appearance was improved from 4 weeks and tonicity after 8 weeks.

While they remained less exaggerated, the team did note improvements in those using the placebo cream, suggesting the positive effect of the massage motion that was used to apply the products.

“…the effect of the placebo could be explained by the weak effect of the massage used to make the product penetrate the skin. However, the product delivered large and significantly better benefits when compared to the placebo,”​ Roure said.

Source: International Journal of Cosmetic Science
doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2011.00665.x
Evaluation of the efficacy of a topical cosmetic slimming product combining tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine, caffeine, carnitine, forskolin and retinol, In vitro, ex vivo and in vivo studies

R. Roure, T. Oddos, A. Rossi, F. Vial and C. Bertin

Related topics Formulation & Science

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