Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Summer Swimsuit Research Flash: Thigh-Reducing Creams Don't Work

Date:
June 7, 1999
Source:
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Summary:
So-called "thigh-reducing" creams, marketed to overweight women and normal-weight women who believe their thighs are too large have no positive physical effect beyond moisturizing.

CHAPEL HILL - So-called "thigh-reducing" creams, marketed to overweight women and normal-weight women who believe their thighs are too large have no positive physical effect beyond moisturizing.

Related Articles


That's the conclusion researchers drew after measuring the thighs of volunteers who applied the creams for six weeks in the first well-controlled scientific study of the products.

The study, presented Thursday (June 3) at the American College of Sports Medicine's annual conference in Seattle, showed no significant difference between upper-leg circumference when women rubbed the creams on one thigh every day and a lotion not touted as fat-reducing on the other.

"Manufacturers of these creams rake in the bucks for a product that doesn't work," said Dr. Bonita Marks, assistant professor of physical education, exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "They feed on unfounded, poor self-images many women have of their bodies."

Others involved in the research were Drs. Jerome Haky of Florida Atlantic University and Laurence Katz, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the UNC-CH School of Medicine.

Because of the time required to process each volunteer daily, researchers concentrated on only 11 women, all students at UNC-CH or Florida Atlantic University. The women, who ranged in age from 18 to 35, applied "thigh-reducing" cream to one leg for six weeks and an inactive product to the other. They were asked not to change their routines by dieting or exercising more during the study than before. Neither scientists nor subjects knew which leg got what until the end of the project.

"I was amazed at the types of women responding to participate," Marks said. "They were not the ones we would think might need it, but rather they were mostly young, normal-weight women."

Researchers used special equipment to measure each volunteer's thighs near the knee, at mid-thigh and near the hip at the beginning and end of the six weeks. They also had the women fill out questionnaires about their perceptions.

"Not only did we find no difference in each volunteer's thighs at the end, but the volunteers themselves said they could see and feel no difference either," Marks said. "They said both products worked well as moisturizers, and surprisingly, they seemed to be less negative about their thighs at the end of the study. We don't know why."

The supposed active ingredient in "thigh-reducing" creams is aminophylline, a bronchorelaxant used to treat asthma, she said. In the laboratory, it was found to dissolve some fat cells, and so manufacturers began putting it in creams. They assumed it might have a similar effect on what some people have called "cellulite," or dimpled fat on the body, and an earlier study supported that notion.

But during the previous research, the women, who were obese, also dieted and exercised. Marks and colleagues repeated those experiments without the diet and exercise and added psychological assessments. One of their findings, published separately in February in the International Journal of Obesity, was that aminophylline did not enter the blood stream and thus had no positive or negative effects on the heart or lungs. In other words, it may not work, but at least it won't hurt when used moderately.

"It's interesting the way the cosmetics industry gets around FDA regulations for marketing the creams and how close they come to fraudulent advertising without actually breaking any advertising claim rules," Marks said. "This stuff can cost as much as $30 a bottle, while the average moisturizing cream costs about $3."

In their advertising and packaging, the industry uses glowing testimonials from "satisfied" customers and says the creams work better if one also diets and exercises.

A foundation grant from Florida Atlantic University to Marks and a Petroleum Research Fund grant administered by the American Chemical Society to Haky paid for the study.

Other research on aminophylline and its potential to reduce fat by increasing metabolism showed it was not effective enough in humans to continue studying, Marks said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Summer Swimsuit Research Flash: Thigh-Reducing Creams Don't Work." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990607071500.htm>.
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. (1999, June 7). Summer Swimsuit Research Flash: Thigh-Reducing Creams Don't Work. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990607071500.htm
University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. "Summer Swimsuit Research Flash: Thigh-Reducing Creams Don't Work." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990607071500.htm (accessed March 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins