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Cosmetic products for cellulite: is their efficacy proved?


C. Galeone, F. Turati, V. Guercio

*Corresponding author
University of Milan, Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Via Vanzetti 5, 20133 Milan; Italy


In spite the high number of cellulite reduction products available on the market, relatively few scientific papers on the efficacy of these treatments have been published. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of cosmetic products in cellulite reduction. We reviewed all the literature on this issue using a comprehensive search of the Medline/PubMed and Embase databases and provided a summary meta-analytic estimate of the efficacy of cosmetic products in reducing thigh circumference. Twenty-two trials were identified, with sample size ranging from 12 to 134 volunteers. Most of them included women only, were placebo-controlled, and had an intra-patients design. Eight studies were considered in the meta-analysis. The mean thigh circumference reduction (from baseline) in the treated group was significantly higher than in the control group (mean difference= – 0.47 cm), pointing to a moderate efficacy.


Among the potential treatments for improving the appearance of cellulite (e.g, pharmacological treatments, non-invasive devices, and surgery), topical products are today the most commonly used, since they represent an easy and non-invasive technique. In spite the huge market for topical treatments, relatively few scientific publications reported results from studies evaluating their safety and efficacy. Since the efficacy testing of cosmetic products is a key point to support efficacy claims, it is important to produce and publish the relative documentation, better if in peer-reviewed indexed scientific journals (1-3).
Due to the large differences in protocols of scientific researches for testing efficacy of products, an Italian Interdisciplinary Group for the standardization of efficacy tests on cosmetic products has recently published a consensus paper (4). The aim of that paper was to define statements for making studies reliable, reproducible and safe, following the principles of good clinical practice and a well-design and scientifically valid methodology.
To date, there are several published papers testing a specific c ...

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