Losing weight is hard, and it’s understandable that you at least have questions about quick-fix solutions that you might encounter while searching for the best weight loss option for you. Enter weight loss spots.
These adhesive patches promise to help slim your body, all with what is essentially a glorification sticker. But what exactly are weight loss patches, and do these devices actually work?
What are weight loss patches?
Weight loss patches are pads that contain certain ingredients that manufacturers claim will help the wearer lose weight. Once applied, the patches are supposed to transfer the ingredients into your body over time.
There are various weight loss patches on the market, including some that have a small ball of ingredients that goes into your belly button (and is held in place by the adhesive).
What’s in weight loss patches?
These patches are considered supplements and therefore are not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As a result, it’s hard to know for sure what’s in these patches, points out Jessica Cording, RD, author of The Little Book of Game Changers. However, the following ingredients often appear with weight loss patches:
- okay. Acai is a type of fruit that is “full of antioxidants that may lead to lower inflammation in the body,” says Keri Gans, RD, author of Small change diet. However, the belief is that it leads to weight loss when absorbed through the skin Not Scientifically Proven Absolutely”.
- Green coffee extract. This is “coffee beans that haven’t been roasted,” Cording says, adding that “there isn’t a lot of research on it and weight loss.” Green coffee extract has been “associated with decreased fat cells and increased energy” when ingested, says Gans. But, she adds, it’s “not conclusively proven” to help you lose weight when you take it and “definitely not” when you put it on your skin.
- Garcinia cambogia. Garcinia cambogia is believed to suppress appetite but its effectiveness has not been scientifically proven, says Gans. Cording calls this ingredient a “big red flag,” noting that it has been linked to liver toxicity.
“These are all ‘superfoods’ that contain lots of antioxidants and have been linked — with little to no evidence — to weight loss in the past,” says Gina Keatley, CDN, co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. “The only thing that has changed is the delivery system.”
Weight loss patch side effects
It’s hard to say for sure what side effects can result from weight-loss patches, Cording says, since it’s hard to know what’s actually inside. However, experts say that some things can happen.
“With these plasters, the body may not be able to absorb any benefit from these food products,” says Keatley. “Our skin isn’t very good at absorbing stuff—which it is—but to increase absorption, some manufacturers may use chemicals that help move ‘things’ through the skin and into the bloodstream.” She says this is “dangerous” because your skin’s protective barrier can’t differentiate between good nutrients and things like harmful heavy metals.
Also, if you’re taking any medications, Gans says there’s a chance using a weight loss patch could interfere with the effectiveness of your medications.
Do weight loss patches work?
Experts say there is really no data to support its use. “The best case scenario is that we don’t have the research to support their success,” Cording says. Worst case, they can kill you.
Keatley strongly urges people not to use weight loss patches. “Ask yourself, why the stains?” Says. “If your life is so busy that the only way to lose weight is to patch up, you may be very imbalanced.”
Instead, she suggests setting aside three days to track your meals. “See if you’re eating too little or too much and start there,” she says. “Skip corrections.”
Cording also recommends enjoying weight loss patches. “They’re so ridiculous,” she says. “This is not a reliable weight loss option.”
Corinne Miller is a freelance writer specializing in general wellness, sexual and relationship health, and lifestyle trends, with work appearing in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self, Glamor, and more. She has a master’s degree from American University, lives on the beach, and hopes to own a cup of tea and a taco truck one day.