Weight-loss patches might seem like a dieter's dream. All you need to do is stick one on your skin and you'll see the pounds melt away—or so the manufacturers claim. No scientific evidence exists that the patches work in this manner, so this is a buy-at-your-own risk situation. According to MayoClinic.com, most over-the-counter weight-loss products are gimmicks. Reducing your calorie intake and increasing your activity level is still the safest and most effective way to lose weight.
What Are They
Weight-loss patches are patches or stickers that you can affix to your skin. They're usually placed on your upper arm, shoulder blade or abdomen. According to Ultimate Fat Burner—which provides expert reviews of weight-loss supplements—drug delivery through the skin is tricky and does not work well with all ingredients. What's more, the ingredients that weight-loss patches contain are difficult to absorb through the skin and unlikely to be very effective in causing weight loss.
Depending on the brand and type of weight-loss patch you're considering, claims vary. They include curbing your appetite, mood enhancement, boosting your immune system and breaking down fats and cholesterol. According to The Beauty Brains, at least one patch on the market also promises to lower your chances of breast and ovarian cancer while you lose weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, studies about aroma patches for weight loss—which release a scent that allegedly curbs your appetite—are sketchy at best and performed by the manufacturers.
Weight-loss patches are usually sold in boxes of 30, so they provide a one-month supply at once. Prices are reasonable compared to other weight-loss products. As of 2010, a box costs anywhere between $30 and $50. Online stores often have specials, coupons and discounts for these products. Patches don't usually come with a money-back guarantee.
Ingredients used in weight-loss patches include stimulants such as guarana, appetite suppressants such as hoodia and other ingredients including chromium and garcinia cambogia. No scientific evidence exists that any of these ingredients actually causes weight loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, most weight-loss supplements sold over the counter may potentially be unsafe and have been insufficiently studied to determine if they work as claimed.
In 2004, the Federal Trade Commission charged a number of weight-loss patch manufacturers with fraud and false advertising as a result of an investigation initiated by complaints from customers. The claims included that the patches would cause permanent weight loss, melt away fat and enable users to lose up to three pounds per week. Some of the charges were also brought because some companies claimed they had back-up from the FDA or that the ingredients used in the patch had been approved by the FDA.