Losing weight can be tough. And so, when you hear that rubbing Albolene cream on your skin could aid in your efforts, you might be all in. And that's understandable.
But here's a reality check: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In other words, don't try the Albolene challenge for weight loss. Using Albolene cream to lose weight does not work, and what's more, it may lead to a dangerous electrolyte imbalance.
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What Is Albolene?
Albolene is sold as a moisturizing cleanser and makeup remover. There's also some evidence that the cream can work as a moisturizing treatment for eczema, according to a September 2012 paper in Dermatology Research and Practice.
Somewhere along the way, it started to be used by body builders and those in weight-class sports like boxing and wrestling to cut weight quickly before competition (which is why it's sometimes referred to as "Albalean").
"The cream traps heat between skin and the cream, therefore it increases sweating," Amy Kubal, RD, a Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based registered dietitian who has developed figure and body-building nutrition plans through her practice Trend Free RD.
Some people rub Albolene on their body and then wrap themselves with plastic wrap in order to trap more heat, Kubal explains. It's similar to going for a run under the hot summer sun in a black garbage bag.
How Does Albolene Work for Weight Loss?
So, can you really use a makeup remover to lose weight? In short, no.
OK, you will likely lose some weight, but only temporarily.
"Any time you sweat, you lose water. Your weight will go down, and you may look slimmer for a short time. That is, until you take a drink of water," Kubal says.
At that point, your body will begin to replenish any water loss and you will gain the weight back.
The thing is, that's probably not what you're going for. The real answer to how to use Albolene for weight loss is: you can't. If your goal is weight loss, you probably want results that last longer than the time it takes you to snap a pic for Instagram. (Seriously, that's about how long results stick around for.)
What's more, this can set up a rather damaging cycle of using this cream, losing a bit of water weight, gaining it back and repeating the process. And that weight-loss whiplash can be psychologically tough.
Risks of Combining Albolene With Exercise
Rubbing this cream on your skin, wrapping yourself with plastic and then exercising is a dangerous game because it can cause you to sweat profusely, leading to dehydration. Aside from just being thirsty, "dehydration messes with your electrolyte balance, which affects your heart function," Kubal says.
When severe enough, dehydration can be life-threatening. Red-flag symptoms include confusion, fainting, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing and shock, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Does Albolene Burn Belly Fat?
Among the so-called Albolene cream uses, proponents say that it slims belly fat. However, Albolene does not burn fat, Kubal says.
Remember, Albolene causes you to sweat, prompting water loss, which will come back on as soon as you rehydrate. "Your percentage of body fat will absolutely not go down," she says.
The Bottom Line
Albolene has been used as a makeup remover for over a century, and it should only be used as such.
Albolene does not work for lasting weight or fat loss. Any weight loss from using Albolene is only temporary, and it comes with health risks.
"Anything worth doing is going to take effort. Long-lasting changes or improvements are going to require a lifestyle change, and that doesn't mean wrapping yourself with moisturizing cream and plastic," Kubal says. "Spend your time and your money doing things that will help you in the long-term and will better your health and not hurt you."
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