There’s *always* a new weight loss fad getting buzz. Whether it’s waist trainers or a new detox tea, there’s simply something seductive and appealing about a quick fix that will help you reach your weight loss goals as fast as possible. But, spoiler, most of the time these products are total B.S. And that’s no different when it comes to the latest fad item: weight loss patches, like with Japanese mint or green tea extract.
Still, you may not be able to help feeling at least a little curious about weight loss patches, since they’re probs all over your social media. Can’t blame ya when proponents of these patches and influencers touting the magical effects of them claim that the ingredients act like little boosters to rev up your weight-loss efforts.
But the question remains: Do these patches actually work—and are they even safe? Get the lowdown here—with input from Charlie Seltzer, MD, a weight loss physician and exercise physiologist based in Philadelphia—before you add any type of weight loss patch to your next Prime order.
First off, what are weight loss patches?
Well, they’re pretty much exactly what they sound like: large adhesive patches that you apply to the part of your body that you’re hoping to reduce (such as your belly, arms, or thighs). They’re typically available through large online retailers like Amazon, as well as on brands’ individual websites and in brick-and-mortar nutrition stores.
These patches are intended to work transdermally, which means the active ingredients go directly into the skin, bypassing your digestive system. That’s is the key difference between patches and oral supplements you’d ingest, such as in pill or powder form, Dr. Seltzer says.
Common ingredients found in these patches include green tea extract, green coffee bean extract and bitter orange (more on these ingredients in a minute).
Do the ingredients in these patches actually have any weight loss super powers?
Many of the most common active ingredients in these patches do rev heart rate or speed up metabolism—however, these effects tend to be *very* minimal. And because weight loss patches aren’t regulated by the FDA, it’s not possible to know the full extent of potential risks and side effects when you can’t gauge how much of certain ingredients are in the patch, and what other ingredients it’s packing. Weight loss products in general typically are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor are vitamins and supplements.
“Unfortunately, there isn’t substantial research showcasing that the ingredients found in these patches are effective or have any benefit, even if they were delivered through the bloodstream,” Dr. Seltzer says. “Ultimately, no weight loss product will ever be perfect, which is why products like pills or transdermal patches won’t end up doing anything at all.”