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Wait, what? A tummy tuck cream? Do they really work?
Unlike the dramatic procedure of a full abdominoplasty, tummy tuck cream promises the same results - but from a jar. They honestly sound really tempting - and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Everyone has a little lump or bump somewhere on their tummy they wish would just melt away, right? I swear, all the jumping jacks and hot yoga sessions and planks in the world couldn't help me - but a tummy tuck cream could… Right? If there are fat burning creams in general, what’s the best one to get flat abs? What's the best stomach firming cream out there?
Diva Stuff Slimming Body Gel
Honeydew Ultra Moisturizing Hot Cream
Advanced Clinicals Green Coffee Bean Oil Thermo-Firming Cream
Tummy Sleek Tightening Serum
New York Biology Anti-Cellulite Oil
What even is a Tummy Tuck Cream?
Basically, they’re a product - not always a cream - that you apply to your stomach area, and it helps to tone and firm the area. They usually promise to burn away fat and tighten the skin in the area for abs to rival Britney's in the early 2000s. (And I hope you're not asking which Britney!)
But do belly slimming creams work?
While a tummy tuck cream sounds like a promising way to lose inches off your waistline, always keep in mind that they’re no substitute for a proper fitness routine - they should always be viewed as a supplement to weight loss, not a magic solution. If that were so, we wouldn’t have such a huge fitness industry! Keep in mind not to rely on only a belly cream to lose weight.
What is in the Tummy Tuck Cream?
There are some key ingredients that tend to appear frequently in tummy tuck creams and gels for their purported slimming abilities - caffeine, green tea, carnitine, chili oil, d-limonene, and menthol. But do all these ingredients really work? There are different studies that claim the benefits of each ingredient for fat burning, mainly by a combination of increasing circulation and reducing fluid retention in the targeted area. In layman’s terms, they mainly help get rid of your water weight.
What do these Ingredients do?
Each of these ingredients work slightly differently, which is why any belly fat cream will tend to have a blend of ingredients. Like with any beauty product, it’s super important to actually understand the ingredients and how they work, so you can choose the right flat stomach cream for you - or in this case, one that actually works.
For any kind of product that claims to improve the appearance of fat or cellulite, you will almost always see caffeine featuring prominently on the ingredients list in any slimming cream. For stomach fat, it can make a bit of a difference! The reason it’s so popular in any kind of firming or toning cream is its ability to dehydrate the fat cells, making any area it’s been applied to look ‘smaller’ and smoother. It’s also a circulation booster and may act as a fat releaser (aka, a lipolytic) when applied to the skin.
Green tea is rich in potent antioxidants and often touted as a healthy drink for weight loss. But do these benefits translate when applied to the skin? It also contains a small amount of caffeine, boosting any benefits of coffee extract. The high levels of antioxidants in green tea may support fat burning by boosting anti-glycation, anti-adipogenic and anti-inflammatory action if formulated in a toning cream for stomach.
While more commonly taken as a supplement before working out to burn fat, Carnitine may also help break down fat if applied topically to the skin. Carnitine is what’s known as a lipolytic - it breaks down fat, allowing the body to use it as energy and support effective weight loss. There aren’t current studies to confirm that carnitine has this same effect when included in a weight loss cream for stomach fat.
While this ingredient pops up a lot in tummy tuck creams, there unfortunately, isn't much evidence to point to effective, true fat loss. When it's applied to the skin, it creates a warm, tingly sensation when included in the formula for skin firming creams for stomach. This warming is known as the ‘thermogenic effect'. If you've ever cut chilies before, then you might already know that chilies can do some real damage to the mucous membranes. This is not something you’d want to apply, then rub your face while working out! The warming sensation from chili oil might encourage even more sweating, thus dehydrating the fat cells, but it’s not a solution for permanent weight loss.
Again, menthol is an ingredient that’s more well known for creating a hot and cold feeling on skin - not influencing what’s underneath it. While I can’t deny it would provide some welcome relief to sore muscles after a workout, there isn’t much evidence that it does much else formulated in a fat burning cream. For stomach fat that’s a little stubborn, it might not do too much.
D-Limonene is mainly found in essential oils, with the highest concentration in grapefruit essential oil. It’s a unique oil - it may help to break down fat into fatty acids that turn into useable energy in the bloodstream. Could this be the key ingredient to the best skin firming lotion for stomach fat? Let’s find out!
How do you use Tummy Tuck Cream?
Tummy tuck creams are usually recommended for use under a sweat belt/waist trainer, or applied to the targeted area before exercise. Some sources encourage combining the two, but this can be dangerous and lead to muscles not actually being exercised properly for genuine strength-building and fat loss.
Wait, is it the waist trainer or the cream that does the work?
Honestly, it all depends. I think a combination of the two is really effective for temporarily (this is the key word here!) flattening and smoothing loose tummy skin thanks to a combination of dehydration and the pressure of the wrap literally pushing fluid away from the area. It makes you lose your water weight for a little while until you rehydrate and it comes back again. Womp womp.
It's like when you put a compression wrap over any swollen body part to discourage swelling, except you have the added effect of the slimming cream. For tummy skin, caffeine will dehydrate and flatten the area, and chili oil will make you work up a sweat to lose as much water weight as possible. To actually melt belly fat, cream would have to absorb through the skin to the fat layer underneath - and (un?)fortunately, our skin is a great barrier for keeping things out.
So, do any of these tummy tuck products live up to the hype?
What really is the best fat burning cream for stomach fat? Knowing a little more about tummy tuck creams and how they work on our bodies gives us a little more info on choosing the best cream to lose belly fat and to help get that much closer to our goals. Here are some tummy tuck creams that could help you look like Britney - you betta work, b!
1. Diva Stuff Slimming Body Gel
Contains: Caffeine, Chili Seed Oil, Green Tea, Menthol
This Slimming Gel from Diva Stuff promises a lot - and quickly. But does it really deliver? Is this a legit tummy cream with fat burning abilities? Well, this cream does a lot - there’s no denying that caffeine is one of the best ingredients to smooth skin and potentially turn fat into an easier to use energy form for your body. It claims to boost the metabolism in targeted areas but doesn't clarify which ingredient actually does this. Either way, I think that's kind of a stretch - but that doesn't mean this cream doesn't do anything at all!
It also contains warming/cooling ingredients like menthol and chili oil to boost circulation and provide that “ooh, something’s happening!” feeling. It’s definitely designed to make you sweat more, shedding any water weight where you’ve applied it. Combined with a wrap, this is a surefire combo for slimming down - at least, temporarily.
2. Honeydew Ultra Moisturizing Hot Cream
Contains: Chili Oil, Menthol
This Hot Cream from Honeydew is a stomach firming cream designed to make you sweat buckets. Honeydew can market this as a flat tummy cream because it makes you sweat a ton, reducing the appearance of your tummy by intensely dehydrating it. It contains chili oil and menthol, both of which create an intense warming effect on the skin to spur on sweating and increased body temperature. The company also claims that the heating effect boosts circulation and therefore encourages fat being carried away from the area to be used as energy. This is a little dubious, but for a cream that is literally just hot on the skin, it does the job.If you just want to feel like you’re doing more by sweating a lot during a workout, this might be the one for you!
3. Advanced Clinicals Green Coffee Bean Oil Thermo-Firming Cream
Contains: Caffeine, Green Tea
Totally a minor thing, but I love that this cream is in a giant tub with a pump - there’s nothing I hate more than having to stick my hand into a huge tub of product and it gets all under my nails, ick. It makes sure that you get every single last drop, too.
This lotion to burn belly fat relies a lot on caffeine to the heavy lifting and fat burning here - I like that it doesn’t have to include an ingredient like menthol or chili oil just to feel like something is happening. It has a lot of really nice moisturizer ingredients that I’d like in any body cream - so at the least, my skin is going to look super smooth and super hydrated. It has a really nice actual coffee smell to it, too - if you don’t mind smelling like a fresh brew!
4. Brazilian Belle
Contains: Caffeine, Green Tea, L-Carnitine
As far as a What I like about the Brazilian Belle Gel is that a) you can technically use it everywhere on your body and b) it’s a nice, lightweight gel. I always find gels a little bit more user-friendly as they’re way less heavy on your skin and don’t leave you with greasy hands. It also sinks in super quickly - no lingering stickiness.
As a fat burning gel for stomach chub that’s a little too stubborn, I have to say that the ingredients list is very promising. It has a really nice triple combo of Caffeine, Green Tea, and L-Carnitine, but it does have menthol to boost the supposedly metabolism-boosting thermogenic effect. Either way, this is a good cream to briefly smooth down any minor lumps - but not a replacement for exercise!
5. Tummy Sleek Tightening Serum
Contains: L-Carnitine, Caffeine, Actigym.
This serum is one that I couldn't leave off this list - how cute is the packaging?! Of all the stomach firming creams on this list, this is the only one in a lightweight, serum form. It uses this light formula to deliver tummy-toning ingredients like L-Carnitine and Caffeine to all your super-stubborn target areas.The formula even includes patented Actigym, an ingredient clinically proven to “improve skin tone and refine the appearance of the abdomen area”. This marine-derived ingredient sounds very promising and combined with an incredibly fresh smell and easy to use formula, I'm sure the results will be seen in no time.
6. New York Biology Anti-Cellulite Oil
This belly fat burning cream is unique on this lists for two reasons - first, it’s not technically a cream (but still provides great results), it's an oil, and secondly, it utilizes D-Limonene as its fat-burning ingredient. D-Limonene is found in most citrus essential oils, but it's found in its highest concentration in grapefruit essential oil, a major ingredient in this anti-fat and anti-cellulite oil. It's the only fat-burning ingredient in this product, but this massage oil is formulated to make the most of the D-Limonene in the grapefruit and lemon essential oils in this product.
Because it’s an oil, a little goes a long way without compromising just how effective this natural blend is. It also smells amazing totally naturally, thanks to the essential oils.
But what’s the best fat burning cream?
Is there really such thing as a cream to reduce belly fat?
The bottom line is - these creams are harmless at best and just moisturizers at worst. There just isn’t enough evidence to show that a topically applied product can go through all three layers of skin to fat to actually melt it. Most of the time, what they do instead is get rid of your water weight - while this can be enough to make a change on the scale and sometimes in actual inches, it’s not a permanent change in your body.With that in mind, the best ‘fat burning cream here', IMO, is the Brazilian Belle Gel. On its own, caffeine is just fine as a skin-smoothing and fat-dehydrating ingredient, but this gel takes it to the next level by including Green Tea, and L-Carnitine to really give any fat burning a shot. It also contains menthol to stimulate the skin and provide that thermogenic effect and boost sweating, encouraging the loss of water weight that leads to a smaller looking waist - at least for a little while.
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About the author Stephanie Morin
NYC-based beauty and skin care blogger, Stephanie delivers a healthy dose of practical beauty tips for some serious skin care inspiration!