The Truth About the Albolene Weight Loss Fad

Woman wiping her forehead with a towel in the gym
Richard Drury / Getty Images
Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Social media has grabbed onto a trick used by boxers and athletes—using Albolene in an attempt to lose a few pounds quickly. Never heard of it? That may be because it is an unconventional approach that only provides temporary results if any. Using Albolene for weight loss is a method that may help some people temporarily shed water weight—that they'll quickly gain back—but it comes at a price.

What Is Albolene?

Albolene is a beauty product that is used to remove makeup. It is sold in drugstores around the country as a moisturizing cleanser. The product has been around for over 100 years and is highly regarded by professional makeup artists because it can remove heavy makeup while keeping the skin moisturized.

Ingredients in Albolene include mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin, ceresin, and beta-carotene. If you're skeptical about these ingredients facilitating weight loss, your instincts are correct. In truth, Albolene does not aid in permanent weight loss. Instead, it can be used topically to induce excess sweating that can result in a temporary loss of water weight.

How Does It Work?

People who use Albolene for quick weight loss attempts generally spread the cream on the body part they want to target, typically the abdomen, lower back, and buttocks. But some apply the cream to the thighs, hips, arms, and even lower legs.

Once the cream is thickly applied, they wrap the body part in several layers of plastic wrap—the same wrap that you use in the kitchen. Those who put Albolene on their abdomen may also put a corset-style waist trainer over the plastic wrap to hold the wrap and cream in place. Athletes and boxers who use Albolene for water weight loss exercise with the cream and wrap under exercise gear.

Some boxers may use Albolene when they are trying to make weight for an upcoming fight. They may do this in an attempt to quickly shed a few pounds before weigh-ins to qualify for a specific weight class.

Is Albolene Effective?

Albolene does nothing to cause fat loss, and any reduction in water weight a person experiences is only temporary. There are a few reasons that your Albolene-lathered body may appear slimmer after using the product.

First, if you applied saran wrap and a waist trainer, compression will make the area look smaller for a short period. It's no different than putting a tight rubber band around your arm. When compression is applied, you are likely to see a slight effect.

If you exercise regularly while using Albolene, you may lose weight because you are burning more calories each day from increased activity—but this weight loss will have little to do with the moisturizing cream.

Lastly, sweating does cause water loss. When you apply Albolene and start moving, you'll instantly feel sweat build up in the area where it is applied. The coating of the cream over the skin traps heat, causing the body to sweat excessively in those areas in an attempt to cool down, which results in a momentary loss of water weight.

But water loss is different from fat loss. Water loss is temporary and offers no health benefits at all. In fact, there are clear downsides to losing weight this way.

Side Effects

Trying to lose water weight quickly can be dangerous. There are published reports of boxers and wrestlers who cut water weight too quickly and suffered heart problems and other complications from dehydration. Also, weight loss resulting from using Albolene is temporary. If you see results at all, they will disappear once you remove the compression garment, the cream, and start drinking water again.

While it is very unlikely that Albolene alone can create the kind of water loss that would put you at risk, it's not wise to get in the habit of using unhealthy quick weight loss methods.

A Word From Verywell

It can be tempting to buy into fad weight loss methods—and there are tons out there that you might see on Pinterest, YouTube, or Instagram. However, most of those weight loss "tricks" are unhealthy, ineffective, or both.

Albolene weight loss has gained popularity with the help of social media, and the photos usually look very convincing. But it's not the smartest way to lose weight or achieve the strong, healthy body you want. Even the company has removed its weight-loss claims from its website.

If one of your goals is weight loss, using traditional methods that have stood the test of time is often the most effective way to achieve those goals. Eat a healthy diet and boost your daily activity to build muscle, improve your heart health, and create better habits for long-term wellness and fitness.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Reljic D, Hässler E, Jost J, Friedmann-Bette B. Rapid weight loss and the body fluid balance and hemoglobin mass of elite amateur boxers. J Athletic Training. 2013;48(1):109-117. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-48.1.05