Looking for products that plump and smooth skin without injections? There’s some big beauty buzz happening overseas that we think we’ll be seeing a lot more of stateside very soon, and it’s centered around an ingredient called Volufiline. Also known as Zhi Mu, Volufiline is a patented natural plant extract created by the French company Sederma, which is largely known for creating peptide powerhouse Matrixyl-3000. “Volufiline helps promote body volume by providing a cosmetic, lipofilling-like effect,” says Chelsea Scott, cofounder of The Beauty Spy, who discovered the unique ingredient when she partnered with cutting-edge K-beauty brand Dr. Tree, based in South Korea. “Studies show it also stimulates and promotes lipid storage, leading to an increase of volume in the fatty tissue. Overall it helps to plump and smooth skin, improve skin elasticity, and reduce appearance of wrinkles. Dr. Tree utilizes Volufiline in its entire range of products.”
Some of the key products in the Dr. Tree line are the Dear Loose Skin Ampoule, which contains the highest concentration of Volufiline at 10 percent, as well as the Volu10 Lip Plumper, Volu10 Body Serum and Dear Loose Skin Face and Body Cream. However, outside of Asia and parts of Europe, the ingredient isn’t widely used, yet. “I haven’t been able to locate products that utilize this ingredient other than those from companies in Asia,” Scott says, which is why she cofounded The Beauty Spy, to be able to bring these products to the U.S. market.
When Sederma published its clinical trial data, the hype spread quickly in the media overseas and “women got very excited to start slathering Volufiline all over to help smooth and plump,” says Scott. “It’s a natural way to enhance the volume of the breasts and butt, though not as dramatic as a cosmetic surgery procedure. However, the clinical testing shows great improvement for a formula applied topically to skin daily, and there are no known side effects.” The small study, conducted on female volunteers with a small bust, demonstrated a gradual volume-enhancing effect after 28 and 56 days of applying Volufiline in a 5-percent concentration.
“Although the lab research is interesting and compelling, the clinical study was quite small, with only 28 subjects, and there was only modest improvement in breast volume at the end of the trial,” says Monroe, LA dermatologist Janine Hopkins, MD. “I think more studies with larger study groups and long-term safety and efficacy data are needed before this can be recommended. Potential uses for treating lipoatrophy for facial volume loss and loss of adiposity over the buttocks and breasts are intriguing, but more science is needed before I could recommend this to my patients.”
Nanuet, NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD hasn’t used Volufiline or seen in vivo studies, but researched the ingredient to see if the hype could be real. “According to the manufacturer Sederma, Volufiline is composed of sarsasapogenin, a phytosterol extract of the root of the Amenarrhena asphodeloides plant in an oil-soluble base,” she explains. “In the literature, I found that sarsasapogenin has been used orally to reduce obesity-induced insulin resistance in mice, and has been suggested as a treatment for diabetic neuropathy through a presumptive mechanism of reducing the inflammatory cascade in adipose and neurons. I have not seen the data, but Sederma states that DNA studies show sarsapogenin stimulates adipocyte (fat cell) differentiation and proliferation, leading to an increase of adipocyte volume. In theory, if topical application allows for absorption of the active molecules, it could help reduce the rate of age-related volume depletion by helping to maintain adipocytes. However, I would be surprised if topical application stimulated enough fat for volume repletion or enhancement.”
Like any new skin-care product, not everything works for everyone, but I’ve played around with some of the Dr. Tree products, and I love the plumping, smoothing effect, albeit temporary unless you use them consistently (which is also the case with everything else). Additionally, if you search for Volufiline on Amazon, you may find products like this, but Scott warns that these are not meant to be applied directly to the skin. “This is a raw material for cosmetics. Every time you use cosmetics, you mix a few drops and apply, or use it to make cosmetics,” she says. “It shouldn’t be put directly on the skin. This is actually one of the major concerns with buying items off of Amazon. They can easily be improperly used and have many adverse reactions on the skin.”