As with any other branch of the medical field, there are things in the skin care arena that may or may not make sense. Some active ingredients in treatments and products might seem like a good idea, while others are probably better off being used somewhere else. Natural skin products are no different in this regard. One such ingredient is the substance known as L-carnitine, which is more likely to be part of a nutritional supplement than a skin cream.
What is it, anyway?
In essence, L-carnitine is a naturally-occurring nutrient that helps the metabolic process, playing a role in turning fat – whether stored or consumed – into energy for the body’s cells. The body typically makes it in the liver and kidneys, but it is stored in the skeletal muscles. The heart, brain, and male sperm cells can also become storage facilities for it. In most cases, supplementation isn’t required at all, though there are instances when the body is unable to produce it in adequate amounts. Conditions like angina can result in deficiencies. With that in mind, what would it be doing in a natural skin treatment?
Can it do anything?
Most of the data shows that L-carnitine can’t do anything for the skin. It has been labeled as an amino acid by some, but this is mistaken. There are some indications that it might possibly have antioxidant properties, but evidence suggests it won’t be useful if applied topically on the skin. For the most part, its properties and effects are focused on other areas of the body, and skin care is not something that it plays a part in. It is primarily used for as a supplement for some heart-related conditions, and for its effect in contributing to energy levels by improving metabolism.
Why use it?
It may be that L-carnitine finds its way into natural skin products because of it being mislabeled by some as an amino acid. Amino acids play a part in the maintenance of the skin, though their exact usefulness is debatable. L-carnitine is not an amino acid and plays an entirely different role in the body.
Like any other field in medicine, sometimes a skin care ingredient sounds promising but is, ultimately, in the wrong place. L-carnitine might have properties that make it an intriguing subject of research for diabetes, cardiovascular treatments, and weight loss, but skin care is not something that it has any effect in.