Does getting 57 million views on TikTok mean Lemon Bottle fat dissolving injections are a brilliant treatment? We asked doctors

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They sound like a Beyoncé album, are based on natural ingredients, and TikTok has gone quite loopy about the apparent ability of Lemon Bottle injections to ‘melt fat’ in the body and face. That might be because having a few syringes full of this particular stuff jabbed into your belly, upper arms or chin doesn’t cost that much – we’ve seen it offered for as little as £120 per session.

Needless to say, beauty enthusiasts are falling over themselves to try these Korean-made fat-dissolving injections, with plenty of ‘miraculous’ results being displayed and watched (to the tune of 57M views and counting) on TikTok. But does it all sound too good to be true? Or do we finally have a tweakment on our hands that works and that people can afford? We asked top doctors to weigh in.

How do Lemon Bottle injections work?

The idea is to inject a solution of botanical ‘fat-melters’ straight into fatty deposits. This will then bring about fat cell death, with the resulting fatty acids transported out of the body by your own lymph system.

It’s not that easy to find Lemon Bottle’s full ingredients online, but the solution uniquely contains riboflavin, or vitamin B2 (“which has recently been found to dramatically increase the degree to which the fat cell is broken down,” states the blurb), plus bromelain (an enzyme that “can help to break down fat”) and lecithin (which “helps destroy and transport unnecessary fat cells). There are other plant ingredients as well, such as anti-inflammatory centella asiatica and camomile.

“So far, so good,” says aesthetic physician Sarah Tonks, “in that the ingredients themselves are not dodgy. But there are no data on their effectiveness or that of the ingredients when injected into the body. Moreover, the CE-marked and FDA-approved fat dissolvers that we as cosmetic physicians use, such as Aqualyx and Belkyra, contain things like deoxycholic acid, nicotinamide and phosphatidylcholine, which may not sound half as ‘natural’ but have been clinically proven to work. Lemon Bottle has none of those.”

Do Lemon Bottle injections work to dissolve fat?

I have no idea, because I don’t use them,” says Tonks. “That’s because as far as I can see, it’s not being promoted by any companies that work with medical doctors.”

“Initial reactions from users on TikTok are that people really like it,” is all that aesthetic physician Dr Munir Somji will say. Whether that means Lemon Bottle works consistently, or at all, is a different matter, as these videos are not created under controlled clinical conditions, and there is no clinical evidence available to prove efficacy. In some videos, though, the results look pretty spectacular.

What are the risks of Lemon Bottle?

Recently, Switzerland's drug regulator Swissmedic issued a warning about Lemon Bottle, advising against using the product, as "no medicinal effect has been scientifically proven". (They classify it as a medicinal product because of its composition and how its administered by injection.)

Lemon Bottle does not have US FDA approval, nor does it have the European/UK CE mark for medical devices (“I would expect this as a minimum” says Tonks). Only those certifications mean a product has passed the stringent safety and efficacy requirements in our part of the world and is licensed for use by medical doctors.

The lack of licensing implies not only that the technology is unproven (so we can’t be sure that it works), but as it officially is not a medical device, it means, says aesthetic physician Dr Pamela Benito that non-physicians “such as aestheticians and, frankly, anyone who wants to have a go” are free to inject it. CE-marked Aqualyx and FDA-approved (for chin fat) Belkyra “are required to be carried out by medical professionals who’ve had special training.”

“I would be concerned about people injecting these substances into to other people (or even themselves) if they are not qualified to do so,” says Tonks.

That is because “you can have problems with fat dissolvers if they’re not injected by someone who knows precisely what they’re doing,” she warns. To wit:

  • You can destroy blood vessels

“If accidentally injected into an artery, you are pretty much definitely going to get necrosis (cell death) along the path of the vessel."

  • You can mess up your skin

“If injected too superficially, you can get tissue breakdown.”

  • You can get a temporary face deformity

“If injected close to a nerve, it will dissolve the sheath of the nerve and stop if from working properly until the sheath grows back. You see this sometimes when people have fat-dissolving on the face and the practitioner clips the nerve that supplies movement to the smile. You end up with a lopsided for weeks or months.”

  • You can end up with saggy skin

“The wrong product or the wrong technique may cause advanced ageing or extreme and unwanted laxity,” adds Somji.

Who shouldn’t use Lemon Bottle?

There is the issue of patient selection as well: “Not every patient is suitable; some might require an alternative treatment,” says Tonks. “Fat dissolving may not actually be appropriate for what the patient is after, and here are medical conditions such as liver problems that you would not want to use fat dissolvers with. Those things are for a doctor to decide, who will also ensure that it’s all done safely and in a sterile fashion, and that they can manage any potential complications that may arise.”

In short: you want no one but a highly qualified medical doctor to inject stuff (anything, not just fat dissolvers) into your face or your body.

And Somji adds: “We just have no medical evidence as yet that Lemonbottle is safe. I recommend waiting for solid medical studies to say that it is before you try it.”

What can you realistically expect from having fat-melting injections?

Doctors get visible reduction with licensed fat-dissolving injections (apart from Belkyra and Aqualyx, they also mention FDA-approved Celluform), but Tonks cautions that “none of them is a panacea. Even when we do fat-dissolving in clinic, the results are modest at best.” And, she adds “they are really for treating a small area like the chin; they will not work for large scale-bulk reduction.”

What are the side effects of Lemon Bottle?

For the medically approved fat dissolvers, you must also expect significant swelling and discomfort for a time. Lemon Bottle users on TikTok, on the other hand, claim this product has no downtime at all, which, if true (swelling and pain are in the listed possible side effects), would be another reason for its popularity.

So… is Lemon Bottle worth it?

Reputable doctors say it’s not worth the risks, and we would never recommend getting injections from a non-physician. But if you are keen to get these jabs from a trusted doctor, who knows they might work – just remember there is no proof they will.