Acetyl carnitine HCl is an acetylated form of carnitine, a compound that plays a vital role in energy production in the body. Specifically, carnitine facilitates that transport of long chain fatty acids across the mitochondrial membrane into the mitochondria, where the fatty acids are ultimately broken down and converted to energy. Due to the role acetyl carnitine HCl plays in the metabolism of fat, it’s no surprise that this ingredient is used in body contouring creams and cellulite control formulations. However, the evidence suggesting acetyl carnitine HCl decreases the appearance of cellulite when applied topically is minimal.
Acetyl carnitine HCl has also been shown to possess antioxidant activity, which is why it is used in anti-aging skin care products. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. However, there is also research demonstrating that acetyl carnitine HCl induces lipid peroxidation (the oxidative degradation of lipids by free radicals). Thus, acetyl carnitine HCl is not a very effective antioxidant, especially when compared to all of the other excellent antioxidants that can benefit the skin, such as vitamins C and E.