A lip balm designed to burn fat has been attacked for playing on women's insecurities.

The makers of Burner Balm, based in Los Angeles, say the product will curb appetite and increase energy level while burning fat and carbohydrates.

But the "revolutionary new product" has drawn criticism from several camps.

Mary George, for the eating disorder charity Beat, said: "This could encourage young girls to worry unnecessarily about their body shape.

"We feel this is yet another marketing ploy playing on women's insecurities and issues around their size and weight."

Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum, condemned the lip balm as a "gimmick" and said he would not be advocating the product as a possible solution to weight gain.

And he said Burner Balm attempted to capitalise on the slimming properties associated with two of its key ingredients - green tea and hoodia extract, which is believed to be an appetite suppressant.

"Green tea has always been suspected of having a weight-reducing capability and hoodia is the plant which was used by bush men in the desert so that they did not feel the pangs of hunger.

"The two ingredients have been combined in this lip balm but it remains to be seen whether they will have any real effect.

"You would probably have to consume quite a lot of this for it to make any difference at all."

He called for a "large-scale" trial of the product which is soon to go on sale in the UK and can already be bought online.

Mr Fry added: "You buy over the counter products with all sorts of promises with a certain degree of scepticism.

"I won't be advising anyone to rely on the product - it needs proper evaluation and on the face of it, it seems like a gimmick.

"We condemn anything that encourages girls going through puberty to force themselves to get to a lower weight - this sort of the thing can be very damaging."

The lip balm was the brainchild of Dr Allan Kurtz and created after his patients asked for help tackling their weight problems.