Millions of Americans are frustrated by the appearance of stubborn pockets of body fat. Sometimes, no matter how many miles you run, crunches you crunch, or carbs you cut, that body fat just won’t budge. Luckily, modern body sculpting techniques provide non-invasive means of making those fat deposits a thing of the past. At Artful Aesthetics in Oakland, CA, we offer one such body sculpting treatment in the form of CoolSculpting, which uses targeted temperature therapy to quite literally freeze and melt away body fat.
What Is CoolSculpting?
CoolSculpting is a popular, 100% non-invasive body sculpting technique that uses cold temperatures to freeze away stubborn body fat that won’t respond to diet or exercise. It’s approved by the FDA and proven to work on many areas of the body where fat typically collects, including the belly, the thighs, and the neck.
The Science Behind Body Fat
Body fat is stored in fat cells. It seems easy to think that when we gain weight, the number of fat cells in the body increases, and when we lose weight, the number of fat cells decreases. In fact, the number of fat cells in the human body stays relatively stable once we age out of adolescence. As adults, our fat cells are pretty much stable.
Instead of forming new cells when we gain weight, the body stores extra fat in those existing cells, causing them to expand. When we lose weight, the body processes the fat in those cells, which causes them to contract. Because those fat cells are always there, there’s only so much that diet and exercise can do for stubborn fat deposits. Those cells aren’t going anywhere without a little help. That’s where body sculpting techniques like CoolSculpting come in.
How Body Sculpting Works
This body sculpting treatment, also known as cryolipolysis, works because of another quirk in the nature of body fat: it freezes at a slightly higher temperature than surrounding tissue. Using carefully calibrated temperature control, our professionals freeze fat cells, which cases them to crystalize. The damage done eventually kills the cells, which, as we now know, is a tough thing to do. The dead fat cells are then processed by the body. As they are removed, the stubborn fat deposit that was treated will slowly melt away over time.
A CoolSculpting treatment can reduce the appearance of body fat in the treated area by 18%, with some people experiencing reductions of up to 25%. This body sculpting method is most commonly used to treat the belly, thighs, lower back, upper arms, and flanks, but it can be used elsewhere, too.
What Is the Treatment Like?
The treatment itself is administered by a CoolSculpting machine operated by our professional team. The machine compresses fat in the area of treatment between two plates. First, one of our specialists will apply a gel to the area of treatment. The specialist then places the machine’s applicator over the skin. A vacuum seal will pull the area of treatment into place, and the cold-administering plates are then pressed against the skin on either side of the area.
Those plates then administer cold temperatures onto the skin, which sink in and freeze the fat cells beneath. Patients who undergo CoolSculpting report a little pinching and pressure, but once the cold temperatures start to numb the skin, it’s easy to lean back and relax while the machine does its thing.
Depending on the size of the area being treated, a single treatment can take anywhere from one to three hours. You can read a book, binge your favorite show, or even bring a laptop and get some work done while you relax and wait. Once your treatment is finished, you’ll be able to walk out of our office and go back to your normal daily routine. Unlike invasive fat reduction surgeries like liposuction, CoolSculpting requires zero recovery downtime.
What Are the Downsides?
As mentioned above, some people report pinching or pressure during the beginning of the treatment. Post-treatment, the treated area will take some time to thaw out. You can expect some redness in the treated area, just as you would if you were icing a bruise on your couch. Beyond that, there is no downtime and no side effects.
How Long Before I See Results?
The treated fat cells will take a little time to die off, and the body will take still more time to remove them. Most people can expect to start seeing results within a few weeks of their initial treatment. Those results will continue to improve up to and even beyond three months after a treatment. As the body slowly flushes out the dead fat cells, the skin around the treated area has time to mold itself to the new contours of your body, ensuring a natural look. This isn’t an instant fix, but the results are proven and worth it for those who don’t mind a short wait.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
The number of treatments each person needs depends on their desired results. If you just want to freeze some fat off of your belly, one or two treatments may be enough. If your goals are more grand, you’ll have to come in multiple times to target various areas. When you visit our office for your consultation, one of your specialists will examine the area you want treated and come up with a customized treatment plan that will help you achieve your goals.
How Long Will My Results Last?
Fat cells are difficult to destroy, but the body also tends not to create many new ones in adulthood, either. That means that the results of a CoolSculpting treatment can be expected to be more or less permanent, with some exceptions. For example, not all fat cells will be killed by a treatment, which leaves room for the remaining cells to expand in the event of weight gain. In addition, extreme weight gain can cause the body to generate new fat cells, which can undo the effects of a treatment.
If you maintain a good diet and exercise regimen, though, you can expect the results of your CoolSculpting treatment to last for years to come.
Who Is CoolSculpting for?
While CoolSculpting is an FDA-approved, proven, safe method for melting away pesky stubborn body fat, it is not the perfect solution to everyone’s goals. Read on to learn who might be a good candidate for a CoolSculpting treatment.
People At or Near Their Ideal Body Weight
One of the biggest misconceptions about CoolSculpting and other, similar non-invasive body sculpting treatments is that they are effective weight loss methods. In reality, these treatments are strictly cosmetic. They work best for people who are already in good shape, especially those who are at or near their ideal body weight but still have pockets of stubborn body fat that won’t respond to normal diet and exercise habits. If you have pinchable body fat that can be pulled from the body but are in good overall physical shape, you might be a good candidate for CoolSculpting.
People who want to lose weight or people who are obese will not find the solution they’re looking for with CoolSculpting. Instead, they should speak to their physician and formulate a weight loss plan focused on diet, exercise, and healthy living.
People With Generally Healthy Skin
CoolSculpting slowly melts away fat over several weeks, which gives healthy skin with normal elasticity time to reshape itself around the body’s new contours. People with loose or lax skin, however, may find that their doesn’t mold itself around the body’s new shape. That’s why CoolSculpting is best suited to people who have generally healthy skin with good elasticity.
People With Realistic Expectations
This treatment can go a long way toward improving self-confidence and body image, but it’s important to remember that a treatment will reduce body fat in the treated area by a maximum of around 25%. It’s not going to turn a belly into six-pack abs. If that’s your goal, you’ll need to focus on a strict diet and exercise regimen. If you just want to rid yourself of a bit of body fat that won’t respond to your normal routine though, CoolSculpting is one of the best currently available ways to do so.
People Who Have Ruled Out Invasive Surgery
There’s a time and a place for liposuction, but for many an invasive surgical procedure that requires lengthy downtime for recovery is never going to be the best option. Whether the idea of surgery makes you nervous, the expense is too great, or you just don’t think it’s necessary, people who want to trim away a little body fat without invasive procedures should look into CoolSculpting as a safe, viable alternative that provides proven results.
Who Is Not a Good Candidate?
As mentioned above, CoolSculpting is a great solution for thousands of people, but it is not the best solution for everyone. Here are a few examples of people who should look into other treatments or postpone body sculpting treatments to a later date.
People With Temperature-Sensitive Conditions
People with skin and other conditions that make them more sensitive to cold temperatures could experience complications from a treatment like this and should speak to their physician prior to undergoing it.
Women Who Are Pregnant or Nursing
Women who are pregnant or nursing may not be good candidates for CoolSculpting for multiple reasons. One of the reasons is that the body undergoes many changes during pregnancy, so cosmetic treatments should be postponed until after pregnancy and the nursing period are complete. If you’d like to learn more, you can consult with your physician or one of our specialists.
People With Insufficient Body Fat
CoolSculpting uses a vacuum to grab hold of fat deposits and squeeze them between the machine’s cold plates. If you don’t have enough fat to squeeze between those plates, the treatment is unlikely to do you much good. Likewise, people with solid fat, which means no distinct bulges and no means to grab hold of it, are unlikely candidates for this treatment.
In one to three hours, a CoolSculpting treatment can melt away pockets of body fat that years of diet and exercise have failed to work their magic on. It can do this without the need for downtime, with no needles, no incisions, and no recovery period. You could even get a CoolSculpting treatment on a long lunch and be back at work that day, with no one the wiser.
This might all sound too good to be true, but this treatment is FDA-approved and has worked for millions of people all over the world. If you think you would be a good candidate for this treatment and would like to learn more, contact Artful Aesthetics in Oakland, CA to schedule a consultation today!