Grazia 11 July 2017
The Truth About CoolSculpting
The Truth About CoolSculpting
Tested by Sam Freedman
Grazia's Associate Beauty Editor
THE SPIEL: You may have heard the term CoolSculpting bandied around. This non-surgical treatment permanently blasts the pockets of fat that you often can’t budge - by freezing them. The process was discovered after doctors saw that children who ate lots of ice lollies experienced fat reduction in their cheeks.
‘Research showed that fat cells can be killed off when exposed to low temperatures, well before skin could be damaged,’ reveals Dr Galyna Selezneva, the first qualified doctor in the UK to have studied at California’s CoolSculpting University. ‘The process delivers controlled cooling to target fat cells,’ says Dr Galyna. ‘During the procedure, treated fat cells are crystallised (frozen), then die. Over time, your body metabolises this fat, eliminating the dead cells through your urine.’ According to the experts, the results are permanent. ‘Our bodies don’t regenerate fat cells, so once they’re gone, they’re gone,’ she says. The bad news, though, is that if you gain weight the new fat will go elsewhere, so sustaining a healthy lifestyle is imperative unless you want to look, well, wonky.
The treatment got US Food & Drug Administration approval seven years ago, but it’s only in the last 12 months that it has shot to fame. ‘New, smaller applicators have been developed,’ says Dr Galyna. ‘These allow areas of the body that were once impossible to target, like the chin, to be treated.’ And that’s not all. ‘New advances mean the treatment time is dramatically decreased, it’s less painful and there’s no downtime, although some people may bruise.’ So, where once only liposuction (with its extended recovery period, hefty cost and associated risks) could achieve remarkable results, now CoolSculpting is the most popular form of non-invasive fat-reduction worldwide. Over four million treatments have reportedly been performed so far.
So which areas can you treat? Pretty much anywhere with enough fat. ‘It’s great for love handles, back fat or a lower paunchy belly,’ advises Dr Lori Brightman, a certified dermatologist of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center in New York. She notes, ‘It’s important to remember that results aren’t as dramatic as with a surgical procedure, and it’s not meant for large areas.’ Treatments take anywhere between 35 minutes (muffin top) and an hour (stomach) and results can be seen from as quickly as three weeks, although, if you need to be bikini-ready, a session three to six months beforehand is advisable.
THE TESTER: I box, spin and do yoga with a dedication that my team tease me about. But my enduring love for sweet treats means I’m the not-so-proud owner of a small paunch, so I visited Dr Rita Rakus’s clinic in Knightsbridge to meet Dr Galyna Selezneva - the woman described as the UK’s body-contouring expert.
After I’d changed into a paper bra and pants, Dr G mapped my fat with a black marker and I climbed on the bed. A gel pad was placed on my tummy, then the CoolSculpting vacuum cup. The suction felt like a strange but tolerable tugging, and seconds later I felt the -10°C chill: uncomfortable and tingly, but not sore. Ten minutes into the half-hour treatment, the area was numbed and I could relax.
I’ll admit I was slightly hesitant as I’ve never tried anything like this before in 10 years as a beauty editor, but the time flew while I quizzed Dr Galyna on the results she achieves. I’m told some mums use their treatments to catch up on sleep, while other patients indulge in a Netflix binge. She explains that, while I’m not overweight, the treatment will enhance my shape and contour my curves in a single session.
Following the procedure, my tummy felt tender and like a hard, very cold lump of lard. Dr Galyna massaged it for two minutes, which was without doubt the most painful part of the process, but minimises swelling and aids lymphatic drainage of the dead fat cells. Afterwards, I could go straight to my spinning class.
THE VERDICT: The inflammatory response to the treatment caused some swelling for the first week and my tummy remained oddly numb for two. Luckily, there was no bruising. It was after three weeks that I started to see an almost miraculous change in my body shape. I didn’t have to tug my jeans over my pouch and seeing a flatter profile in the mirror was delightful.
According to the scales, I haven’t lost much weight, which I’m told is normal. Plastic surgeon Dr Jason Roostaeian explains, ‘One of the downsides of CoolSculpting is that there’s a range of how much any one person can lose.
I’ve seen people look at before and after pictures after one treatment and not be able to see the results.’ However, all experts agree that with the right number of treatments for you, you’ll definitely see an improved waistline, and less bulging of any particular area that’s of concern. And while the scales might not register any change, I’ve gone from a size 10 to a size 8 on my bottom half. So, does it work? Yes. Would I recommend it to others? Absolutely. Of course, price is always a factor and starting at around £500, CoolSculpting isn’t cheap. But if you’re after washboard abs, toned upper arms and well-defined thighs, it might be for you