Generally when speaking about weight loss, you think of ‘fat burning’ workouts and foods. But the latest technology, known as Coolsculpting, targets the fat in common ‘problem areas’ — such as the stomach and arms — and cools it down to a chilly 4 degrees celsius (blood and water freeze at lower temperatures, keeping the rest of your cells perfectly safe). The cool temperature targets brown fat, which burns calories to generate heat, and keeps your body temperature stable. White fat, on the other hand, is the most abundant type of fat, and keeps your energy levels up.
Fat freezing is non-invasive and so doesn’t leave you with scars, like invasive procedures such as liposuction. According to Dr Sarah Shah, coolsculping clients can start to see results “in as little as three weeks, with the best sculp results seen after two months”. She adds: “This fat freezing procedure will continue to work after your last CoolSculpting treatment as your body will still flush out fat cells and continues doing so for up to four to six months after treatment.”
But for those who prefer to DIY, there are things you can do at home to achieve similar effects, on a friendlier budget.
How to mimic CoolSculpting at home
The easiest way to cool your body down enough to target the brown fat cells will be to use ice. However, using ice packs is not recommended, as they start off too cold (0 degrees, which can cause frostbite) and warm up too quickly. Instead, it’s recommended to use a bag of ice which has melted slightly, as this will be just above freezing point, but still cold enough for fat freezing. Using crushed ice in a bag will be best for this, as the bag will contour to the shape of your body, allowing it to target the ‘problem areas’ easier.
It’s important to monitor your skin temperature closely, as you don’t want it to drop below 4 degrees, or get too warm that the CoolSculpting is no longer effective. Use a decent thermometer on your skin to make sure you maintain that cool temperature throughout the hour-long treatment.
As the DIY fat freezing technique will be less intense than CoolSculpting, you should do it more often than having the professional treatment. If you follow the treatment for 1-2 hours a few times a week, you should start to see results after a few months, however everyone responds differently to fat freezing.
Things to be aware of after CoolSculpting
As with any procedure, non-surgical or otherwise, there are some after-effects that you should be aware of. The CoolSculpting treatment is praised as having no down time, meaning you can go about your everyday activities immediately after the treatment. But clients may notice some side effects, including the skin going red where the treatment took place, which will reduce naturally. Other common side effects include temporary numbness, swelling, and tingling.
Some clients may find that their skin is bruised around the area, but this is due to the CoolSculpting machine lightly vacuuming the skin to target the right ‘problem area’. Those who are taking the DIY approach with ice shouldn’t have this problem, as the skin is not being tugged.
But is there evidence of weight loss?
In a word: yes. CoolSculpting is not a new concept — it first came about in 2010, and was then known as cryolipolysis. Since then, technology has advanced enough to effectively slim down figures. Celebrities (including, rumour has it, Britney Spears) opt for fat freezing to get rid of any last pockets of fat to smooth out their figures.
However, most professionals recommend returning for multiple treatments to get the best results. Dr Sarah Shah offers assessments for clients to “give the best idea of how many fat freezing sessions you will need to achieve your desired results”.
CoolSculpting is also approved by the FDA in America, meaning it must do what it says on the tin, and is scientifically proven to reduce fat in problem areas.