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Cryolipolysis: How does fat freezing work?

Peas - check; ice lollies - check; fat… wait, what?!

You can freeze a lot of things, but have you ever thought about freezing fat? Maybe that’s why you’re here; maybe you’re just curious about non-surgical fat reduction procedures in general. Well, one thing’s for sure: Cryolipolysis (fat freezing) is huge in the world of aesthetics. Here’s the what, the how and the why…

What is fat freezing?

Fat freezing pretty much does what it says on the tin. The non-invasive treatment is ideal for reducing stubborn areas of fat, such as on the tummy, thighs and love handles (yes, please!), but not so much for people who are looking for a greater overall weight loss.

A few years back, scientists at Harvard University discovered that children eating plenty of ice lollies while teething started to lose weight from their cheeks. They found that cold temperatures work wonders on killing off fat cells. Cool (literally)!

There are several fat freezing treatments out there, including CoolSculpting, LipoGlaze, CoolTech, LipoContrast, 3D-Lipo and ProshockIce, all of which have similar effects.

But how does it work?

How does cryolipolysis work?

During the hour-long treatment (that’s an hour per area), vacuum applicators are placed onto the target area, sucking up the fat and making the area extremely cold. This breaks down the fat cells (leaving surrounding tissue intact) and destroys the fat tissue, meaning the cells can’t reappear. The fat is then gradually removed via the liver, so you’ll never even notice it leave the body.

And it’s not as uncomfortable as it sounds. Sure, it’s chilly at first, which might feel strange, but after around 10 minutes, the treated area will begin to go numb, which means you won’t feel anything. After the treatment is finished, the applicators are removed and the area is massaged.

Sounds bizarre, right? But it can have great results. Fat freezing can reduce targeted fat by up to 25%, though it can take a month or two to see the results. Practitioners often suggest up to four sessions to get the optimal result, so it’s worth making sure you have the right expectations from the off by speaking to your practitioner ahead of the first treatment.

Is there any downtime after fat freezing treatments?

There’s no downtime with cryolipolysis, so, if you wanted to, you could use your lunch hour to have a fat freezing treatment, and then go straight back to work afterwards. Anaesthetic isn’t needed, so you won’t feel tired or woosey, and you’ll be able to walk, drive yourself and get on with whatever your day brings.

There are a few side effects that can occur after cryolipolysis, such as redness, bruising, tingling, numbness and swelling, but if these do happen, they should only last a few hours. Be sure to speak to your practitioner about side effects and call them if you experience any prolonged issues.

Like with all treatments, a healthy, balanced diet and an active lifestyle helps ensure you see the best possible results. It’s not an immediate fix - it might take a couple of months to see a difference, and you may decide to have multiple sessions - but fat freezing can be a great way to get rid of stubborn areas of fat for good - without going under the knife.

And no, you can’t just sit in a fridge (sigh), you actually need to make sure this treatment is performed by a medically qualified professional with a lot of experience in cryolipolysis in order to make sure the skin isn’t damaged by the chilly temperatures.

Check out our article on some of the most popular fat reduction and body contouring treatments out there.

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