If you can believe the information provided by Google (and it seems pretty reliable), quite a few people are asking if they can get the same benefits of CoolSculpting® using do-it-yourself techniques at home. Essentially, people want to know if they can freeze away fat using ice packs without going to a plastic surgeon’s office or med spa for actual CoolSculpting treatments. We offer CoolSculpting at our Atlanta-area practice, and the short answer is “no.”
You probably expect that we’d say that, right? But, seriously, do not try this at home. The science behind CoolSculpting goes way beyond strapping an ice pack to your love handles or thighs.
Precisely Controlled Cooling
The process used by CoolSculpting is called cryolipolysis. It uses temperatures cold enough to break down fat cells, but it doesn’t damage other cells because fat cells begin dying before the other cells become vulnerable. This means the skin’s surface or underlying tissue remains undamaged during a CoolSculpting procedure. That’s also why there’s no downtime needed after a CoolSculpting treatment session.
Specially designed applicators attached to the treatment area safely target fat cells with the cold temperatures. In most treatment areas, the applicators use vacuum suction to pull the skin between CoolSculpting panels. The procedure time varies depending on the area or areas being treated, but a single treatment usually takes 30 minutes to an hour.
Why At-Home Fat-Freezing Doesn’t Work
What would happen if you strapped a bag of ice to your thighs? The DIY CoolSculpting hacks you might see on YouTube don’t work for a number of reasons. They include:
- Ice packs simply can’t accomplish the precision cooling that’s needed to cool fat cells enough that they begin dying. An ice pack absorbs body heat quickly and can’t maintain a steady temperature for an extended period of time.
- At-home CoolSculpting doesn’t have the suction mechanism that draws the tissue below the skin between the CoolSculpting panels.
- Using ice packs may freeze some fat, but it will also freeze the skin.
Frostbite is a real and painful risk for people who try DIY fat-freezing. With at-home fat-freezing hacks, long-term damage to the skin is possible, including numbness and permanent tissue damage.
CoolSculpting performed by a trained provider can reduce stubborn fat in areas such as the abdomen, thighs, neck, and flanks. We can even combine it with EMSCULPT®, another nonsurgical treatment that both builds muscle and reduces fat. Men and women considering nonsurgical body contouring in the Atlanta area can get both CoolSculpting and EMSCULPT treatments at our practice.