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Aesthetic Experts Weigh In: Does CoolSculpting (AKA Fat Freezing) Actually Work?

fat freezing
ExpertsPost Category - ExpertsExperts

Have you heard of fat freezing, mama? It’s the, well, coolest new trend in fat reduction…

Puns aside, we wanted to find out more about it – so we asked some of Singapore’s top aestheticians to answer all our burning questions about fat freezing. The official term for this fat reduction treatment is cryolipolysis (cryo = cold, lipo = fat, lysis = dissolution), but it is commonly referred to as fat freezing, or by the product name, CoolSculpting. It basically involves freezing the fat cells by sucking a targeted area into a handheld suction paddle and reducing the temperature to one that kills fat (but doesn’t harm your skin or blood vessels).

Most of us have a finite number of fat cells, and these cells increase and decrease in size based on how much we eat and exercise. But even as we lose weight, we retain the same amount of fat cells. Fat freezing works by killing off fat cells, which your body does not replace. We are unable to grow new fat cells after a certain age, so the fat cells that are destroyed by fat freezing and burning are gone for good. It’s important to note that fat freezing is NOT a weight loss solution, as your remaining fat cells can still increase in size if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle. But for those who maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise and still struggle to lose visible fat, this treatment may be for you.

fat freezing fat cells

How long does it take to see results?

Beauty professional Manon, from EstheClinic, explains that the intense cold applied to a specific area of the body kills off adipocytes, the fat cells that form the fatty tissue underneath the skin. ‘The damaged fat cells gradually die and then are naturally metabolised by the body’s lymphatic system.’ Your body disposes of the fat cells via the usual waste channels over the next few weeks so you won’t see results instantly – it can take 6 – 8 weeks for the fat cells to be eliminated from your body. Manon recommends coming back after two months for further treatments using their EstheCryo machine (which has two handpieces per machine, cutting down on treatment time!).

How many treatments will I need?

You’ll likely need more than one treatment, but the good news is that every session you have should produce results – Dr Low Chai Ling of SW1 Clinic suggests that fat will be reduced in the targeted area by around 20% per session. Most of her patients undergo between 3 and 6 sessions to gain optimal benefits, with around 6 weeks between treatments. The SW1 Clinic offers both non-invasive and surgical solutions, and also includes SW1 Spa, which provides medical grade facials.

How can I ensure good results?

Professional aestheticians at Simply Aesthetics work with clients to make recommendations around nutrition and exercise in conjunction with their fat freezing treatments, to ensure that clients can maintain their results. Simply Aesthetics offer treatments with the Fat Freeze 360, one of the newer technologies in fat reduction. The Fat Freeze 360 can reduce fat by up to 40% per session as it cools from all angles (rather than just the two plates used in traditional fat freezing).

fat freezing

Who is it for?

Dr Xiao of LUSH Aesthetics says there’s a reason it’s called ‘stubborn fat,’ and suggests that the treatment is ideal for those who are looking to get rid of specific areas of fat — like that which can linger around the tummy, arms and thighs. The latest technology (the good old Fat Freeze 360!) can even target smaller areas like double chins, which can be difficult to change just through diet and exercise. Given the different ways our bodies store fat, all treatments at Lush Aesthetics are meticulously customised to each individual.

Does it work on cellulite?

One thing that CoolSculpting won’t help with is cellulite. According to Dr Ivan Puah at Amaris B. Clinic, cellulite occurs due to changes in skin thickness, and the way fat lobules are arranged beneath the skin. Cellulite is a normal and natural part of life, and can get more noticeable as we age. For those concerned about cellulite, the clinic recommends VASER Lipo, which works to improve any fibrous irregularities and partially reorganise how the fatty lobules are arranged beneath the skin. Amaris B. Clinic are also skilled at treating a male condition called gynecomastia where there is enlarged breast tissue, usually due to a hormonal imbalance.

How is it different from fat burning?

You may also have heard about fat burning – another non-invasive method of destroying fat cells. Cutis Medical Laser Clinic – known for their focus on safety, effectiveness, patient education and US FDA-cleared aesthetic treatments – use a well known brand called BTL Vanquish ME. This contactless procedure works by using Selective Radiofrequency (SR) to heat only the fat cells without harming other tissues. Their Harvard-trained Medical Director, Dr Sylvia Ramirez, and Cutis Medical Laser Clinic’s team of doctors will assess a patient’s suitability for fat freezing or fat burning before recommending a treatment plan.

What do I ask for?

Fat freezing can go by many names; at EstheClinic they offer EstheCryo (which Manon says is “dramatically more comfortable” due to a unique suction method that gradually draws up the fatty tissues instead of pulling it all up in one go!). At SW1 Clinic they offer Coolshape, while Simply Aesthetics and LUSH Aesthetics have Fat Freeze on the menu and Cutis Medical offer CoolSculpting. Most of these treatments use the same FDA approved technology to achieve their results.

Are there any side effects?

As fat freezing is non-invasive there is no downtime after treatment, and side effects are mainly limited to redness and occasional bruising. You’ll also want to make sure the paddles are placed evenly to ensure symmetrical results. As ever, it’s important to do your research before opting for any treatments.

How much does it cost?

Prices vary but fat freezing can cost anywhere from $100 – $400 per session (per area) and our experts suggest between 3 – 6 sessions to see the best results.

And the million dollar question: Does it hurt? Well, reports vary. Some describe pain, others merely discomfort. Some find the suction the most unpleasant aspect, others are shocked by the feeling of the cold on their skin. We can’t imagine it’s a pleasant experience, but our experts reassure us that most people will be able to relax and watch TV, work or even nap during their treatments!

If you have any further questions, or wish to book a consultation, please reach out to one of our experts.

Visit EstheClinic and freeze away fat deposits in 60 minutes for $298/ session* (*T&C apply, valid until 31 October 2019). Branches at Tanjong Pagar, East Coast & Holland Village, +65 6221 4797

SW1 Clinic
, branches at Paragon and OUE, +65 6817 8888,

Amaris B Clinic, 140 Arab Street, Singapore, +65 6536 4211,

Cutis Medical Laser Clinic, Scotts Medical Centre, +65 6801 4000,

LUSH Aesthetics, branches at The Centrepoint, Bedok Mall & Harbourfront Centre, +65 6737 4964,

Simply Aesthetics, 13 Stamford Road, Capitol Piazza, Singapore, +65 6384 2598,

Lead image via Getty; image #2 via Getty; image #3 courtesy of EstheClinic

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