CoolSculpting® is hotter than ever—a trend that we’ve witnessed at my Fort Worth practice. This innovative treatment intensely cools “pinchable” areas of fat, freezing away fat cells to shrink the treated areas. But, as with any successful treatment, copycats have started popping up on the market. You might have even stumbled across DIY CoolSculpting blog posts or videos online.
A few blog posts and YouTube videos claim you can freeze away fat by strapping an ice pack to your tummy or other target areas. Seems like a cheap miracle solution, right? But while this DIY trick might sound tempting, the science behind CoolSculpting is much more complex than these bloggers and YouTubers understand. And what they don’t know might end up actually hurting someone.
In this blog post, I’ll explain why holding an ice pack against your skin won’t give you a toned, contoured abdomen–in fact, it could land you in the E.R.
How does CoolSculpting work?
In order to understand why the “at home” methods are flawed, you have to understand how the treatment works in the first place.
CoolSculpting is a noninvasive body contouring procedure that freezes away unwanted fat cells. Using a patented process known as cryolipolysis, the machine suctions targeted fatty tissue into an applicator and applies consistent cooling that destroys the cells.
As the fat cells die off—over the course of several weeks—your body naturally flushes them out of your system. As the cells are flushed away, the targeted area slims down.
Why can’t an ice pack “freeze away” fat?
While CoolSculpting might “freeze” away fat cells, the process is more complicated than just getting really, really cold. Successful CoolSculpting is based on a very important fact: fat cells freeze at one temperature, while skin cells freeze at another.
During treatment, fatty tissue is suctioned into a hand applicator. Normally, fat recedes from the skin when exposed to cold. But this applicator keeps the fat securely in place. The applicator then blasts the tissue with temperatures carefully kept between 39 and 41 degrees. At these very specific temperatures, skin tissue is safe, while fat cells freeze and are ultimately destroyed.
Ice packs can make your skin cold, but they aren’t capable of holding fat in place and maintaining a very precise temperature for a carefully determined time period. Instead, you could give yourself frostbite if your skin is exposed to freezing temperatures for too long.
The bottom line: trust a professional
Not only is the “ice pack method” ineffective, but it is also potentially dangerous. Ice packs will only freeze your skin and won’t remove any fat cells in the process. A few side effects of DIY CoolSculpting can include frostbite, discomfort, and permanent tissue damage. You can avoid these problems by going to a trusted professional.
Inside a proper office setting, the side effects of CoolSculpting are only temporary redness, numbness, and swelling. Each of these symptoms can be helped by gently massaging the treated area.
Trust a trained medical professional and the FDA-cleared CoolSculpting technology for your nonsurgical fat reduction. To see the results we achieve for our CoolSculpting patients here in Fort Worth, take a look at our before-and-after photos of real patients. If you’re interested in a session of your own, request a consultation online or call the practice at (817) 228-4315.