Can Fat Loss Start from the Skin?
When it comes to fat-loss devices, I have always been a skeptic—until this past year. When clean eating and a regular exercise regimen don’t cut it and you’re not so zen about the way things are hanging, there are a few legit (but pricey) options for the battle of the bulge.
Cellulite happens, regardless of weight, diet, or exercise. When fibrous bands pull from the top layer of skin to tether themselves to the fat (think buttons on a sofa cushion), dimples form. Cellfina is the first FDA-cleared device proven to minimize the appearance of cellulite long-term. The size of a standard smartphone, Cellfina severs those bands so that the skin is released to a smooth state. Patients in one clinical study showed significant improvement within three days of treatment. The major coup is that two years later, 100 percent still had noticeable results. Needless to say, patient satisfaction rates are high. The most common side effects of the procedure are temporary bruising and soreness—a small sacrifice to bid adieu to dimples that won’t budge despite diet and exercise.
How many treatments you may need: One
Cost: $3,500 to $5,500 (varies on location and number of dimples treated)
How long it may take: One hour
Burn calories at the gym, freeze fat later. CoolSculpting (endorsed by celebs like Molly Sims) was designed to lighten love handles, but it’s not meant to substitute healthy, well-established methods of weight loss. CoolSculpting uses an FDA-cleared, nonsurgical device with controlled cooling in a process called cryolipolysis to selectively freeze fat cells to death. The body then naturally eliminates the dead cells in the urine. Expect the applicator to be attached to the problem area. The fat does not redistribute elsewhere (a hazard of more old-school treatments), and it has no impact on liver function or cholesterol levels in the blood. This procedure is definitely trending now—two million treatments have already been performed worldwide. Results can be seen as soon as two months and last, in some cases, up to five years. Side effects may include swelling, tenderness, cramping, itching, and numbness in the area treated for a week or two after treatment.
How many treatments you may need: One may do the trick; some people go for more
Cost: The starting price is usually around $600; varies based on body area or number of treatments
How long it may take: One hour at least (if you are treating multiple sites at once maybe more)
In contrast to fat-freezing cryotherapy, there’s Vanquish, which uses heat to zap fat. This is another noninvasive procedure that uses radiofrequency technology to destroy unwelcome adipose tissue. The “melted” fat later leaves the body in urine. Vanquish does not touch your body—it is just placed next to the site being treated. Patients report a sensation similar to that of a heating pad or warm blanket during the procedure. The device claims the ability to nail up to 60 percent of the fat cells in a given area.
How many treatments you may need: Four to six
Cost: At least $500 a treatment
How long it may take: 30 minutes (about the time of a manicure)
Kybella (deoxycholic acid) is an FDA-approved treatment for adults with moderate to severe fat below the chin. Kybella is a bile acid that, when injected, physically destroys the cell membrane. Clinical trials of more than 1,000 patients showed significant reduction in chin fat for those injected with Kybella versus a placebo. Side effects can include swelling, bruising, redness, and (in the hands of untrained injectors) nerve damage. (CoolScuplting also has an applicator for the chin called CoolMini which targets this area as well, with less risk involved.)
How many treatments you may need: One to three treatments, four to six weeks apart
Cost: Approximately $1,800 per treatment
How long it may take: About 15 minutes