Freeze Fat and Tighten Skin? Is There Any Weight To The Claim?March 26, 2019
In our ten years’ of providing fat reduction treatments, both non-invasive and minimally invasive, we’ve noticed a common pattern across our clients. They almost always have concerns about loose or dimply skin.
A lot of clinics are spreading the message that they can help you “lose fat and tighten skin” with a simple fat-freezing treatment, but what is the evidence behind this message?
According to our Senior Clinician Rachael Drummond who specialises in skin tightening and fat reduction, it depends on the nature of your concern and which treatment you choose.
Before giving you the skinny on fat reduction with skin tightening, it’s important to note that fat reduction treatments are not recommended as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. You can’t binge on Netflix, wine and cheese and then zap your excess weight away. These treatments are recommended for fat that doesn’t respond to diet and exercise, which is really quite common over the abdomen, thighs and upper arms.
Fat Freezing, which might also be branded as CoolSculpting, CoolTech or cryolipolysis, uses controlled cooling technology to destroy fat cells, which your body then removes naturally. It’s great for treating localised pockets of fat, but it cannot tighten skin. Freezing temperatures can temporarily improve blood flow, which is good for your skin, but according to Rachael, it’s heat that stimulates the collagen you need to tighten your skin. “You need to heat the skin to 40-43 degrees Celsius and maintain that heat for a period of time if you want to produce more collagen and tighten your skin,” she says.
Contrary to what the cryotherapy clinics might promote, there is currently no reliable evidence that cold temperatures induce collagen production.
The good news, according to Rachael, is that fat freezing does not necessarily lead to loose skin. “Unless there is already some loose skin before treatment, then it’s not that common,” she says, “if there is already a combination of stubborn fat and loose skin in an area, then you might need a combination of fat reduction and skin tightening treatments.”
How do you tighten skin?
When it comes to restoring youthful strength and tightness to skin, collagen is the key. As we get older, the collagen structures in our skin wear down, which can lead to skin laxity. Our bodies also produce 1% less collagen every year after the age of 25.
There are a few ways that you can hold onto and rebuild collagen. Exercise, coincidentally, stimulates your collagen cells a little bit. You can also use skincare products and treatments. Ultrasound treatments are some of the most effective methods for regenerating collagen. Ultrasound energy can be used to induce controlled heat zones in the deeper layers of your skin, which stimulates your collagen cells to regenerate and rebuild themselves. Healthy collagen means stronger, tighter and more youthful skin.
If there is any loose skin after a fat reduction treatment, we often recommend ultrasound skin-tightening treatments.
Is there anything that can reduce fat and tighten skin?
In addition to being a powerful way to tighten skin, ultrasound energy can also be used for some fat reduction. Treatments such as Ultraformer can be used to direct ultrasound energy down to the layer of fat beneath the skin, known as subcutaneous fat. This energy eradicates fat cells and provides some skin tightening benefits at the same time. Ultraformer is best for smaller areas such as the underarm or to treat a double chin because the handpiece is a smaller size. It can sometimes be used for cellulite too, but there are other options as well.
TightSculpt involves two steps. First, a deep-reaching laser targets and destroys the fat cells in the subcutaneous layer beneath the skin. Then, another type of laser is used to stimulate collagen in the skin for a stronger, smoother appearance.
The best treatment for you will depend on the nature of your concern. Fat freezing might be better for certain pockets of fat while the ultrasound and laser treatments tend to be beneficial for fatty areas with loose or dimply skin overtop. When it comes to making a decision, Rachael advises that you speak to someone in person who can assess the area you’d like to treat and make recommendations for you, individually.
Larger fat pockets
Some larger pockets of fat that don’t respond to diet and exercise might be better suited to physical removal by a cosmetic doctor than to ultrasound and fat freezing. At Rejuvenation Clinics of Australia we work with Dr Michael Rich, who has over 31 years’ experience, to provide a minimally invasive version of Liposuction known as LipoSculpture.
LipoScultpure uses fine microcannulas to remove fat from a specific area under local anaesthetic. According to Nurse Jenny, who assists Dr Michael Rich in LipoSculpture procedures and consultations, loose skin is not a problem for all patients. During the procedure, Dr Rich uses the microcannula to massage beneath the skin and stimulate a micro healing response in the tissue. “It takes about 6-8 months for skin retraction to happen,” Nurse Jenny says, “but everyone’s collagen is different, so results may vary between patients.”
If there is loose skin after a LipoSculpture procedure, we may recommend non-invasive treatments to manage it, such as the Ultrasound skin-tightening treatments discussed above.
Vaser Lipo, which uses ultrasound to essentially melt the fat before it is removed, has become popular lately. After much consideration, Dr Rich prefers to perform LipoSculpture because it involves less pain and smaller incisions (during Vaser Lipo, the doctor makes an incision for the ultrasound probe whereas LipoSculpture only involves an entry point for the microcannulas).
Fat freezing will not tighten your skin, but if you don’t have loose skin already, you may not need to consider it. If you have loose or dimply skin, there are other fat reduction treatments that might suit you better because they will have some skin tightening benefits as well. If you’re curious about whether any of these treatments might work for you, we offer free consultations with expert Clinicians who have worked with all shapes, textures and sizes.
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