Health & Beauty

Here’s What Actually Happens When You Freeze Your Fat

By Simone Jovel - 15 Jan 2019


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Fat freezing, or cryolipolysis as it’s known in the industry, is a non-surgical alternative to liposuction. While not a particularly new treatment, it has gone from niche (read: really expensive) to mainstream over the past couple of years, predominantly due to huge leaps in the technology used and subsequent (albeit, slight) price drops per treatment making it a far more affordable and realistic way to remove stubborn fat from the parts of your body that just straight up refuse to budge.

There’s no need to slide on into our DMs, we hit up the team at Body Catalyst to experience fat freezing first-hand. Here’s exactly what you can expect when it comes to freezing your fat.

What Is Cryolipolysis And What Does It Do?

We have science to thank for this controlled cooling technique, which crystallises your fat cells to the point of elimination. Yes, you are eliminating the fat from your body. Now that we officially have your attention, the finer details claim that with each treatment you will reduce the number of fat cells in the treated area by anywhere from 20%-30%. The classic catch cry that it won’t happen overnight rings true here, so expect the elimination to occur over a period of two to three months as the crystallised fat cells die off and naturally eliminate from your body. In case you were wondering, the most popular spots for fat freezing are (rather unsurprisingly) the love handles, followed by the abdomen and inner thighs. We were pretty interested to learn that the chin comes in at number four.

The Consultation

Before your cryolipolysis treatment you’ll need to go through a detailed health and lifestyle consult. The team at Body Catalyst assess everything from what you eat, to how much wine you drink, and yes, it’s as confronting as it sounds. And no, you shouldn’t lie about how many glasses of wine you actually drink. They also run you through the risks of the treatment (as per any procedure, there is always risk of side effects, so do your homework) and then it was on to the main event; pinpointing the area you want to target.

For me that area up for scrutiny was my banana rolls, aka the fat just underneath my butt at the top of my thighs.

Preparation Is Key

There are a few things you need to do both before, and immediately after your treatment. For starters, you need to give up alcohol (plan your social calendar accordingly) for an entire 24 hours and abstain from caffeine for 2 hours both pre and post treatment, with this in mind I booked my treatment at the end of the day. It’s also recommended that you up your water intake to two litres, to ensure you’re flushing out your lymphatic system.

The Treatment

So, you’ve arrived, had a delicious herbal tea, and changed into one of their complimentary robes—it’s now time to get on the table. Once you’re in position, your technician will place a special vacuumed applicator to the treatment area. It then lowers the temperature of the treatment area to -9C. To be perfectly honest, I have to say that it isn’t exactly what I’d call pleasurable for the first 10 – 20 seconds. Think of it like a pretty severe and aggressive pinch. But, believe me when I tell you that you’ll get through it and be totally fine. You very quickly forget about the discomfort as it lessens to a dull ache as the cooling process takes effect. The cooling energy of the machine treats the fat layer without damaging any surrounding cells so all you have to do is pop in a podcast and enjoy some you-time for the next hour.

Does It Actually Work?

The first thing you’ll notice is that the treated area is incredibly cold, which shouldn’t really come as a shock considering you’ve just frozen a part of your body. You’ll also get a tingly pins and needles kind of sensation on the treatment area once the applicator has been removed. My appointment was at 6pm but come lunchtime the following day I was back at spin without any issues.

They measured two spots at different heights on both of my legs, before and immediately after treatment. I lost 1.5cm and .5cm from my left leg, and 1cm from both spots on my right leg. You will really see the results at about the 12-week mark, with 20 – 30% of your fat cells gone for good. Just over 12 weeks on and my treated area is noticeably smaller and more defined, so I consider that a win.

But Wait, There’s More... 

I also gave cavitation and radio frequency a try. These techniques work together to strengthen the skin tissue and reduce the fat. I had 8 sessions of both treatments, the cavitation uses a low frequency ultrasound to produce a strong wave of pressure to the fat cell membranes, the pressure makes it disintegrate into a liquid state. The radio frequency, which honestly feels like the most divine warm massage, heats the skin to contract and produce collagen and elastin fibres. It is meant to create smoother, healthie and younger looking skin, and honestly, I can hand on heart say my thighs have never been smoother.

The Cost

We went to Body Catalyst in Bondi Junction, and they have clinics across Sydney and Melbourne. The cost for the cryolipolysis or fat freezing is $599 per area, and the cellulite treatment will set you back $249 for every 60-minute treatment.

Not In NSW?

If you’re in Perth, you might want to hit up the Skinresus or Azure Medical Clinics for a consultation, and if you’re in Brisbane Peché Medispa offer similar services.

Here's a bunch of super handy summer beauty hacks to help you battle the heat.

Image credit: Stocksy

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