For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve worked in the beauty industry for 13 years. In my time, I’ve tried a lot of crazy treatments, but probably none were more bizarre than CoolSculpting. As the name alludes, this is a treatment that uses cold temperatures to sculpt the body, more specifically, to kill off fat cells.
It sounds extreme, and I’m not going to lie, it is. When I say cold, I mean -11º Celsius. It’s also a permanent treatment, which means it’s not something to enter into lightly. Though Botox wears off and fillers can be dissolved, the effects of a CoolSculpting treatment cannot be reversed.
I’m also not one to shy away from exercise: I’ve run marathons, ran 500 days in a row and was, at one point, a weight lifter (no lie, I could deadlift 100 kilograms). But regardless of how much I sweat or how many calories I swerve, there are a few things I feel self-conscious of. My tummy has never been flat, and as crazy as it might sound, I’m convinced my double chin balloons at the sight of a doughnut.
I’m not overweight, but my belly’s a part of my body that has always made me feel a bit down, and after 20 years of fad diets, exercising and feeling terribly uncomfortable in any kind of swimwear, I wanted to take control and do something about it.
I had been recommended CoolSculpting by various beauty industry expert friends, so I headed to The Cosmetic Skin Clinic in London for a consultation with Magda, who has performed over 8000 of these procedures to date. I’m not exaggerating when I say she was excited to see me—more specifically, my belly.
“You’re the perfect candidate,” she exclaimed, very close to literally jumping for joy. You see, CoolSculpting targets those disproportionate, stubborn pockets of fat in places like the belly and chin that just won’t leave. My lower belly is incredibly stubborn, but since you can tackle more than one area at a time, I thought, Why not kill two birds with one stone?
After the consultation, I was sent away to think about it. And I thought a lot about it. I also googled the hell out of it. Celebrities like Kris Jenner, Molly Sims and Lindsay Lohan are fans, but online reviews are mixed. Some people had unbearable pain during and after. Others had prolonged numbness. Some didn’t shift any fat, and, in some cases, gained more in the treated areas afterwards.
But I still went ahead because most of the complications reported were a few years back when the treatment was first introduced. Back then, the suction was more extreme, and as a result, there were more complications. It used to be that a vacuum-like device was placed on the area that was to be treated, and then the fat was sucked into a machine that freezes it. At the end, the area was massaged by the nurse, and you were sent on your merry way.
On the day of the treatment, I nervously signed the forms that outlined all the possible side effects I’d read about at 2 a.m. the night before whilst considering whether going AWOL was okay. My belly and chin were photographed (the horror), and then I was told to get comfy on the treatment bed. I was going to be there a while. For 45 minutes, I had two gadgets attached to my person: one on my lower belly and the other on one side of my chin. I was given with two controls: one an emergency buzzer (ah, way to settle my nerves) and another, the remote control for Netflix (that’s better).
As the machines whirred, I instantly felt a cold sensation wash over the areas, followed by an intense stinging akin to when you come inside on a freezing cold day and your fingers go tingly. Then nothing. I’d gone completely numb. And so I lay there watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, waiting nervously for the next part.
You see, the downside of doing a lot of research is you pretty much know what to expect. Once the machines had frozen my body parts like they were bits of chicken, Magda came back into the room and removed the devices. The pain under my chin was excruciating as she gave it a quick rub. It stung like hell and felt all of sudden boiling hot and as if it was being stabbed by a thousand needles. Magda, at this point, was onto rubbing my belly. I don’t remember the pain on my tum, quite possibly because it’s fattier than my chin so it wasn’t as painful.
After a couple of minutes, the pain had gone. Magda plied me with a mini can of Coke and a small bar of Green & Black’s chocolate, and then I had round two on the other side of my chin. I knew what to expect the second time around, and while it was, without a doubt, the most painful 90 seconds of my life, when the device was removed, it was soon over. But I promise you this: The results outweigh the pain.
It takes around two months for the fat (around 25% of fat cells in the treated area) to die and be worked out of your system. Since it leaves the body slowly and steadily, it doesn’t put unwanted pressure on your liver.
Straight afterwards, my belly and chin were numb. I felt a little weak, but then again, I get nauseous having Botox or watching Botched on TV. I was told to wear Spanx for a few days and nights to keep my belly pulled in, and to give both areas a massage daily for a couple of weeks (I worked body lotion counterclockwise into my tum and used a jade roller under my chin).
Throughout the first 10 to 14 days, my belly was a little stingy at times and a little bloated, but nothing to write home about. There was a bit of itching over the next few weeks, but by about week six, I noticed that my lower belly was no longer protruding.
Now, look—it’s not a miracle (I’m not suddenly Emily Ratajkowski or anything), but my lower belly is now in proportion with the rest of me for the first time in living memory. It’s just past Christmas, and where I would normally have quite a rotund lower tum come January, it’s pretty flat.
The results around my chin are less noticeable, but in hindsight, I know that if I ate better, my chin would have gone on its own. It’s not cheap either, as each area costs from £800 (although the clinic can put together package deals for multiple areas).
I’m so thrilled with the results and I’d definitely recommend this to anyone struggling with those stubborn fat-prone spots. One area essentially costs the same as a pair of Chanel pumps, but trust me—it will last a lifetime.