Saddlebags, the spare tire, the dreaded accidental Snapchat chin.
What if someone told you that all you had to do to get rid of the stubborn ghost of Thanksgiving dinners past, was to close your eyes, suck and freeze. Sounds like science fiction, right? It’s not. It’s CoolSculpting; a non-surgical fat removal and body contouring process that can start to change your figure.
The idea was born from scientists at Harvard University. Go figure. After observing that some children who ate popsicles got dimples in their cheeks, the scientists determined that the popsicles were freezing and eliminating small pockets of fat cells. We couldn’t make this stuff up!
Turns out cold can target fat cells—without damaging the skin or surrounding tissue. The CoolSculpting procedure works by delivering controlled cooling to a centralized area. The treated fat cells are crystallized (frozen), die and are naturally eliminated by the body. Gone. For Good. Permanent fat removal.
No needles, no invasive vacuum, best and most convenient of all, no recovery time.
CoolSculpting is licensed by Health Canada, which, for us, made this “too good to be true” procedure, too good to pass up. We had to try it.
The first step: choosing a reputable cosmetic center and CoolSculpting practitioner.
CoolSculpting is essentially contouring your body- you want it even and accurate; you need someone who knows what they’re doing. You would never get your makeup done for a big event by someone you didn’t Insta-vestigate first, so before committing to anything, it wouldn’t hurt to look at previous work, ask plenty of questions, and do some serious research.
We chose Total Skincare Centre in Calgary. They have plenty of before and after photos with proven results; and, as we learned during our consultation with Total Skin Care’s certified CoolSculpting expert and Cosmetic Nurse, Nikki Maucieri, the quality and placement of the applicator is just as important as the fat reduction, so you need to make sure that you see someone with formal training. Nikki has even been to CoolSculpting university – yes, it’s a thing!
Walking into the clinic, you feel a sense of comfort and ease. The staff are warm and inviting, all nurses and aestheticians are qualified and have years of experience, and they always have a doctor on site, which is another reason they were our first choice.
A good clinic will have quotes for each treatment, and will openly offer various options including different applicators and placement options to get the most out of a single cycle.
Total Skin Care has every size of applicator currently on the market which means that they can treat most body shapes and sizes effectively. A word of caution: some treatment centers have fewer applicators so you’re risking a one-size-fits-all approach.
Which brings up an important point: CoolSculpting is not for everyone; the procedure is meant to zap the fat that you just can’t seem to get rid of with diet and exercise and is not a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. Nikki explained to use that a good candidate should have subcutaneous fat- or “pinch-able” fat, you need to be able to gather the area with two fingers.
CoolSculpting will not work in areas with dense, taught, core fat- or ‘intra-abdominal fat’- this is where the fat is developed behind the muscle and will be firm to the touch.
The CoolScuplting device is essentially a suction cup, and without an easy-to-gather area, you won’t get your money’s worth; the fat cells need to be close to the surface in order for the freezing to be effective.
During the mandatory pre-CoolSculpting consultation, a good technician will give you the honest truth about whether or not you’re a good candidate. A bad one might let you waste your money, so be sure to do your homework and have a look at the clinics before and after photos.
With over 12 years’ experience as a surgical and cosmetic nurse at Total Skincare and after having performed over 500 Cool Sculpting cycles, Nikki, an award-winning LPN, could probably do this in her sleep. She gave us an entire history lesson and answered a million questions, all while working some serious magic. She also showed us her own results. Note that individual results may vary.
Because this isn’t a surgical procedure and doesn’t take long to complete, prep time is minimal. You’ll be removing articles of clothing to attach the applicators, so it’s advised you wear loose fitted clothing, and maybe bring a book to read, a charged cellphone, or a laptop, as you’ll be stationary for the time being, but it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to just take a solid nap either; and yes, you can eat or drink whatever you want before your appointment.
The CoolSculpting process, itself, is very simple. A (very) cold mesh cloth will be placed on the area, a suction device with cooling panels will be placed over the mesh and will draw up the area.
Once the applicator is turned on it will cool the area to at a safe temperature, basically freezing the cells to death.
Each cycle with a single applicator takes about 35 minutes. You may need more than one cycle to complete an area, depending on the size.
Each cycle can cost anywhere up from $650. The price will depend on applicator size and how many areas you chose to have sculpted. Each session is unique to the person; we choose to treat multiple sites during our single session – arms, stomach, and flanks
All areas were drawn out with applicator template and sculpted out very strategically. This was art and Nikki held the brush. It’s all about creating an illusion. When you contour your face, you highlight the more prominent points: the cheekbones, the cupids bow, the t-zone, and you carve out a slimming shape using shadows, taking into consideration individual body type, and the personal preference of the client.
This is the same approach master CoolScuplters’ will take before beginning the application cycle. All that was left after Picasso painted a masterpiece, was to sit back, and let science do its thing; This part got a little chilly. Nikki was professional and candid about what might be felt during the cycle; she gave us a heads up on the unusual sensation you feel once the applicator goes on.
Once the applicator is lifted and the area is massaged, the body will need time to naturally process the fat over the following weeks and eliminate the cells as if they were waste.
Results typically start to show in as little as 3 weeks after the first session, with more dramatic results appearing in 1-3 months.
This out-of-the-ordinary experience wasn’t painful or traumatic and we were pleasantly surprised with how comfortable and easy Nikki and Total Skincare Centre made the entire production. With the exception of some minimal bruising and numbness, we experienced no other side effects, which alone, sets CoolSculpting worlds apart from other fat loss procedures.
Contributor: Angela Joyce and Cassandra Stefanic