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I Tried It: Coolsculpting

Me: “Gee, Sally*! Didn’t you just have a baby? You are so tiny!” Sally: “Oh, you know, breastfeeding and yoga.” [Me, looking incredulous.] Sally: “Well, I also did that Coolsculpting thing…”

(*not her real name) As a beauty blogger I am privy to all sorts of beauty secrets. Many a time I have been pulled aside at a party by an acquaintance who quietly confides that she has done Coolsculpting. I was shocked by how many people are doing it- people I know you know, girls who are athletic, low-maintenance, naturally thin, or all of the above. So I was eager to try Coolsculpting my on my lower stomach that has been a little pouchier since having my third baby. Here is my honest Coolsculpting review:

What is Coolsculpting?

You’ve probably heard of it by now, but Coolsculpting is an FDA-approved, non-surgical way to remove fat cells and contour your body. A doctor or trained technician applies a vacuum-like device on your stomach, love handles, thighs, or wherever you have an extra bulge of fat. It freezes the subcutaneous fat in the area, and then your body flushes out the fat cells over a period of months. It subtracts actual inches from your body without the downtime of surgery like liposuction.

Coolsculpting machine and treatment room at Nigro Dermatology in Houston.

What is Coolsculpting Like?

The technician draws circles on your bulge of fat (just like sorority rush!), and then decides on the size of Coolsculpting applicator that would target the area best. I choose to do my lower stomach, and my awesome technician at Nigro Dermatology in Houston, Dee Dee Doria, used a large size applicator. Then you lie down and they apply a wet jelly pad, that feels like an extremely cold sheet mask. The vacuum device goes on over the gel pad, and sucks in and holds the roll of fat for the period of the treatment, which is 35 minutes per area.

Coolsculpting applicator

Does Coolsculpting Hurt?

Before I went in for Coolsculpting, several friends warned me that it would hurt like the dickens. But apparently they have improved the technology since Coolsculpting was first released in 2010, and the new applicators (released in January 2017) have better contact with the skin and create less of the disconcerting sucking sensation. Also the Coolsculpting session now lasts only 35 minutes vs. one hour as it was with the older technology.

As for my experience, when the vacuum applicator was first applied, I definitely felt a strong sucking sensation, but it was not painful, and did not take my breath away or anything. It felt cold at first, like you are holding an ice cube to your skin a little too long, but after a few minutes that passed (I guess the area went numb) and I watched TV and chatted away on my phone comfortably. The release of the vacuum applicator after 35 minutes did not hurt at all. My fat bulge area was red and kind of hard (frozen!), and Dee Dee massaged it a little, which was tender. The whole experience does not feel pleasant, like a massage, but I would not describe it as painful. And given my results, it was absolutely worth it and I would do it again.

Not my stomach because my camera ran out of memory, but this is like the redness I had immediately after treatment.

I tend to bruise very easily, and I did have a tiny bit of bruising in the treatment area for a couple of days. But if you are going to be in a bikini the next day, I would not do Coolsculpting right before (unless you don’t mind that everyone will know your secret). I guess you could blame it on cupping?

There is absolutely no downtime with Coolsculpting- I drove myself to and from the treatment, and you can work out afterward, go to dinner, and otherwise totally resume your normal routine immediately after. There is no anesthetic or numbing cream needed.

My Coolsculpting Results

You probably skipped reading the filler above and immediately scrolled down here for the “before/after”pic. Welcome. In all its un-retouched, unfiltered glory, here is my actual bod, clad in actual paper underwear:

Before vs. 7 months after 1 Coolsculpting Session

I can see a drastic difference. So the picture on the left is before my Coolsculpting session on my lower stomach in February 2017. The “after” photo on the right is about seven months after just one Coolsculpting session. Impressive, visible results! It is worth noting that with Coolsculpting there is NO immediate reduction in fat- it takes months for your body to flush out the fat, and some bodies take longer than others. Mine, for instance, took several months longer than I thought. Some people start seeing results at one month, and keep losing fat up to four months, when the final result is achieved. For me, at about two months out from my Coolsculpting procedure, I was bummed that it did not work for me. But then at about four months, suddenly I could tell my stomach was much flatter. Have you ever done a skin fold test where they pinch your fat and see how many inches (centimeters?) it is? I remember it was pretty humiliating when my high school cross-country coach skinfold tested our team. But anyway, now if I pinch the fat roll on my lower stomach, and then compare by pinching the skin on my upper stomach, there is much less fat on the lower stomach than on the upper (and it used to be the opposite). Not sure if that makes sense, but to me, that is my uber-technical way of verifying that Coolsculpting actually dissolved fat on my lower stomach.

Also of note: Coolsculpting does not improve cellulite, and it does not tighten loose skin. Each time you treat an area with Coolsculpting, it reduces approximately 30% of the subcutaneous fat in the area. Depending on the amount of fat you have, your Coolsculpting technician may recommend multiple treatments spaced several months apart.

I’m writing this post in February 2018, one full year after I did my Coolsculpting treatment. I wanted to make sure I saw the full results, and also to assess any other side effects. I had heard warnings that if you gain weight after Coolsculpting, it would come back in funny places. My weight remained relatively the same throughout the year, but like most, I gain and lose the same 3-5 pounds. I did not appear to carry my weight any differently than before Coolsculpting, but maybe if you gained 60 pounds or something it would be a different story. But you should not gain that much for health reasons anyway!

What does Coolsculpting cost?

Nigro Dermatology in Houston costs $1500 per area, which is lower than the national average of $1600-2000 per area. A treatment area is considered to be the abdomen, or both thighs or both love handles (they do not charge you $1500 for each thigh). The new smaller applicators can do tiny areas like a double-chin, or the “bra fat” area, or those chicken-wing under arm areas. And a special for you guys: Nigro Dermatology is offering $300 OFF Coolsculpting PER AREA if you mention my blog post! Which I think is very generous and makes Coolsculpting even more of a no-brainer! You can call the River Oaks location (Westheimer @Kirby in West Ave) at 713-333-1770.

Book ASAP so you can see your Coolsculpting results before bathing suit season!



PS- I was not compensated for this post, but I did reach out to Nigro Dermatology to ask if they would be willing to give me a complimentary Coolsculpting session if I wrote an honest review about it on my blog.


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