Sucking on popsicles can cause children to develop dimples. Weird, but true. The cold from the popsicle essentially kills some of the fat cells in the cheeks, causing those cute little indentations to appear.
Doctors first diagnosed popsicle panniculitis in the 1970s but it’s only been in recent years that the fat-destroying power of cold has been used for cosmetic applications. Cool Sculpting, an FDA approved procedure, is a cool (actually, freezing) new way to permanently banish muffin tops, pot bellies, back fat and more, without going under the knife.
“As the name implies, Cool Sculpting is not for weight loss, but it’s for getting rid of stubborn areas of fat – on the abdomen, back, inner thighs, upper arms – even ‘man boobs’,” explains Dr Else Christoffersen of Cayman Doctors, the only place in the Cayman Islands to offer this procedure.
The procedure involves placing a vacuum-cleaner like device the area to be treated. This device sucks the fat in between special cooling plates, which over the course of an hour, freeze the fat cells.
“The reason this works is that fats cells are more sensitive to cold than other cells in the body,” she explains.
“The cold damages the fat cells, without having any effect on the surrounding cells.” The ‘injury’ to the fat cells kick-starts an inflammatory process, which results in the fat cells dying off and being eliminated from the body over the course of two months or so.”
While the results are not immediately apparent – it takes two months to see 80 per cent of the effect – they are permanent.
“You have a certain number of fat cells in the body,” she says.
“When you gain weight the fat cells get plumper and when you lose weight the cells get smaller, but they don’t increase in number.” When you kill them, they are gone forever.
Because the procedure is fast and non-invasive, you really can do this in your lunch hour. And you can treat the same area more than once, although doctors recommend you leave at least two months between treatments as the full effects take that long to show up.
It is important to know what you can realistically expect, Dr Christoffersen cautions. Cool Sculpting will not make areas fat vanish without trace. You are looking at a 20 to 25 per cent reduction – which for an hour’s snooze and no scarring or invasive procedures is not a bad deal.
West Shore Centre