What Is DIY CoolSculpting® & Why Is it Dangerous?

A woman receives a coolsculpting treatment.

Many people who hear about CoolSculpting at our Portland practice come to us with the same question: “If CoolSculpting works by freezing fat, why can’t I freeze my fat myself at home?” The deceptively simple science behind the treatment has inspired some people to take a DIY approach, using ice packs and other homemade devices to attempt to create the same results. Unfortunately, this just won’t work. In fact, it can actually be quite dangerous.

In this blog post, I’ll explain why, when it comes to CoolSculpting, working with a professional is the only safe and successful way to get the results you’re looking for.

How Does CoolSculpting Work?

CoolSculpting provides nonsurgical fat reduction via cryolipolysis, a process that involves freezing fat cells at precise temperatures. Freezing these cells kills them and causes the body to metabolize them naturally. The result is a slimming effect in the treated area that develops gradually over 2 to 4 months.

There’s more to cryolipolysis than just freezing, though. The process requires precise cooling delivered from multiple directions for a specific amount of time. The CoolSculpting device is designed to safely and effectively achieve this when operated by a trained specialist.

What Is DIY CoolSculpting?

DIY CoolSculpting is an at-home attempt to replicate the effects of CoolSculpting using improvised tools. This typically involves taking ice baths or applying ice packs directly to targeted areas for extended periods of time.

Does DIY CoolSculpting Work?

Unfortunately, this approach is ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. Here are a few reasons:

  • It doesn’t deliver enough continuous cooling. Ice packs will melt before they have a chance to sufficiently cool fat cells. In contrast, CoolSculpting continuously cools the area and keeps it at a specific low temperature throughout the treatment.
  • The cold temperatures don’t surround the targeted areas. Superficial, one-directional cooling will only travel inward from one outside surface. CoolSculpting overcomes this issue by pulling the area into an applicator so it can cool the fat from multiple directions at once.
  • Fat isn’t pulled to the surface. CoolSculpting uses suction to pull fat cells closer to the surface so it can reach them more effectively. Without this approach, cold temperatures from ice packs won’t reach deep enough to make a difference.

Why Is DIY CoolSculpting Dangerous?

While professional CoolSculpting is a relatively low-risk procedure, at-home CoolSculpting is a different story. When you try CoolSculpting at home, you open yourself up to the risk of frostbite and damage to your tissues. Without the oversight of a medical professional, exposing your skin to very cold temperatures can be harmful and painful.

Why Is Professional CoolSculpting Worth It?

Portland Plastic Surgery Group’s CoolSculpting University-trained specialists are highly educated in providing both safe and effective treatments. They use authorized devices and applicators, monitor you throughout your appointment, and know which areas to target to create the transformative results you’re looking for. (Learn more about their training in our previous blog post.)

Instead of wasting your time and risking your safety in a DIY attempt, you’re better off trusting professionals who will keep you safe and comfortable while delivering body contouring results you can count on.

To see examples of the CoolSculpting results you can expect from the Portland Plastic Surgery Group, please visit our before-and-after photo gallery.

If you would like to learn more about your options for CoolSculpting here in Portland, please contact us online or call (503) 292-9200.

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