Can Cryotherapy Freeze Away Unwanted Fat? I Tried It!


Cryotherapy is having a major moment, in all kinds of shapes and forms. As a reminder, the treatment uses extremely cold temps to help combat inflammation and deliver a host of other benefits. You can do cryo for your whole body, a cryo facial, and even cryo fat removal. Cryoskin is a fat-freezing machine that promises slimming, cellulite reduction, and toning — and it’s non-invasive and painless. Sign me up.

Eliminating fat cells by freezing them isn’t a new concept; other treatments, such as CoolSculpting, work in a similar manner. Essentially, the cold temperatures weaken the adipocytes — or fat storage cells — which ultimately die off. Your body then naturally eliminates them (aka you pee them out).

The difference between the two is that CoolSculpting uses panels that are placed in a set area and don’t move, whereas Cryoskin uses a handheld device controlled by the technician, which is massaged across whichever area is being treated. Cryoskin can be used one of two ways: for CryoToning, which boosts circulation, collagen production, and is great for improving the look of cellulite or for CryoSlimming, which destroys fat cells. (Same machine, just some different specifics and modalities.)


Photo: Cryoskin

I went to Chicago’s CryoBar and opted for CryoSlimming on the backs of my thighs, though it works well on all of the classic problem spots, including the stomach, love handles, hips, and butt. The technician started by applying a gel on the area to help the handpiece glide along while my skin heated up. The extreme contrast between going from hot to cold shocks the fat cells for even better results, she noted. Next came the cold.

While it definitely felt cold (we’re talking somewhere in the neighborhood of -8 to -10 degrees Celsius), it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. It certainly wasn’t painful. Because the handpiece is used to massage the area being treated, it actually felt kind of nice. I was in and out in about 30 minutes and was able to go about my normal day-to-day activities as usual.

The one big caveat: No eating any kind of sugar for at least two hours (ideally four to five) after, or two hours prior to treatment. Because the cold weakens the fat cells, you don’t want to give them any fuel afterwards, since the goal is ultimately to destroy them. It’s also important to avoid intense exercise right before a treatment, since that makes it harder to cool down your skin; working out afterward is fine.

The big takeaway? You see some results right away. Immediately post-treatment, I lost ½ inch on one leg and ¼ inch on the other. It takes about two weeks for the lymphatic system to flush everything out, after which I had lost another inch on both sides. Ideally, three to five sessions, spaced 15 to 21 days apart, are recommended for best results, though I obviously noticed a difference after just one. At CryoBar, Cryoskin costs $350 per session ($975 for three or $1500 for five), though costs will vary across the country.

And, as with any fat-freezing treatment, keep in mind that this isn’t a magic fix that will allow you to forgo the gym and sit on the couch eating Bon-Bons all day and still have a six-pack. But in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle, it’s a good option to help get rid of stubborn trouble areas. And really, who doesn’t have some of those?