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What Are the Side Effects of CoolSculpting?

Ever wish you could eliminate fat in one or more areas of your body? Statistics show over half of all U.S. men and women aren’t happy with their body. While CoolSculpting can help you achieve a more sculpted figure by eliminating fat in the target areas of your body, you might be wondering what side effects the procedure has. By familiarizing yourself with the following side effects, you can make a well-informed decision on whether CoolSculpting is the right choice for you.

A Little Bit About CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is a nonsurgical body sculpting procedure pioneered by Zeltiq Aesthetics. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the permanent removal of body fat in 2010. Since then, it’s performed hundreds of thousands of times. CoolSculpting has been shown to permanently eliminate 20% to 25% of fat in the targeted area of the body — all without breaking the skin.

How does CoolSculpting work exactly? The procedure leverages the fat-destroying power of cool air to induce the localized destruction of fat cells. During a CoolSculpting procedure, an aesthetician will place a machine-connected wand known as an applicator against your skin. Once in place, the applicator will suction your skin, as well as the fat tissue, while exposing it to cool air. The cool air will then destroy the underlying fat cells via thermal conductivity.

CoolSculpting is also known by its generic name: cryolipolysis. Regardless of terminology, the procedure is characterized by the use of cool air to destroy fat cells via an applicator.

Some of the benefits of CoolSculpting include the following:

  • Permanently eliminates up to one-quarter of the total fat in the targeted area
  • No recovery time needed — you can go back to your normal activities immediately after leaving the aesthetician’s facility
  • Sessions are short, with most lasting less than an hour
  • Approved by the FDA
  • Noticeable results after just a few weeks
  • Doesn’t create scars or other permanent forms of skin damage
  • Safe and effective alternative to surgical fat reduction procedures like liposuction
  • Supports multiple sessions for better results
  • Typically costs less than other fat reduction procedures
  • Fewer and less-severe side effects

Because it doesn’t require incisions or other invasive processes, CoolSculpting is a truly revolutionary fat reduction procedure. Not only is it more effective than other fat reduction procedures; it has fewer and less-severe side effects. With that said, CoolSculpting still has a few minor side effects of which you should be aware. To learn more about what side effects to expect from CoolSculpting, keep reading.

Pulling Sensation

A common side effect of CoolSculpting is a pulling sensation. During the procedure itself — not afterward — it will feel like someone is pulling or tugging on your skin. This is because the applicator used in CoolSculpting creates suction using a vacuum. As the applicator suctions your skin, it will feel like someone is pulling or tugging on your skin. Of course, it’s a minor side effect that shouldn’t cause any reason for concern. For CoolSculpting to work, it must suction your skin, as well as the fat tissue, into the applicator.

Cold Sensation

In addition to a pulling sensation, you’ll likely feel a cold sensation on the targeted area of your body. As the applicator suctions your skin, it will simultaneously blow cool air over it. The air isn’t cold enough frostbite. Rather, it’s just cold enough to induce the localized destruction of fat cells. Fat cells are more susceptible to cold exposure than skin and muscle cells. As a result, CoolSculpting can safely destroy fat tissue without harming your skin or muscle tissue. If you feel a cold sensation during the procedure, you can rest assured knowing that CoolSculpting is working.


Redness is a common side effect of CoolSculpting. The combination of cool air and suction may irritate your skin, resulting in localized and temporary redness. If you have CoolSculpting performed on your abdomen, for example, the skin on your abdomen may turn pink or red. Don’t let this fool you into thinking you are suffering from frostbite, though. CoolSculpting uses a precise temperature to ensure that frostbite doesn’t occur. The aesthetician performing the procedure will adjust the applicator’s temperature so that the air is cool enough to destroy fat cells but not so cold that it freezes or harms your skin.


While not as common as the aforementioned side effects, some clients may experience itching after a CoolSculpting session. The itching usually occurs shortly after the procedure, and like localized redness, it’s the result of minor skin irritation. It’s best to avoid the temptation of scratching your skin, though. If you scratch your skin, you may inadvertently create infection-prone wounds in which bacteria or viruses can enter your body. Instead of scratching your skin, ask your aesthetician for a recommendation on a moisturizer. A gentle moisturizer will hydrate your skin and ease the itching sensation that’s accompanied with CoolSculpting.


Your skin may also feel tender after having CoolSculpting performed. Like redness and itching, tenderness is the result of minor irritation. As the applicator suctions your skin and exposes it to cool air, your skin may become tender. The good news is that like the other side effects listed here, skin tenderness is minor and temporary. Once your skin heals, it will no longer feel tender.

Increased Sensitivity

Some clients may experience increased skin sensitivity after having CoolSculpting performed. If this occurs, future exposure to cold, heat or pressure may feel more intense on the targeted area of your body. Increased sensitivity such as this only occurs in the targeted area or areas of your body. If you have CoolSculpting performed on your arms, the skin on your arms will be more sensitive. If you have the procedure performed on your back, the skin on your back will be more sensitive.

How Long Do These Side Effects Last?

The side effects of CoolSculpting don’t last forever. CoolSculpting is a noninvasive procedure, so its side effects are generally shorter-lasting and less-severe than invasive fat reduction procedures. For most clients, side effects will last for just a few days or a few weeks. By the end of this period, their skin will feel just like it did prior to the procedure. CoolSculpting doesn’t leave permanent scars, nor does it have any other permanent or long-lasting side effects. All of the procedure’s side effects are both minor and temporary.

If you’re concerned about any of these side effects, talk to your aesthetician. He or she can provide advice on how to minimize these and other related side effects. As long as you follow your aesthetician’s recommendations, you’ll experience the best results from CoolSculpting while minimizing the procedure’s associated side effects.

In Conclusion

CoolSculpting only has a few minor side effects, all of which are temporary and usually subside within a few days or weeks. As revealed here, the most common side effects of this innovative new fat reduction procedure include a pulling sensation, coldness, redness, itching, tenderness and increased skin sensitivity. Considering that CoolSculpting is able to permanently eliminate up to one-quarter of the fat in the targeted area, most people will agree that it’s well worth it.

Want to learn more about CoolSculpting? Request a free consultation with Radiance Medspa today!

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