Fat isn’t the only culprit behind the appearance of a double chin – skin laxity could also exacerbate it. And pulling double duty to correct both is Allergan’s CoolSculpting®. Albuquerque’s Western Dermatology Consultants note that the non-invasive, needle-free device is now FDA-cleared to improve the appearance of lax tissue along with treating fat in the submental region (i.e. the area underneath the chin).
In the past few years, dermatologists have noted a spike in the number of patients looking to treat the appearance of double chins specifically. Recognizing that this would not simply be a fleeting trend, Zeltiq (manufacturer of the CoolSculpting® devices and subsidiary of Allergan) created the CoolMini® applicator that is specially designed as a “solution for submental bulge.”
The FDA clearance is significant, as it currently makes CoolSculpting® the only fat reduction system in the country that can also tighten skin. While the FDA has only provided clearance to treat lax tissue in the submentum thus far, its fat reduction clearance extends to several other areas, including:
- The upper arms
- Back and bra fat
- Banana roll (under the buttocks)
An 18-week clinical study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology evaluated the use of CoolSculpting® in the submental region, and found that close to 80 percent of the patients exhibited improvements in tissue laxity. Seventy-five percent of the patients also reported that their chin looked more toned after their CoolSculpting® treatments.
Liposuction may produce more immediate and dramatic fat reduction, but it does not lead to any skin tightening effects. Patients with poor skin elasticity, in fact, may find their skin appears to be loose or saggy after fat is removed with liposuction, creating a need for skin tightening surgery or other treatment.
In contrast, CoolSculpting® can reduce fat and moderately tighten skin simultaneously. This means that as the fat deposit is being diminished, the sagging skin that may follow is being prevented, and pre-existing sagging following weight loss or aging is being treated.
CoolSculpting® is based on the principle of Cryolipolysis® or cold-assisted lipolysis. The basis for this was established several years ago, when two scientists at Harvard University observed that some children who consumed popsicles ended up with dimples in their cheeks. Upon further investigation, they found that the cooling induced by the popsicles was freezing and eliminating localized pockets of fat cells without damaging skin or other surrounding tissue, as they are not as temperature-sensitive.
Keeping Cryolipolysis® in mind, there are a few theories that could explain how CoolSculpting® can reduce fat without sacrificing skin elasticity. One possibility is that since the body gradually processes out the crystallized fat cells over three to four months as opposed to an immediate removal, the skin has time to contract and conform to any newly shaped contours.
Actual increases in skin tightness may be attributed to the intense cold from CoolSculpting® treatments accelerating collagen production in the skin. Researchers have even given this phenomenon a name: “cryodermadstringo”, or skin tightening via intense cooling.
CoolSculpting® is effective for anyone at a healthy weight range following appropriate eating and exercise habits, but it proves especially beneficial for patients who are concerned with diet- and exercise-resistant fat deposits and mild to moderate amounts of stretched skin, but would prefer not to undergo surgery.
Many women, for instance, would like to treat fat and skin laxity acquired after childbirth. They are often advised to avoid fat reduction or skin tightening procedures if they plan to have more children, as subsequent pregnancies could reverse the results. But because CoolSculpting® is now cleared to treat both conditions, it can serve as a cost-effective option for those in-between periods, as well as when patients are not planning future pregnancies. CoolSculpting® is well-known to be effective and safe enough for repeat treatments.
The board-certified dermatologists at Western Dermatology Consultants would be happy to assist anyone looking to learn more about CoolSculpting® or determine whether it may be appropriate for them. To request a complimentary consultation, contact their practice online or by phone at 505-855-9267.