Thermage and CoolSculpting are some of the most popular non-invasive body contouring procedures around. But, with all the different complex technologies involved, it can be challenging parsing out the differences between the two.
Thermage is for skin tightening
Most people undergo a Thermage treatment to tighten loose skin on their bodies, such as the buttocks, thighs, knees, stomach, and neck. Thermage works from the inside out. It transfers heat to the outer skin layer using radiofrequency technology, causing collagen to contract and gradually reform. It also temporarily improves the appearance of cellulite.
A single Thermage treatment can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Each radiofrequency pulse lasts only a few seconds. Collagen in the deeper skin layers warms just enough to trigger substantial restructuring and regrowth. There is no downtime involved afterward.
You'll only need one Thermage treatment to achieve optimal results that can last up to ten years. While you may see results right away, they tend to appear gradually in the two-to-six months following a Thermage treatment. Some choose to undergo a second Thermage treatment after a few years.
CoolSculpting freezes unwanted fat cells
CoolSculpting targets stubborn fat deposits using controlled cooling to freeze and eliminate unwanted fat cells without downtime. Because fat cells freeze at higher temperatures than surrounding tissues, the CoolSculpting device targets these fat cells, delivering a controlled cooling effect that crystallizes them. The fat cells die, and over time, your body eliminates them. Each CoolSculpting session decreases the number of treated fat cells by around 20%, and each subsequent treatment rids your body of an additional 20%. The fat cells are gone forever, and cells from untreated areas won't migrate to replace them.
One CoolSculpting treatment lasts anywhere from 30-to-60 minutes, depending on the area being treated. During the procedure, a gel pad and applicator are placed on the targeted area. The majority of people experience a deep cold at first along with some tugging, but this ends as the area becomes numb. CoolSculpting's vacuum causes this sensation as it draws fatty tissue into the applicator cup.
CoolSculpting results can be seen as soon as three weeks after your initial treatment, and they are permanent. Most tend to experience dramatic results after two months. Your body will continue to flush out fat cells for four-to-six months after treatment. If you happen to gain some weight after a treatment, you'll do so evenly all over your body.
Bottom Line: Thermage and CoolSculpting are complementary treatments
Thermage and CoolSculpting target different things, but they can achieve complementary results when combined. If you are looking to tighten skin while getting rid of stubborn fat deposits, then both treatments are right for you. It is first recommended that you undergo Thermage first since CoolSculpting may require several treatments until you achieve desired results.
- "Does Fat Freezing Work? Two Experts Weigh in on CoolSculpting," Vogue, June 4, 2018.
- "VelaShape III: The Noninvasive Body Shaping Treatment," Better Off, n.d.