Art Director Anna Savelieva Goes For The Burn!
We’ve all been there. The minute you realise time has eluded you and you’re suddenly days away from the deadline you’ve set yourself to get thin(ner) and fit(ter) pre-very-important-occasion. For me, it’s my wedding. The deadline’s looming, the dress stitching unforgiving, and yoga proving unrewarding. A quick chat with the Bazaar beauty team and I find myself at Dr Simin Medical Centre in Jumeirah to try SculpSure, ready for one last stubborn attempt to rid myself of my equally stubborn fat. An FDA-cleared laser treatment that targets all the flabby bits no bride wants committed to wedding photo archives, it promises to blitz the bad bits in a non-invasive way that alleviates any worries of unsightly pre-wedding scarring or bruising.
The technical bit is actually very interesting for beauty geeks like me. SculpSure melts fat cells by targeting them with laser energy to heat them, which then in turn absorbs and dissolves the fat, which slowly then makes its way out of the body. Prudes pay attention, the initial appointment has potential to make the less brave of us blush, as you have to strip down to your underwear so your 360-degree photographs can be taken for analysis. Afterwards, problem areas on my body are marked with pen (no need to see teacher after class), I’m rotated in a circle so no fatty area is left undetected and, then I’m placed in position. Now, beware, it’s not the most elegant of positions to find yourself in, as you’re required to straddle a chair, facing forward, leaving your beloved (ahem) love handles open to the elements, while a belt is placed around your waist, with four big laser heads slotted in and ready to do their work. When told not to worry, because the treatment is as painless as laser hair removal, I know I’m in trouble. I’ve had laser removal and
I assure you, it was not painless. However, as I’m primed for the pain, I’m actually quietly relieved, as the lasers are more uncomfortable than excruciating. For the first two minutes the lasers feel seriously cold, but then warm up quickly, switching between the two for 20 minutes. Though not exactly relaxing, once
I adjust my mindset to the mild discomfort, it is free to wander elsewhere. Once finished, I dismount my chair (decorum aside), get dressed and am sent on my merry way, with no recovery time required. In fact, I feel so free of pain that I head straight to my yoga session, attempting a bridge pose with unexpected bravado. While results can take around eight to 12 weeks to become visible, to speed things up (as is my wont), my therapist advises returning for a complimentary slimming VelaShape massage to help flush out the unwanted fat cells, which I do three weeks later. So, does it work? Is this the new blitz-all, last-minute bride-to-be fat-busting miracle little black books are made for? Yes and no. I still have my love handles (we have a new-found love/hate relationship) but they are less wobbly than before. Smoother, a little firmer and perhaps that little bit less noticeable in my silhouette-skimming wedding gown. Will I recommend this treatment to other women in desperate need of an urgent fix? I Will.
SculpSure, Dhs4,000 at Dr Simin Medical Centre, +971 4 344 4117
Editor Louise Nichol Has Her Fat Frozen. BRRRR!
Honestly? I was convinced that my CoolSculpting (that’s fat freezing to you and me) session hadn’t worked. Probably not its fault; the treatment preceded a period of holiday-induced lax nutrition and zero exercise that no amount of cryogenics could be expected to counter. Then, scrolling through my iPhone gallery I stumble across some shots my toddler has unwittingly taken of me from behind in my bra and pants. Bracing myself as I enlarge the pictures, I’m pleasantly surprised to discover that where once there were love handles are now something more akin to delicate ripples. I’m still no Marilyn Monroe in the hips-to-waist golden ratio department, but there’s a visible improvement to my boxy silhouette.
To backtrack, I am entirely sceptical about fat loss methods that don’t involve eating better and moving more. But when a friend, who looks incredible, confided to me that her secret weapon is CoolSculpting, the procedure by US firm Zeltic where chunks of flesh are vacuum sucked into a clamp and exposed to extreme cold, triggering the process of fat cell death, I decided to give it a try. Having had three kids in five years, I’ve got plenty of grabbable flab. Turns out most of it isn’t the right kind of flab for CoolSculpting, which requires fat, not loose skin, to do its thing. Still, kudos to the team at Silkor clinic in Jumeirah for exercising such caution during the consultation when they deem my love handles the only suitable area.
I arrive in loose, comfy clothing, armed with fully-charged mobile and Kindle. Fairly mortifyingly, 360-degree pictures are taken of my midsection, although as the clinic uses my own phone at least they’re for my eyes only. Next, there is a hefty bit of grabbing as I am marked up for the machine (leave your dignity at the door for this one). Lying on my front, a cold gel sheet is applied over the treatment area before the CoolCurve attachment is suctioned onto one side of my waist. I have been warned about a freezer-burn sensation for the first seven minutes before the area goes numb, and while I am conscious of the cold, it’s bearable enough for me to fall asleep during the hour-long application. The most intense part is the removal of the applicator, which feels like a clamp being wrenched off bruised skin. Underneath, the treated area is red raw and noticeably stings, but this subsides within 30 minutes. An initial two-minute massage to get those frozen fat cells dispersing is the most unpleasant part, but over quickly. Once the second side has also been treated – the appointment lasts two and a half hours in total – I am sent home with instructions to drink lots of water and resume exercise as normal; full results should be seen in two months. The next day I can wear my skinny jeans, and the treated area only feels fractionally swollen and numb. I’ve read that around 10 per cent of patients experience strong nerve pain after treatment, particularly in the abdomen area, but I am lucky and don’t experience this. And having seen my two-year-old’s accidental photos, maybe cold is gold?
CoolSculpting, Dhs2,500 per application, Silkor.com
This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia.