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Itching After CoolSculpting: What Causes This Side Effect and How To Deal With It

CoolSculpting is one of the cosmetic treatments that works miracles for fat elimination and body contouring. Millions of successful CoolSculpting procedures have been performed worldwide and its popularity only continues to soar as it steals the spotlight as an excellent alternative to plastic surgery. However, there’s still so much to know about the treatment and one thing people want to know is about the side effects of CoolSculpting.

So what is the reason behind the CoolSculpting side effects itching and how can you manage it? CoolSculpting eliminates stubborn fat cells by the process of freezing them which in turn triggers the body’s inflammatory response. It is said that itching is a good sign that the procedure is working, and it is a reaction of the body as the treated fat cells are removed from the system. It typically only lasts for a few days and can be remedied with antihistamines or topical creams.

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Is Itching Normal After Getting CoolSculpting Procedure?

As with any cosmetic procedure, experiencing temporary side effects from CoolSculpting is not unusual. While the treatment generally eliminates the risks and complications that are common with a surgical procedure, CoolSculpting comes with its own fair share of post-procedure reactions. Itching is one of the most common side effects experienced by CoolSculpting patients. 

To better understand why itching after CoolSculpting happens, you have to understand the science behind what makes the fat reduction treatment works. CoolSculpting, also known as cryolipolysis, essentially works because subcutaneous fat cells are thought to be more easily destroyed when exposed to cold temperatures.

Through this unique fat freezing technique, the treated fat cells enter their natural cell death (called apoptosis), triggering the body’s inflammatory response to eliminate the dead fat cells. During this process, CoolSculpting also temporarily numbs the nerves in the treated area which can affect your senses and nervous system. As your nerves wake up after being frozen, you can experience itchiness. 

Patients have often likened the feeling of itching to the sensation of pins and needles lightly pricking the skin. It’s mostly tolerable and they usually subside on their own within a few days from the treatment. You may also ask a medical professional for possible home remedies and they can prescribe you with oral antihistamine medications or topical creams.  

Most itching side effects are localized in the treatment site of CoolSculpting. If you notice a tingling, itching, or temporary redness outside the treated area, it may be a reaction to other external factors. In some cases, itching could be a reaction to the material of the compression garment that you are wearing after the procedure. It could also be a symptom of skin dryness in which case you should apply moisturizers or lotion to remedy it.

Other times itching could mean that you have a pre-existing cold-related medical condition like cold urticaria, which is a unique allergic reaction to cold. It is possible that you may have cold-sensitive skin cells and when you are exposed to cool temperatures, your body may release histamines or chemicals that can cause redness, itching, and rash-like symptoms.

If you are getting CoolSculpting, make sure to disclose any important medical history and information to your provider. This is to assure that you are a good candidate for the treatment and to guarantee that no complications will occur from the procedure. 

Other Possible Side Effects Of CoolSculpting And How Long Do They Last

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Compared to traditional liposuction for fat reduction and body contouring, CoolSculpting generally has fewer side effects and post-treatment risks. It’s also an overall comfortable procedure and does not require getting anesthesia for the session. For individuals who are curious about what CoolSculpting really feels like, here are the common effects you may experience during and after the procedure: 

1. Mild pinching or sensations of tugging the skin at the treatment site 

Your provider will use a CoolSculpting applicator to begin the fat freezing process. While other machines use flat panels, there are CoolSculpting devices that have a vacuum that draws the fatty tissue to the cooling cup where controlled cooling is delivered. As this happens, you may feel slight stinging and moderate pain sensations as your skin is tugged and pulled towards the applicator. After the CoolSculpting session, you will feel post-treatment pain and aching which can last for several days.  

2. Bruising, tenderness, and temporary redness 

It is also common for CoolSculpting patients to feel minor bruising, tenderness, and swelling in the treatment site. This is a normal inflammatory response to the intense cold, similar to frostbite effects, that was delivered to your skin surface. It’s also an aftereffect that happens as the body begins to kill the unwanted fat cells and process them out of the body. 

These are usually localized in the treatment sites and the recovery time for these effects usually take several weeks. A post-CoolSculpting massage may also help to bring back normal tissue temperatures and ease some of the bruising and swelling. Once these side effects have improved, you will also see good results in the reduction of your visible fat bulge.  

3. Temporary numbness and skin sensitivity 

There are minimal risks of nerve pain and damage from the coldness of CoolSculpting since the machines have sensors and temperature controls to make the treatment as safe and comfortable as possible for patients. However, it is still likely to experience mild numbness and skin sensitivity since the cold can temporarily affect blood circulation in the treatment site. The decrease in blood flow is what causes the loss of feeling or numbness after the procedure. 

Numbness in the treated area can persist for up to several weeks from the treatment, but it will not have any negative effects on your routine and you can resume your normal activity. 

4. Paradoxical adipose hyperplasia  

In extremely rare cases, the frozen fat cells may not be completely broken down and eliminated from the body but instead, they become hard and enlarged due to the cold. This results in the adverse effect called paradoxical adipose hyperplasia where the area of the fat layer increases in size instead of shrinking. This event has been reported to occur in no more than 1% of patients so as long as you are getting your CoolSculpting procedure from an experienced provider, there’s very little risk of it happening. 

Unlike the usual side effects, this one will not resolve on its own. The best solution to reverse this effect is to remove it via liposuction. However, you may need to wait for several months before going to a plastic surgeon for the procedure. 

5. Vasovagal symptoms such as dizziness and lightheadedness 

The process of CoolSculpting the excess fat may send a signal to your nervous system which can trigger vasovagal responses. These can include feelings of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, flushing, or sweating after the treatment. If you experience this immediately post-procedure, it’s best to stay in the procedure room for a while to let them subside. You should also hydrate yourself and replenish your fluids to keep yourself cool as the body naturally warms the treated area. 

How Safe Is CoolSculpting?

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The noninvasive procedure of CoolSculpting fat reduction has been studied and researched for years, and it is irrefutable that the treatment is safe and effective. From the clinical trials, CoolSculpting has an 89% patient satisfaction rate, and 96% of individuals who experienced fat freezing mentioned minimal discomfort during and after their treatment session. 

CoolSculpting can be safely performed in almost any part of the body that has bothersome unwanted pockets of fat and fatty bulges. It effectively gets rid of the usual upper arm fat, bra fat, stomach bulges, and buttocks fat. It helps sculpt the inner thigh and outer thigh and trims fat from the hips and waist. It is also widely used for submental area treatment or double chin fat reduction. 

CoolSculpting is applicable for all interested patients who are in good health and have no known contraindications to cryolipolysis. As a safety precaution, your doctor may advise you to look for other fat reduction treatments if you have cold-related conditions such as cold agglutinin disease, paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria, and cryoglobulinemia. 

Best CoolSculpting Aftercare Reminders

CoolSculpting has completely zero downtime and recovery from the side effects is generally easy and convenient. Here are some aftercare tips to help minimize your discomfort and increase the efficacy of the cryolipolysis treatment: 

  • Wear loose and comfortable clothing since the treated sites may still be sensitive after the procedure. If needed, you may also be advised to use a compression garment to contour the body area. 
  • Prepare an ice pack or cold compress to help relieve swelling and bruising. 
  • You can take antihistamines like Benadryl or Allegra to ease itching but avoid taking anti-inflammatories since they may interrupt the fat elimination process. 
  • Drink plenty of water to help your lymphatic system get rid of the dead cells faster.   
  • Manage your diet and eat healthy foods to avoid subsequent weight gain and prevent the growth of new fat cells.

Safe And Quality CoolSculpting Treatments At NJ Center of CoolSculpting

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The best and safest way to get the body contour that you’ve always wanted is to get CoolSculpting from an experienced, medically-qualified provider. NJ Center for CoolSculpting is a premier aesthetic facility with state-of-the-art CoolSculpting technologies and our team of medical professionals and trained physician assistants have helped countless patients achieve their body goals. 

Learn more about our fat reduction and body sculpting procedures when you get a consultation from our CoolSculpting specialist. We can work together to create an individualized treatment plan to make sure that your specific concerns are solved. Call us today to schedule your appointment in our NJ clinic anytime. 

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What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "The treatment itself was not uncomfortable. Afterwords, I felt great. I didn't really notice anything for about 30 days. After day 30 until about a month later, I started noticing that my favorite jeans were not as tight anymore. I wasn't having to suck in to get them buttoned. And by that two month period after my CoolSculpting

    Lesley Hamilton

    Age 41

  • "It's subtle at first, and then a month later you look and go, "Wow - It really did something!" It really moved the bar for me, and I'm feeling better about myself already. It feels so good to put on anything and know I look as good as I've ever looked. And I didn't say that or feel that when I was in my 20's, 30's, and 40's."

    Anne McMarthy

    Age 56

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