This 20-Minute Treatment Made My Cellulite Disappear

And it basically felt like getting a massage.

Person holding a CryoSkin wand.
Photo: CryoSkin

I shouldn't have been surprised when I first noticed cellulite dimpling the sides of my thighs — 80 to 90 percent of women have it and I'm well aware that it's completely natural and normal. My realization certainly wasn't going to stop me from wearing a bathing suit or running in shorts —after all, having cellulite is not an indicator of how healthy you are. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't have more of an awareness around my thighs, especially as summer approached. I wasn't going to do anything about it, though, until I heard about CryoSkin through work.

A similar treatment to CoolSculpting, CryoSkin is a noninvasive procedure that uses thermoelectric cooling technology to freeze and kill subcutaneous fat tissue, which is then disposed of naturally through your body's lymphatic system. Plus, targeted cold therapy jump-starts metabolism and circulation in the treated area and boosts your body's collagen production, which can reduce the appearance of cellulite.

"Cryolipolysis, the destruction of fat cells with cold temperature, is what CoolSculpting is based on, and there are numerous studies to show the effectiveness of CoolSculpting for the modest reduction of subcutaneous fat in certain areas," says Anthony M. Rossi M.D., a cosmetic dermatologic surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

That said, the idea of using CryoSkin for cellulite is a little harder to digest, says Dr. Rossi. "Cellulite is a very complex issue that requires releasing the bands that tether the skin down (which creates the dimples we see) and improving the skin texture and quality," he says. "CoolSculpting, for example, has shown slight improvement in skin quality, but it has not been approved or marketed toward cellulite." And as of now, Dr. Rossi points out, there haven't been any scientific studies done on the CryoSkin device or on whether using a different type of contact to cool the fat cells can decrease cellulite.

As for my own research, I was skeptical. People talk a lot about remedies for cellulite, but the reality is that scientific evidence in favor of CyroSkin as a cellulite treatment option is minimal. CryoSkin treatments are performed by practitioners that are trained in workshops with a CryoSkin Master Trainer. The procedure is popular and is offered at salons, spas, gyms, and cryo studios across the country. But it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That said, it has received a CE marking in Europe, a certification that's generally considered to be equivalent.

Dr. Rossi has never used CryoSkin himself but notes that CoolSculpting — which does work differently — has been shown to be quite safe. So I bit the bullet and booked an appointment.

At Modrn Sanctuary, a luxury spa in New York, I gamely took my pants off and lay facedown on a massage table covered in a Grecian-looking blanket — a typical workday, right? I was a little afraid my practitioner, Ashley Sanchez, would take one look at my skinny legs and laugh me out of the room, but she told me that because I was looking to tighten up my skin rather than lose inches, I was actually a perfect candidate for CryoToning, a 20-minute treatment that uses only cold therapy to cause vasodilation, aka the widening of blood vessels. "This will increase your blood flow, which causes your body to produce more collagen and break down cellulite, and your microcirculation, which improves elasticity and pore size," she explained.

Sanchez used what looked like an ultrasound wand, set at -2° C to rub the back and sides of my thighs in upward motions"to go against gravity," she said. It actually felt great; like getting a light massage with an ice pack (an especially delightful experience on a mind-numbingly hot summer day in Manhattan).

After 10 minutes on each leg, I hopped off the bed and turned my back to the mirror. I squeezed my butt several times in a way that I'm very glad was not captured in any smartphone footage, and it was clear: All the cellulite in the middle and along the sides of my thighs had vanished! There was still some dimpling right under my cheeks, but only when I really squeezed, as if I were clenching at the top of a glute bridge.

For the best results, Sanchez recommended I come back every month or two to keep up the results for the first six months. After that, I could need another two to three maintenance sessions for results that would last up to several years. At $355 per session, that's not exactly cheap.

After a few weeks, for the most part, that cellulite was still gone. I noticed some of it reappear like my technician warned, but only if I really squeezed (yes, I checked, don't @ me). With that price tag, this wasn't something I would continue doing regularly, but I would definitely splurge for the treatment before an important beach vacation or some other big event that might put my butt or thighs on display. Sure, others may consider it vain of me, but in my eyes, it's no different than a quick facial, spray tan, eyelash extensions, or any of the other beauty treatments women book for an instant pep in their step.

I know that cellulite is just a fact of life for the vast majority of women, but if I can afford a quick fix (even if it's only a short-term one!) that will make me feel better, why not? Just look at how far that mentality took the Botox industry.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles