Does Non Surgical Body Contouring Work? And is it an Alternative to Cosmetic Surgery?

Beauty is subjective
Beauty is subjective | Source

Non-invasive body contouring

In this article, I'm going to explore a number of noninvasive body contouring techniques and compare them both to each other and surgical alternatives. The main question of course is whether or not these techniques actually work. To listen to the advertisers you would think there is no question as to the validity of these various techniques, but this is probably one of the most contentious issues in the beauty industry today. Not only is there a good argument that elective cosmetic surgery is "wrong," but there are several good arguments that none of the alternatives actually work.

From my own perspective, I have seen some good results from certain types of body contouring, but on the other hand I've seen exactly the same techniques applied with absolutely no discernible results. Needless to say – most observers have seen similar results, so it is somewhat difficult to be absolutely certain as to whether or not they work. My own personal opinion is that the only way to change your body type permanently is to change your lifestyle – and that means doing some work yourself. Developing the willpower and drive to change your lifestyle in positive ways using diet and exercise.

One thing I can say is that if you're looking for a magic bullet, You're going to be shi* out of luck! Regardless, let's explore some less invasive body contouring techniques.

Thermage

Thermage is a technique whereby an attempt is made to "superheat," the collagen on a particular body part with the intention of creating a firmer younger looking skin. Most people find this more appealing than cosmetic surgery, but the results don't seem to be matching up with the manufacturer's claims. Having said that because this is not particularly invasive, there doesn't seem to be any long-lasting damage or side effects.

It is recommended that you have something like six months treatment before you see results and generally the results are nowhere near as good as claimed. But – this might be worth trying if you are looking for from a skin and don't want to undergo surgery. But be warned that it might not work.

This is a typical example of the type of advertising surrounding this technique. Go ahead and watch the video and make your own mind up. Far as I can see the girl on the table didn't really need any work done in the first place, some leaning towards this being all hype. Having said that I haven't taken part in any procedures myself so is just my reaction to the advertising.

Needless to say, most cosmetic surgeons are warning that is will not work. But - they would, wouldn't they? So hard to be sure what is what without giving it a try.

Thermage advertising

Typical results?

Typical example of the results claimed.
Typical example of the results claimed. | Source

Mesotherapy

Much like Thermage, most traditional cosmetic surgeons are of the opinion that mesotherapy cannot and does not work. This particular treatment originally started in Europe and has been subject to no genuine clinical trials. In France the practice was banned, then the ban was canceled, and the argument continues. In the United States, mesotherapy manages to avoid being controlled by the FDA because it's considered a "procedure," rather than a food or dietary supplement.

Basically what this involves is a subcutaneous injection of a variety of chemical compounds that are supposed to target fat cells which the chemical concoction then kills. Given the amounts of arguments surrounding this particular procedure combined with a complete lack of clinical trials, I suggest that this one is to be avoided. At least Thermage is unlikely to cause any adverse reactions. According to Wikipedia the chemical concoction can include any of the following:

  • Phosphatidylcholine
  • T3-T4 thyroid,
  • Isoproterenol
  • Aminophylline
  • Pentoxifylline
  • L-carnitine
  • L-arginine
  • Hyaluronidase
  • Collagenase
  • Yohimbine
  • Co-enzyme cofactors
  • Dimethylethanolamine
  • Gerovital
  • Glutathione
  • Tretinoin
  • Alpha lipoic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Procaine
  • Lidocaine
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Melilotus
  • C-adenosine monophosphate
  • Multiple vitamins
  • Trace mineral elements
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Mesoglycan

Personally I would avoid this like the plague until further clinical trials of been undertaken, but if you're interested in seeing what's involved here is a video demonstrating the procedure.

Not for the sqeamish

Source

Liposonix

Liposonix this possibly the scariest procedure I have come across while researching the various noninvasive cosmetic treatments available. According to the blurb on their website, along with numerous "practitioners," this is a kind of ultrasound machine that targets specific fat cells and destroys them. The fat does not get destroyed and reenters the bloodstream to be processed by the liver and cause them to redistributed somewhere else on the body. According to the makers this means that it is not possible to lose weight with this device just lose inches.

The following video is an advertisement from a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, but – really? I find it very difficult to believe that this is some kind of magic bullet that will take away fat from a particular part of your body without causing some kind of internal damage. According to the people who make it and use it is perfectly safe, but not convinced this is a good idea. Feel free to watch this and make your own mind up.

Body Wraps

Body wraps are one of my my personal preferences for noninvasive body contouring. Although the preceding treatments and techniques are considerably less invasive than going under the knife, they are still invasive compared to traditional "beauty," techniques rather than surgical techniques.

The thing to remember though, is that anything such as the "It Works," body contouring wraps are not something that are going to make a permanent difference. I would say that these are useful in giving you a short term change of body shape and are best used in conjunction with diet and exercise if you're looking for a permanent change. Certainly the "It Works," brands of body wraps are one of the best on the market. Basically what you are doing is applying a fair amount of pressure with a wrap that has been infused with a body contouring cream in order to produce a short-term change.

Do not fool yourself into thinking that this will provide you with a permanent change. The jury is even out on whether or not it produces a short-term change. My own feelings is it depends on your body type and the best thing to do is try it and see. I have seen good results and I have also seen completely no results at all. I have not been able to determine which body type gets good results in which body type gets poor results but my thinking is people with excess water in the system are more likely to see a result. At the very worst it makes your skin feel nice, and my thinking is that this is the source products to use before going out on the town in order to reduce bloat or maybe on a hot date or something. Bearing in mind, of course, that the effects are not permanent.

Elemis Body Brush
Elemis Body Brush

Body Brushes

Body brushes are another favorite of mine once again because they're completely noninvasive, and there's no way you're going to get any side effects from scrubbing your body with a brush! Like the wraps, brushes or another short-term solution, particularly for cellulite. With the best will in the world you are not going to actually get rid of any cellulite using the body brush, but you might disguise the effects for an evening or day at the beach.

There are many different body brushes available and if you are interested in a review of a large range of them I have written an article here – best body brushes – but one of my favorites is the Elemis Body Brush, because as it is hard wearing and inexpensive. Not only does it help reduce the appearance of cellulite, it really makes your skin feel fantastic. This is a brush you need to use dry, and you find it helps to reduce dry skin and other minor blemishes.

Diet and Exercise

I cannot stress enough the need to combine any of these short-term treatments with a combination of diet and exercise. As always drink plenty of water, eat plenty of vegetables and detoxifying foods and drinks, and get regular exercise. I'm not going to suggest you do any particular type of exercise because it's so personal, but exercising mildly to heavily a minimum of three times a week will help to reduce fat, cellulite and increase your metabolism. If you consider yourself to be obese or have any health issues, it is always a good idea to get advice from a physician or health professional before embarking on an exercise program – especially if you have not exercised for a while. I am a beautician not a doctor!

What is your preferred way of body contouring?

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