DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?
Does body contouring just suck?
You put in the hours on the Versaclimber and prep your Tupperware with ruthless discipline, yet somehow there are still parts of your body (bum and thighs, if you’re anything like me) that your training-hard/eating-well regime just doesn’t reach. Those bits that wobble where they shouldn’t, or sit sad and dimpled – they’re not exactly testament to all your hard work. So what do you do if you want a little help? Let me point you in the direction of the Velashape III*. Looks like a giant supermarket scanner; actually cuttingedge aesthetic technology. It combines infrared bipolar radio frequency and vacuum suction to effectively suck up your skin and heat the tissue beneath, stimulating collagen and elastin growth. ‘Promoting collagen on your bottom tightens the skin to improve its structure and texture, and reduces volume,’ explains Dr Ariel Haus, dermatologist and cosmetic practitioner. Clinical trials have shown a 100% response rate, with at least 1.5cm circumference reduction in the area after just one session. Sceptical yet intrigued, I decided to give it a go. Just a little bit of suction. Can’t hurt, can it? Imagine walking into a sauna and perching your naked flesh on a searing hot bench, only to have a small bit of your skin nipped between the wooden planks. Put mildly: this procedure was unpleasant. Passing the 42°C head over the delicate inside and back of your thighs is enough to make you squeal, plus the suction felt like a sports massage the day after a marathon. Tender doesn’t even begin to cover it. My skin was red, swollen and starting to go blue (disclaimer: I do bruise like a peach). But in spite of the discomfort and immediate pain, pulling my backless hospital gown to the side afterwards revealed a smoother, slightly more taut posterior than the one I’d walked in with. But was this immediate result just a mix of swelling and wishful thinking? ‘Cellulite is just fat cells – exercise and diet (or liposuction) are the best ways to reduce it,’ says Luke Worthington, personal trainer at Third Space, London. With arnica gel in hand and advice to drink plenty of water to flush out toxins ringing in my ears, I headed home, battered and bruised. And while the bruising over the next few days was a work of art, the canvas was smoother and more toned than it had been. So what exactly is the truth about targeting your fatty bits? ‘While there are a number of clinical papers and studies showing that the treatment can have a positive effect, the studies use relatively small numbers,’ explains Dr Anjali Mahto, a consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for The British Skin Foundation. ‘The machine is licensed for temporary reduction in the appearance of cellulite. Multiple treatments may be needed to achieve and maintain clinical response and, anecdotally, results from patients are mixed.’ Cut to me, keeping up the gym and eating well. Oh, and booking in for a few follow-up treatments. You know, just in case. If it can make me look even better in my Lululemon leggings, I’m sold.
Amelia Jean Jones, WH’S Health & Beauty Editor