Before view of a belly treated with the FDA-approved non-invasive fat-reduction procedure CoolTech, conducted at Icon Clinic in Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy of Icon Clinic.
Before view of a belly treated with the FDA-approved non-invasive fat-reduction procedure CoolTech, conducted at Icon Clinic in Abu Dhabi. Photo courtesy of Icon Clinic.

The pros and cons of the non-surgical procedures that promise the body of your dreams



Forget about your face for a minute. Non-surgical body contouring or sculpting procedures are increasingly popular – and attractive-sounding – offerings at your local dermatologist’s or aesthetician’s office.

Also known as non-invasive fat-reduction treatments, they claim to offer a quick, pain-free solution to getting rid of fat, requiring no anaesthesia and leaving neither scars nor discomfort.

But can you really whittle away that muffin top, shrink that belly, firm up those saddle bags or get rid of a double chin with the wave of a wand?

“No, you cannot”

“For me, it just didn’t work, despite how much I wanted it to,” says Reem Mohammed, a 23-year-old Lebanese communications student in Abu Dhabi. “My friends and I have become obsessed with learning everything we can about these treatments – and unfortunately, not all of them work.”

If you are overweight and need to lose a few pounds, body contouring is a waste of money, Mohammed believes.

She tried a procedure called 3D-Lipo at a clinic in Abu Dhabi, which claims to aid weight loss by combining different types of treatments, including: cavitation, which uses ultrasound to destroy fat cells; cryolipolysis for fat reduction; radio frequency for skin tightening and dermology for cellulite reduction.

“I was told a total of six to eight sessions were required to see any change,” says Mohammed. “I did four. I lost two to three centimetres as soon as each session was done but in the next day or two, whatever I lost would come back – and it kept happening. So I asked for my money back and didn’t do my final three sessions.”

Mohammed says the treatment might work for people who “are already slim and at a normal weight and just need a few centimetres off here and there – but not those who need proper weight loss”.

At Dh1,200 a session – or a special deal of six sessions for Dh4,000 – the procedure is not cheap.

“They compress your tummy for about 20 minutes, so of course you feel slimmer, but as soon as I drank water, my tummy bulged out again,” she says.

“So many of my friends tried so many of these treatments, and a total of zero friends say anything worked – it’s such a waste of money.”

“Yes, you can”

Lipodystrophy is a disorder that prevents the body from producing and storing fat – it is sometimes called fat redistribution. Induced lipodystrophy is possible either through cool sculpting, which freezes and hence destroys fat cells, or using a cold laser treatment, which again targets and eliminates fat cells.

Cool sculpting is a body-contouring treatment that actually works. A non-invasive alternative to liposuction, it is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. If you can pinch the fat on your skin between your fingers, then you can freeze it and, eventually, eliminate it.

Similar to cool sculpting, and also FDA approved, the low-level cold laser Zerona disrupts fat membranes, causing fat cells to leak and collapse, resulting in inches taken off the treated areas.

Sara Esam, a 25-year-old American-Palestinian accountant in Abu Dhabi, says she has become a regular at the VLCC Wellness Clinic in Abu Dhabi to try out similar weight-loss treatments.

“They offer all sorts of body-contouring treatments there and it’s almost addictive for someone like me,” she says.

Esam has lost 50 kilograms in the past four years, dropping from a UK size 20 dress size to size 8. Still, she has problem areas that need to be targeted.

“I started off trying Thermage, which is a radiofrequency treatment, to tighten up all the loose skin on my thighs and underarms,” says Esam. “I spent so much money, and it just didn’t work.”

She now swears by cool sculpting. She is also impressed by ultrasound technology – specifically the Liponsonix – for its ability to target a double chin. It uses high-intensity focused ultrasounds (HIFU) to permanently destroy subcutaneous adipose tissues, offering a precisely focused delivery of energy to a specific area without harming surrounding skin, tissue or organs.

“My friend and I both did it, and her face is incredible now,” says Esam. “It took her six sessions and a lot of money but her double chin completely disappeared. I had a triple chin, and it’s gone. There’s such a huge difference in my face.”

Of all the body-contouring treatments, cool sculpting is the one that really works, according to Naseem, 30-year-old Arab-American who has been living in Abu Dhabi for three years and says she practically lives in the gym.

“I’m testament to that fact,” she said.

After losing 30 kilograms, her body plateaued, and try as she might, Naseem could not rid herself of her belly fat.

“I was really considering liposuction, because that pocket of fat killed me – I wanted it gone,” she says.

Doctors told her the amount of fat on her belly did not warrant treatment as severe and invasive as liposuction. One plastic surgeon instead advised her to look into cool sculpting.

“Considering it’s the only one that’s FDA-approved, I was interested,” she says. “It freezes your fat, which kills your fat cells. It made sense to me.”

Naseem had the procedure, targeting her lower abs, at the Eternal Clinic in Dubai five months ago. It took about an hour and 20 minutes and cost Dh4,200.

“After just one month, I could see the changes in my body shape,” she says. “Suddenly, a problem area that had been bothering me for years and that I just couldn’t fix no matter how much I tried, was no longer a problem and I didn’t even have to commit to invasive surgery.”

Naseem says she is “over-the-moon happy”, even though she concedes the results are not “perfect”.

“This procedure killed the fat cells in my tummy area, so now if I gain weight, it will be in other parts of my body,” she says. “But even if I’m at a heavier weight, I’m still comfortable because my body shape is different.

“And it’s not [a way] for a fat person to get skinny – it’s for targeting a problem area or resculpting, almost. If your love handles are big, this is the sort of thing you’d do.

“I did my research for months and this is the only method with science behind it to back it up.”

Proceed with caution

Patients have to understand that any fat-reduction technology that claims to be permanent will only work if the patient actively controls their weight.

“If you gain weight, it has to go somewhere, and if you’ve frozen fat cells on a particular part of your body, the fat gain will find somewhere else to settle,” says Dr Ahmad Al Aslawi, a reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon from Kuwait who practises at NMC in Dubai.

Nutrition and exercise remain the two most important factors in maintaining weight loss.

“If you’re going to spend all that money and commit to multiple sessions – because none of these treatments are cheap and none of them are as effective with just one session – and if you do all that without changing your diet and eating habits, then what a waste,” he adds.

artslife@thenational.ae

Cinco in numbers

Dh3.7 million

The estimated cost of Victoria Swarovski’s gem-encrusted Michael Cinco wedding gown

46

The number, in kilograms, that Swarovski’s wedding gown weighed.

1,000

The hours it took to create Cinco’s vermillion petal gown, as seen in his atelier [note, is the one he’s playing with in the corner of a room]

50

How many looks Cinco has created in a new collection to celebrate Ballet Philippines’ 50th birthday

3,000

The hours needed to create the butterfly gown worn by Aishwarya Rai to the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

1.1 million

The number of followers that Michael Cinco’s Instagram account has garnered.

Brolliology: A History of the Umbrella in Life and Literature
By Marion Rankine
Melville House

Dubai World Cup nominations

UAE: Thunder Snow/Saeed bin Suroor (trainer), North America/Satish Seemar, Drafted/Doug Watson, New Trails/Ahmad bin Harmash, Capezzano, Gronkowski, Axelrod, all trained by Salem bin Ghadayer

USA: Seeking The Soul/Dallas Stewart, Imperial Hunt/Luis Carvajal Jr, Audible/Todd Pletcher, Roy H/Peter Miller, Yoshida/William Mott, Promises Fulfilled/Dale Romans, Gunnevera/Antonio Sano, XY Jet/Jorge Navarro, Pavel/Doug O’Neill, Switzerland/Steve Asmussen.

Japan: Matera Sky/Hideyuki Mori, KT Brace/Haruki Sugiyama. Bahrain: Nine Below Zero/Fawzi Nass. Ireland: Tato Key/David Marnane. Hong Kong: Fight Hero/Me Tsui. South Korea: Dolkong/Simon Foster.

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

The specs: 2019 Mini Cooper

Price, base: Dh141,740 (three-door) / Dh165,900 (five-door)
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder (Cooper) / 2.0-litre four-cylinder (Cooper S)
Power: 136hp @ 4,500rpm (Cooper) / 192hp @ 5,000rpm (Cooper S)
Torque: 220Nm @ 1,480rpm (Cooper) / 280Nm @ 1,350rpm (Cooper S)
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Fuel consumption, combined: 4.8L to 5.4L / 100km

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Elvis

Director: Baz Luhrmann

Stars: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge

Rating: 4/5

Generational responses to the pandemic

Devesh Mamtani from Century Financial believes the cash-hoarding tendency of each generation is influenced by what stage of the employment cycle they are in. He offers the following insights:

Baby boomers (those born before 1964): Owing to market uncertainty and the need to survive amid competition, many in this generation are looking for options to hoard more cash and increase their overall savings/investments towards risk-free assets.

Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980): Gen X is currently in its prime working years. With their personal and family finances taking a hit, Generation X is looking at multiple options, including taking out short-term loan facilities with competitive interest rates instead of dipping into their savings account.

Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996): This market situation is giving them a valuable lesson about investing early. Many millennials who had previously not saved or invested are looking to start doing so now.

MADAME WEB

Director: S.J. Clarkson

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tahar Rahim, Sydney Sweeney

Rating: 3.5/5

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Main display: 7.6" QXGA+ Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2176 x 1812, 21.6:18, 374ppi, HDR10+, up to 120Hz

Cover display: 6.2" HD+ Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2316 x 904, 23.1:9, 402ppi, up to 120Hz

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, 4nm, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 12GB

Capacity: 256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: Android 12, One UI 4.1.1

Main camera: Triple 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 50MP wide (f/1.8) + 10MP telephoto (f/2.4), dual OIS, 3x optical zoom, 30x Space Zoom, portrait, super slo-mo

Video: 8K@24fps, 4K@30/60fps, full-HD@30/60fps, HD@30fps; slo-mo@60/240/960fps; HDR10+

Cover camera: 10MP (f/2.2)

Inner front camera: Under-display 4MP (f/1.8)

Battery: 4400mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging, 'all-day' life

Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC (Samsung Pay)

I/O: USB-C

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In the box: Fold 4, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh6,799 / Dh7,249 / Dh8,149

Secret Pigeon Service: Operation Colomba, Resistance and the Struggle to Liberate Europe
Gordon Corera, Harper Collins

NBA FINALS SO FAR

(Toronto lead 3-2 in best-of-seven series)

Game 1 Raptors 118 Warriors 109

Game 2 Raptors 104 Warriors 109

Game 3 Warriors 109 Raptors 123

Game 4 Warriors 92 Raptors 105

Game 5 Raptors 105 Warriors 106

Game 6 Thursday, at Oakland

Game 7 Sunday, at Toronto (if needed)

Profile of VoucherSkout

Date of launch: November 2016

Founder: David Tobias

Based: Jumeirah Lake Towers

Sector: Technology

Size: 18 employees

Stage: Embarking on a Series A round to raise $5 million in the first quarter of 2019 with a 20 per cent stake

Investors: Seed round was self-funded with “millions of dollars” 

The five pillars of Islam
Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

LIKELY TEAMS

South Africa
Faf du Plessis (captain), Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock (wkt), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel, Lungi Ngidi.

India (from)
Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Hardik Pandya, Dinesh Karthik (wkt), Ravichandran Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah.

 


 

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
Water waste

In the UAE’s arid climate, small shrubs, bushes and flower beds usually require about six litres of water per square metre, daily. That increases to 12 litres per square metre a day for small trees, and 300 litres for palm trees.

Horticulturists suggest the best time for watering is before 8am or after 6pm, when water won't be dried up by the sun.

A global report published by the Water Resources Institute in August, ranked the UAE 10th out of 164 nations where water supplies are most stretched.

The Emirates is the world’s third largest per capita water consumer after the US and Canada.

The specs

Engine: Single front-axle electric motor
Power: 218hp
Torque: 330Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 402km (claimed)
Price: From Dh215,000 (estimate)
On sale: September

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Dhadak

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Starring: Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khattar, Ashutosh Rana

Stars: 3

Three ways to get a gratitude glow

By committing to at least one of these daily, you can bring more gratitude into your life, says Ong.

  • During your morning skincare routine, name five things you are thankful for about yourself.
  • As you finish your skincare routine, look yourself in the eye and speak an affirmation, such as: “I am grateful for every part of me, including my ability to take care of my skin.”
  • In the evening, take some deep breaths, notice how your skin feels, and listen for what your skin is grateful for.
SUE GRAY'S FINDINGS

"Whatever the initial intent, what took place at many of these gatherings and the
way in which they developed was not in line with Covid guidance at the time.

"Many of these events should not have been allowed to happen. It is also the case that some of the
more junior civil servants believed that their involvement in some of these events was permitted given the attendance of senior leaders. 

"The senior leadership at the centre, both political and official, must bear responsibility for this culture. 

"I found that some staff had witnessed or been subjected to behaviours at work which they had felt concerned about but at times felt unable to raise properly.

"I was made aware of multiple examples of a lack of respect and poor treatment of security and cleaning staff. This was unacceptable." 

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Wonka

Director: Paul King

Starring: Timothee Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant

Rating: 2/5

Directed: Smeep Kang
Produced: Soham Rockstar Entertainment; SKE Production
Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Jimmy Sheirgill, Sunny Singh, Omkar Kapoor, Rajesh Sharma
Rating: Two out of five stars 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)