Body Slimming Products and Treatments: What Actually Works

Aly Walansky
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

We’re all looking for the  magic pill, potion or treatment that will make us lose unwanted fat, inches, and cellulite. There’s a lot of options out there, but what actually works? We asked the experts.

Body slimming products

Products with Aminophylline
A drug that you can use if you have asthma is also put in cream form that you can rub on your legs, and other areas of the body. “It dries out the skin causing the fat cells to shrink. It does not kill the fat cells but does shrink them, so it gives a slimming appearance,” says Dr. Steven Davis, board certified plastic surgeon at Davis Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in Cherry Hill, NJ.

Caffeine/Green Tea
These ingredients absorb moisture and pulls water out of fat cells. It is also not permanent and  when usage is stopped, the fat appearance will return.


This is the easiest way to take fat and throw it in the garbage (or put it somewhere you’d prefer). “Liposuction has the ability to create a significant change with almost no scarring to show for it.  Liposuction is great for those isolated bulges that are significant enough to warrant something invasive,” says Dr. Scott Newman of the Advanced Plastic Surgery and Laser Center in New York City.

Less invasive options are now becoming popular as they attempt to do some of what liposuction can do using techniques that are non-surgical.  None of them are as effective as liposuction, but the fact that they are cheaper and much less invasive is often a good trade-off.

There are areas of the body that are very resistant to dieting and exercising. The problem is that one may lose weight, but the fat from the troubled area desired to treat doesn’t go away.”With this non-invasive treatment, an applicator gets applied strategically to the target area you want to get rid of, causing the fat to become frozen and die. Over the 4-6 week period, the fat will get metabolized and then excreted out of your system. This four to six week process also allows skin ample time to readjust and retighten (so you aren’t left with excess skin),” says Dr. Davis.

“My patients have seen excellent results with coolsculpting. The procedure is an effective way to reduce fat without the risk and recovery time of surgical procedures. CoolSculpting targets fat cells and exposes them to extreme cold. This triggers a process of natural fat removal, which gradually reduces the thickness of the fat layer. The result is a visible reduction in fat bulges in the treated areas,” says Dr. Miguel Delgado.

Radio Frequency-Assistant Liposuction
It’s a little more invasive than CoolSculpting, but the results are immediate. “With this particular liposuction, the plastic surgeon will target a specific pocket of fat; opening the pocket to heat the area, which causes the skin on the back part of the skin to shrink and tighten. The fat is melted, and liposuctioned out with a syringe,” says Dr. Davis.

A fat reduction treatment that uses laser therapy to remove fat. “The process involves using a low-level laser to create a small pore inside the fat cell. The fat is then emulsified and drained through the pore, then eliminated through the body’s lymphatic system. Zerona has been clinically proven to reduce body circumference an average of 3.5 inches in just over two weeks,” says Dr. Paul Flashner, chief medical director for American Laser Skincare.

“There is a common misconception that cellulite is a “fat” problem when, in reality, the appearance of cellulite is the result of shortened septae, excess fat and thin dermis ( skin layer),” says New Jersey plastic surgeon Dr. Barry DiBernardo. “Cellulite is a combination of internal and external factors, including genetics, hormones, diet, clothing and lifestyle choices, so I like to recommend combination therapy to my patients,” says Dr. DiBernardo. Laser treatments like Cellulaze can treat enlarged fat cells, thin skin  and brittle and inflexible fibrous septae, and results can be maintained via topical treatments, a healthy and balanced diet and exercising.

A body contouring treatment that uses light and radio energy to shape, smooth and remove excess fat. “The treatment uses a combination of radio frequency waves and infrared light energy paired with vacuum and mechanical message that increase lymphatic drainage and the metabolism of stored energy while reducing the size of fat cells and chambers,” says Dr. Flashner.

VelaShape has been cleared by the FDA to reduce the appearance of cellulite, reduction of circumference, and improvement of blood circulation.

It’s a laser device that is placed under the skin and the fat is melted and sucked out. Because of the heat, the skin tightens in that area of the body. You’re awake during the entire procedure and the area that is done is numbed with a solution prior to placing the laser under the skin. “We have performed over 4,000 of these procedures and it is amazing!” says Dr. Jerry Darm of Aesthetic Medicine.

“This stretches the connective tissues to increase the circulation, therefore helping to decrease the fat cells, and it also serves as a great lymphatic drainage massage which also help ‘depuff’ the fat cells, giving you a smoother appearance,” says Maria Rianna at White Tea Med Spa.

Read more: 15 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism without Exercise