How effective are these fat dissolving treatments?

10 October, 2023 / words by Kelle Salle

Many people have been led to believe that they can lose weight in a specific area, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, multiple studies have proven that fat cannot be spot reduced, including one where 24 people completed ab exercises for six weeks and found no reduction in belly fat. To effectively lose fat, you’ll have to burn more calories than you eat. If you are looking for a quick fix, then there are treatments that can help dissolve fat in certain areas.

One fat dissolving treatment that’s all over social media at the moment is Lemon Bottle. While studies have shown that fat dissolving treatments can produce results, there are some things you’ll need to consider before making a decision. We’ve asked Cosmetic Physician, Skincare Clinician and Clinical Lead at Acquisition Aesthetics Dr Emmaline Ashley to tell us everything there is to know about fat dissolving treatments.

What are fat dissolving treatments?

Fat-dissolving treatments are non-surgical cosmetic treatments that are designed to treat local fat deposits in specific areas of the body. These treatments usually involve the injection of substances like deoxycholic acid or phosphatidylcholine into the subcutaneous fat. The aim is to provide a smoother more contoured appearance without the need for invasive surgical procedures. However, it’s essential to understand that while these treatments can be effective, they are not a substitute for weight loss and are best suited for targeting specific areas of stubborn fat.

There are several different types of injections on the market including: 

Aqualyx: the most popular fat-dissolving treatment in the UK. It contains a modified form of deoxycholic acid.

DesoBody and DesoFace: contains sodium deoxycholate, which helps break down fat cells with different formulations for the face versus body.

Kybella: Kybella (also known as Belkyra) is also deoxycholic acid that has been used specifically under the chin

Celluform and Celluform Plus: the latter is a stronger version designed for more stubborn fat deposits.

It’s vitally important for anyone considering fat-dissolving injections to consult with a qualified medical clinician. 

Lemon Bottle is non-CE marked and not licensed for use in the UK. It is used in Korea and while it is a legitimate product overseas, whatever is getting imported into the UK hasn’t been safety checked. Lemon Bottle contains different chemicals than fat dissolving treatments like Aqualyx and Kybella. It seems to be really popular with non-medical beauticians because they can buy it easily online and aren’t able to get legitimate products from reputable pharmacies as they’re not medical professionals. It’s probably really important to highlight this as it’s a safety issue – there is no telling what exactly you are being injected with and I have seen some terrible complications and complaints.

What do fat dissolving treatments do?

Fat-dissolving treatments target and break down fat cells in specific areas of the body. When injected, the active ingredients in these treatments disrupt the fat cell membrane. This leads to the destruction of the fat cell which breaks apart, and is then taken up by the body’s lymphatic system and metabolised and excreted.  

Do fat dissolving treatments work? 

Fat-dissolving treatments definitely can work, and they have been shown to be effective in reducing localised fat deposits. The efficacy depends on the area being treated, the product used, and the individual patient’s response. 

How long do fat dissolving treatments take to work?

The time it takes to see results can vary between different patients. Some may notice a difference within a few weeks, while others might need a few months. This timeline is influenced by factors such as the body’s natural metabolic rate, the size of the treated area, and the amount of fat being addressed. It’s crucial to have realistic expectations and very important to consult with a qualified medical professional. They can best discuss the potential outcomes and the number of sessions required for the best results.

Are there any known side effects of fat dissolving treatments? 

Like any medical procedure, fat-dissolving treatments come with potential side effects. Common side effects include bruising, redness, skin irritation, and swelling at the injection site. Swelling can be quite severe (think double the size for a week or two!). These are typically temporary and resolve on their own, but it is important to time treatments appropriately. A rarer side effect is scarring, which, although infrequent, has been reported. Additionally, there’s always the possibility of an allergic reaction when being injected with a substance. 

What should someone consider before having the treatment?

Rare side effects to consider are things like infection, which is always possible when you break the skin barrier. More importantly, complications like nerve injury can occur, particularly with treatments in the chin or facial areas. This can result in an uneven smile or facial muscle weakness, which is usually temporary but can be distressing.

Vascular compromise can occur if the product is inadvertently injected into a blood vessel, which can then lead to skin necrosis where the tissue dies due to a lack of blood supply. It can lead to open sores and requires immediate medical attention. Otherwise, scarring and chronic pain can develop.

It’s crucial to emphasise the importance of choosing a qualified and experienced medical practitioner for any cosmetic procedure, especially for something like fat dissolving. Proper technique, knowledge of anatomy, and the use of genuine products can significantly reduce the risk of complications. 

A few things to consider…

While many individuals have reported positive outcomes with fat-dissolving treatments, it’s essential to understand that the research in this area is still evolving. More studies are needed to fully grasp the long-term efficacy and safety of fat-dissolving.

Due to the lack of regulation in the UK, you will have unscrupulous non-medical practitioners willing to cut corners with untested and unresearched products for “fat dissolving.” I have seen some terrible complications and complaints about this. Please always feel comfortable and confident in asking what you are being injected with, what the data is around it, and what the qualifications are of the person injecting you. 


Kelle Salle


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