The Basics of Fat: Development, Distribution, and Types

Men and women in the Charleston area seeking CoolSculpting® treatments can rely on Germain Dermatology for personalized care throughout each step of the process. As you may be aware, CoolSculpting® is a fat-reduction method designed to target and kill fat cells. It does this by reducing temperatures in targeted tissue to crystalize excess deposits of unwanted fat and mark these temperature-sensitive cells for elimination without affecting the surrounding skin and tissue.

Fat—its excess, loss, and appearance—has been the subject of societal fascination for decades, especially as the health risks associated with obesity have become better known. While CoolSculpting® and related treatments are not intended to impact weight or health, the number of people who use cosmetic techniques to change the contours of their body has risen steadily in recent years.

But what, really, are fat cells and what is their function in the human body?

In the third trimester of pregnancy, a fetus begins to acquire fat cells. These contribute to the chubby, rounded look of babies and early childhood. Throughout puberty, each person gains a set number of fat cells, and the way these are stored and distributed varies from person to person. Once in place, a person’s fat distribution doesn’t change much during adulthood.

Cells containing fat, otherwise known as adipocytes, are connective tissues that are found under the skin, on top of the kidneys, in the liver, around the heart, and elsewhere. They are highly active cells that control the body’s energy balance, support the immune system, regulate metabolism by releasing certain hormones, and act as a cushioning layer. Each cell is a small sphere that mostly consists of triglycerides—a type of lipid.

Fat in the body can be categorized into four main types: brown, white, subcutaneous, and visceral. Brown fat “burns” calories and white fat droplets to create heat when it is exposed to cold. White fat is more abundant and serves as the body’s largest fuel reserve, supporting internal and physical activities. An excess of deep visceral fat, which wraps around the internal organs, is associated with health risks. Subcutaneous fat is located directly beneath the skin and used to determine overall body fat.

CoolSculpting® targets the subcutaneous fat, where changes in volume are especially visible.

Have questions or concerns about fat and CoolSculpting® in Charleston? Find out more about your cosmetic options and work with a provider to develop a customized treatment plan. Call Germain Dermatology at 1-844-SC-CHILL or fill out a contact form online.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *