Body Contouring Modalities

Body Contouring Modalities

Article by Maggie Staszcuk
This article appears in the September | October 2021 issue of ASCP Skin Deep magazine

Skin Deep Magazine - Body Contouring Modalities. close up of esthetician performing ultrasound cavitationIt can be argued that body contouring and skin tightening are the fastest-growing noninvasive esthetic procedures on the market and are emerging as the go-to gold standard for clients who want to look good without surgery. Here, we review a variety of treatments to slenderize and reduce unwanted fat.


Radio frequency is one type of energy often used for toning and tightening the skin. It does not affect melanin, so it can be used on all Fitzpatrick skin types. It can also be used on areas of the body that are difficult to target with other body slimming devices. Radio frequency microneedling can be used on the knees, upper arms, upper back (bra bulge), and other parts of the body where slack skin and fat pockets occur. Radio frequency uses alternating currents of radio waves—a thermal-based energy that noninvasively penetrates the skin. This thermal energy works to encourage new collagen formation (the protein that prevents laxity) by heating the outer layers of the skin to boost the collagen and elastin fibers.1 Radio frequency is often combined with microneedling for enhanced tightening of the face. This treatment is ideal for clients with slightly loose skin and will take up to three months or more to see improvement. Unlike surgical procedures, which are one-and-done, this treatment may require a series to get the best results.


An alternative to radio frequency skin tightening and fat reduction is focused ultrasound. Depending on the type of ultrasound device you use, this energy type can tone and tighten the skin through the use of heat or pressure. High-intensity focused ultrasound and microfocused ultrasound treatments heat the cells responsible for the production of collagen and elastin fibers. And, similar to a magnifying glass focusing sunlight, ultrasound works by rapidly heating the targeted tissue to 65–70 degrees Celsius,2 and focuses this heat to a depth of 1.5 mm–5 mm within the reticular layer of the dermis where fibroblasts—the cells responsible for collagen and elastin production—are found.3 The above papillary and epidermal layers are spared. Ultrasound cavitation is the destruction of fat cells through the use of focused, pulsed ultrasound energy. This treatment destroys the walls of fat cells by causing them to implode and turn into a fatty acid. This fatty acid is filtered through the liver and eliminated by the body over time.4


Cryolipolysis (or fat freezing) is a noninvasive procedure that involves the cooling of body fat to break down fat cells. And since adipose tissue is more responsive to temperature changes than skin, the frozen fat cells break down and leave the skin unharmed. This treatment is suited for clients who are within 25 percent of their ideal body weight and are exercising and eating healthily.5 Most will experience a reduction in inches, not a reduction in weight.


ASCP Skin Deep magazine, Esty of the Year issue 2021ASCP Skin Deep magazine

The award-winning ASCP Skin Deep magazine is the premier estheticians' source for the latest trends, techniques, products, and news from the biggest names in the industry. In this issue:
Extract Like a Pro: A protocol to alleviate clogged pores and congested skin
A Flawless Face: A protocol to treat hyperpigmentation in high Fitzpatrick skin
     • Smooth As Silk: A protocol to diminish the appearance of cellulite


Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance for body contouring protects you in case a client sues. ASCP members have access to optional body contouring insurance and other advanced modalities like microneedling, permanent makeup, and laser services. More information about body contouring insurance and advanced esthetics coverage that protects you and your esthetics practice, including the steps for applying, visit Pricing for body contouring insurance ranges from $672 - $792 for the year, and you can bundle that coverage with other advanced modalities to save more.



1. Emily Taylor, “4 Doctor-Approved Ways to Tighten and Tone Loose Skin,” New Beauty, April 28, 2020,
2. Sabrina Guillen Fabi, “Noninvasive Skin Tightening: Focus on New Ultrasound Techniques,” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 8 (February 2015): 47–52,
3. Candela, “UltraShape,” accessed June 2021, product/ultrashape.
4. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, “Cryolipolysis,” accessed June 2021, Taylor, “4 Doctor-Approved Ways to Tightening and Tone Loose Skin,” New Beauty, accessed February 2021,
6. Erica Gorza, “The Top 5 Benefits of Thermal Shock/Cryo Generation,” accessed June 2021,
7. Erica Gorza, “The Top 5 Benefits of Thermal Shock/Cryo Generation.”
8., “Everything You Need to Know About Offering Ultrasonic Skin Therapy in Your Esthetics Practice,” accessed June 2021, ultrasonic-skin-therapy."
9. Ultherapy, accessed June 2021,
10. Candela, “UltraShape.”
11. CoolSculpting, accessed June 2021,