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.