Stubborn Fat

Struggling with stubborn fat? Most people have an area of stubborn fat in their body that has resisted all efforts through diet and exercise and just won’t go away. These pockets of stubborn fat are usually composed of subcutaneous fat just under our skin that you can pinch.

Stubborn fat is, by definition, difficult to treat, even if you’re doing the right things. This can be especially frustrating for people who are trying to achieve specific body contours or reduce localized fat deposits. Fortunately, advancements in medical science have developed several treatments specifically designed to target and reduce stubborn fat.

What is Stubborn Fat?

The truth is, our bodies are born with a certain number of fat cells, and that number doesn’t change. We only look heavier when we gain weight because these fat cells expand with weight gain. However, there are actually many possible reasons as to why that last bit of fat isn’t coming off…and it’s not always with exercise and diet.

There is a physiological difference between stubborn fat and regular fat. This is because areas with stubborn fat actually have different receptors than normal fat cells; they have what are known as alpha receptors instead of beta receptors. These receptors are what interact with hormones known as catecholamines, which are what trigger these cells to release fat. However, the alpha receptors in the stubborn fat cells cause the fat to be released far more slowly than the beta receptors in the normal fat cells.

Types of Stubborn Fat

While you have fat all over different parts of your body, it isn’t all the same and there are certain areas that are particularly tough to target. This can make stubborn fat so frustrating for people, especially when you eat healthily and exercise regularly and can’t seem to shake it. Common areas where people often experience stubborn fat include:

  • Abdominal Fat: Stubborn fat in the abdominal area is a frequent concern for many individuals. This includes subcutaneous fat (fat beneath the skin).
  • Love Handles (Flanks): The flanks, often referred to as “love handles,” are the areas of fat located on the sides of the waist. These can be resistant to diet and exercise efforts.
  • Thigh Fat: Stubborn fat on the inner and outer thighs can make achieving a slimming effect challenging.
  • Buttock and Hip Fat: Fat accumulation in the buttocks and hips can be stubborn, especially in women, and may contribute to a pear-shaped body.
  • Back Fat: Fat on the upper and lower back, sometimes referred to as “bra fat.”
  • Arm Fat: Stubborn fat in the upper arms can lead to what some people call “bat wings” or excess skin and fat in this area.
  • Chest Fat: Men may experience stubborn fat in the chest area, which can lead to a condition called gynecomastia or “man boobs.”
  • Under-Chin Fat: Submental fat, also known as a “double chin,” can be a source of concern for many people and may be resistant to weight loss efforts.
  • Knee Fat: Fat around the knees can be challenging to reduce and can affect the contour of the legs.
  • Inner Arm Fat: Fat on the underside of the upper arms, sometimes called “bingo wings,” can be stubborn and resistant to toning exercises.

Please remember that anyone can struggle with stubborn fat due to genetics, hormones, and lifestyle factors. Additionally, some areas may be more prone to fat accumulation depending on their gender. Consulting with a qualified, board-certified Ava MD professional is crucial to assessing your specific concerns and getting the best treatment plan to address stubborn fat and your own areas of concern.

Treatments for Stubborn Fat

Self-conscious about dimpled skin or small areas of fat? Our non-surgical body contouring techniques will assist you in getting back into shape. While healthy lifestyle choices are important for fat loss and body contouring, we know other factors contribute to excess weight that make it difficult to sculpt the body without a little help. That’s where we step in. Ava MD has several treatment options available to help you find the perfect solution for those stubborn fat pockets.


CoolSculpting by Zeltiq is a clinically proven procedure approved by the FDA that literally freezes fat cells away, resulting in an average of 20% fat reduction per procedure in treated areas. After a single session, your body naturally breaks down and eliminates the crystallized fat cells from your system, enabling you to non-invasively lose fat over the next one to three months. (Beverly Hills Only).


Kybella is the first and only FDA-approved injectable treatment for chin fat. It works by using deoxycholic acid, which is a naturally occurring substance in the body that can help eliminate fat. These fat cells are then naturally absorbed and eliminated by the body. Kybella is FDA approved for use on submental fat cells underneath the chin, and has shown clear results in reducing the appearance of double chins and contouring the chin area.


EMTONE is an innovative, cutting-edge treatment that blends radiofrequency (RF) and targeted pressure together. The RF technology works by emitting a controlled heat energy deep into the skin’s layers, stimulating collagen production. This helps tighten and improve your skin’s texture and appearance. Then a gentle applicator is used to apply targeted pressure energy that delivers vibrations to the treatment area, massaging the tissue. (Available in Beverly Hills only)


EMSCULPT is the first aesthetic device to build muscle and sculpt your body. As a non-invasive treatment option, EMSCULPT goes beyond traditional approaches to body contouring by focusing on fat reduction and muscle building. As a non-invasive body sculpting treatment, improved muscle tone has been proven through MRI, CT scan, and ultrasound. Additionally, this FDA-cleared device is suitable for men and women of all ages for the strengthening, toning, and firming of the abdomen, buttocks, thighs, and arms. (Available in Beverly Hills only)

Stubborn fat can be a real challenge when it comes to achieving your desired body shape and contour, but it doesn’t have to be a permanent one.

Contact Us

Our experienced dermatology team at Ava MD is here to help you explore the best treatment options for your goals. For more information on how we can help you, contact us or call us at 310-843-9915 (Beverly Hills) or 310-828-2282 (Santa Monica) and schedule a consultation with us today.