San Francisco Dermatologists Now Offering Popular Cryotherapy

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Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology is the only practice to offer whole-body cryotherapy in San Francisco.

Whole-body cryotherapy is available in San Francisco only at Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology, founded by Dr. Kathleen M. Welsh.

Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology ( is the first practice to offer popular whole-body cryotherapy treatments in San Francisco.

"Whole-body cryotherapy is an invigorating treatment that can trigger the release of endorphins," says Dr. Kathleen M. Welsh, practice founder and board-certified dermatologist trained at Stanford and Harvard. "It creates an overall sense of well-being that can last several days. It's a feel-good treatment."

During whole-body cryotherapy treatments, a person stands in a single-person chamber that looks similar to a spray-tan booth, wearing gloves, socks, and slippers to protect extremities from the extreme cold, which is created by nitrogen gas. The person's head is above the level of the nitrogen vapors and he or she can breathe normally. The entire procedure takes about 3 minutes.

The concept of using low temperatures for medical purposes isn't new. Anyone who has had a skin growth such as a wart "frozen off" underwent cryotherapy. But whole-body cryotherapy represents a technological breakthrough that can reduce inflammation and ramp up the body's metabolism, resulting in burning up to 500 to 800 calories during a brief cryotherapy treatment, says the dermatologist.

San Francisco residents who may have read or heard recently about whole-body cryotherapy can only find the treatment in the city at Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology, the practice Dr. Welsh established in 2000.

"I pride myself on remaining at the forefront of practices offering advanced, nonsurgical treatments that provide proven benefits to our patients," Dr. Welsh says. "For example, we were among the first practices to offer Ultherapy® in San Francisco as a nonsurgical facelift alternative."

Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology charges $65 for whole-body cryotherapy treatments, which have been popular among professional athletes for years. The practice also offers unlimited cryotherapy sessions for $699 per month. There isn't a specific number of recommended treatments, but some people schedule treatment sessions at regular intervals.

Dr. Andrea M. Hui, another board-certified dermatologist at the practice, says she expects the cryotherapy treatments to have broad appeal.

"Whole-body cryotherapy isn't just for athletes or people training for a demanding physical event," Dr. Hui says. "Just as icing can decrease discomfort caused by joint disorders such as rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, cryotherapy's anti-inflammatory effects can help enhance a person's comfort."

It's not just for those dealing with uncomfortable conditions, though, she says: "It is great for anyone who wants to feel a rush of endorphins and feel invigorated. And it's so convenient, with sessions taking just a few minutes. It's a great addition to our practice, and I know our patients will love how it makes them feel."


Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology ( was founded in 2000 by Dr. Kathleen M. Welsh, board certified in both dermatology and internal medicine. Dr. Welsh earned her medical degree from Harvard University, and she completed an internal medicine residency at the University of San Francisco School of Medicine and a dermatology residency at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is an Allergan Black Diamond provider, a rare designation she earned based on her extensive experience providing cosmetic injectable treatments. Dr. Andrea Hui, a board-certified dermatologist, joined the practice in 2014. In addition to cosmetic services, Dr. Hui specializes in diagnosing and treating skin cancers. She completed advanced Mohs micrographic surgery training after graduating at the top of her medical school class at the University of Illinois.

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Marissa Korbel
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