Dermatologists have long used cold-based therapeutic approaches for a variety of applications. Based on the differences in chemical composition, it is possible to selectively target certain tissues rich with lipid, while sparing the surrounding tissue predominantly containing water. With historical observations of cold-induced panniculitis suggesting the feasibility of this strategy, cryolipolysis has emerged as a new methodology using controlled cooling to selectively target fat. Both preclinical and clinical studies have established the safety and efficacy of cryolipolysis for noninvasive body contouring. This review will focus on the evolution of cryolipolysis from initial case reports of cold-induced panniculitis, to preclinical and clinical studies, and the current clinical practice.