Health messages are directed at those who are at risk of incurring adverse consequences. However, previous experiments have found that people process personally relevant health messages in a biased, defensive manner. We examine the role of elaboration as a mechanism to encourage less biased processing of personally relevant health appeals. Results demonstrate that high-relevance consumers freeze on the threatening information, leading to lower change appraisal (perceived severity, self-efficacy, and response efficacy) and decreased message persuasion. For these individuals, renewed elaboration on the consequences of caffeine (Experiment 1) and olestra (Experiment 2) consumption reduces defensive processing. This elaboration “unfreezes” message processing, leading to greater change appraisal and increased persuasion. These experiments provide guidelines for practitioners to design more effective messages.