Icing your skin can reduce inflammation and help your face appear firmer. Find out how to properly ice your face at home and which tools to use.
While summer is usually the time when everyone is looking to cool off, icing your face is beneficial year-round. The DIY skin treatment isn't just easy and affordable, the results are also chilling (in a good way).
Tutorials of people using ice cubes, ice rollers, and globes have recently taken over #SkinTok, but the ritual has been used in spas (think cryotherapy, CoolSculpting, and spider vein removal) and has been a mainstay in cultures like Korea for several years.
What makes ice such an effective skincare treatment is that it reduces inflammation, redness, and helps tighten the skin.
"Icing has been popular for decades in many cultures to tighten skin, reduce redness, and reduce inflammation, which contributes to facial swelling," confirms Dr. Karan Lal, a board-certified dermatologist in New Jersey. "It's becoming popular because it's easy, cheap, and relatively safe."
Good news: Anyone can ice their skin. Dr. Lal says the treatment is safe for all skin types and tones, but to keep in mind that prolonged use can lead to inflammation of fat (panniculitis) or dyspigmentation in the skin — especially in people of color.
You can ice cubes, ice rollers, or cryo globes every day, just be sure to not leave them on your skin for prolonged periods — and don't forget to clean them. Rackley recommends wiping them down with 70% alcohol after each use.
Even better news: Icing your face delivers instant results, albeit temporary ones. However, this makes it a quick and easy treatment to do before heading to an important event.
"The use of ice rollers or ice packs works quickly and effectively at reducing swelling, pore size, and redness. However, this is a transient effect of cold therapy," Dr. Lal explains. "Redness and skin laxity will return as the skin adjusts back to normal temperatures."
The tool you use to ice your face mostly comes down to personal preference, but there isn't too much of a difference in the results they provide. "There is no difference between jade rollers (placed in the fridge) or ice rollers per se in terms of effectiveness, but ice rollers often are made of metal which can conduct cold better than jade and are more likely to cause side effects with prolonged application," Dr. Lal says.
Rackley suggests starting with clean, hydrated skin. "Then, use the cold roller over skin starting from the center of the face and rolling out to the perimeter," she says. "This is a great lymphatic drainage moment."
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"After you have calmed and cooled the skin with your ice roller or cool globe, you'll want to top it off with any serum or moisturizer that is hydrating, healing, or plumping to give the skin a nice glow," Rackley says.
As for what products to avoid, Dr. Lal cautions against using any acids post-icing session since your pores will be closed and this could lead to irritation.
And if you're icing your face in the morning, you can apply makeup afterward. In fact, the treatment can make your makeup look better. "It's the perfect time to follow up with your makeup as your pores will appear smaller and your skin will look and feel firmer, so your makeup will lay better," says Rackley."
Just keep in mind that icing your face produces very temporary results. "This is not a long-term solution for treating skin issues and seeking care from a dermatologist is necessary to address these issues in a more permanent fashion," Dr. Lal says.