Applying ice to the face in the name of beauty is a common practice among celebrity facialists and K-beauty followers, but this ice-cold beauty trick is short on scientific evidence.
So is the trend truly worth trying? Read on to find out.
Ice has long been a staple of skincare wisdom. Russian Empress Catherine the Great is said to have applied ice cubes to her face, neck, and decolletage every morning to preserve her beauty (back in the 1700’s!). That proves skin icing has serious staying power as a skincare practice — ice facials remain a secret weapon for many top facialists and makeup artists today!
The most basic form of skin icing is when you use an ice cube (right from your freezer!) to reduce facial puffiness. The process can be as simple as rubbing an ice cube on your face, or it can be an all-out luxurious experience (complete with skin steaming, cooling tools, and specially formulated peels, masks, and a bevy of other skin-loving products).
Proponents of skin icing believe it can be used to:
To date, these claims are only supported by anecdotal evidence. There is no definitive research that proves ice facials can effectively address these conditions.
Still, ice facials fit the profile of many popular health fads: it’s inexpensive, easy to do, natural (non-chemically based), widely covered on the Internet, and supported by anecdotal evidence.
In fact, ice facials are closely related to another popular health trend: cryotherapy.
Applying ice to the body for health or therapeutic purposes is known as cryotherapy (which literally means “cold therapy”). It’s a growing trend at spas and wellness centers (partly because it’s popular with famous athletes and celebrities), but research on cryotherapy is mixed. The FDA has not approved any whole-body cryotherapy device as safe and effective, and the American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend whole-body cryotherapy.
Proponents of skin icing believe exposure to extremely cold temperatures can contribute to a number of health benefits. Spas, gyms, and other places that offer cryotherapy claim it can help in the following ways:
Despite these claims, cryotherapy is still a “cool” trend that lacks scientific evidence.
Step 1: Start by thoroughly cleansing your face as you normally would.
Step 2: Wrap one or two cubes in gauze or a thin washcloth (any fabric that will be gentle on your face).
Step 3: When the ice begins to melt and the cloth is damp, gently massage your face in circular motions for one to two minutes. Move the ice cubes up along the chin and jawline, up the cheeks, along the forehead and along the nose. The upward motion is meant to give your face a ‘lifting’ effect.
Step 4: Finish by applying toner and moisturizer.
Bonus Beauty Tip: How to Target Under Eye Bags
Slide ice cubes (wrapped in gauze) from the inner corners of the eye up towards the brow in a circular motion. The drainage of excess fluid should dramatically improve the appearance of dark under eye bags and puffy, tired-looking eyes.
Some advocates of natural skin remedies suggest infusing the water in your ice cubes with other skin-loving ingredients. Depending on your skin care needs, you may want to use aloe, green tea, lemon, rosewater, cucumber, or chamomile tea.