Skin Icing – Hey, Hi, That Viral Ice Facial Hack is Ruining Your Skin Health

Why are people still putting ice on their skin?

Oh yeah, articles come out daily supporting its alleged benefits.

ice cubes for ice facial
Photo by Vika Wendish

People who have no knowledge, background, or scientific support are telling people that icing their skin is the secret to amazing skin.

Articles are popping up claiming ice on the skin will give you a glowing complexion, reduce signs of aging, reduce inflammation and even remove toxins from the skin.

Well, let’s fact-check these claims. 

Keep reading to find out facts from fiction, and learn exactly why ice on the skin does, what the benefits are, and what the risks are today.

Why Skin Health is Important

The role of the skin is to protect and support us.

In our journey to do so, misinformation may pop up that does more harm than good.

Icing the face is one of those.

5 Truths Behind the Ice Facial Myth

Here are five (+1) true facts about ice and what putting ice directly on the skin can do.

Ice Will Not Shrink Your Pores

There is actually nothing that will change the size of your pores. This is something that is genetic and will not change.

Ice might momentarily change the appearance of your pores, but it does not last and this ‘tightening’ is not good for your skin health.

Ice Will Not Smooth Wrinkles

That tightening feeling you experience after an ice facial is not an increase in collagen or magically removed wrinkles.

It is due to your skin’s reaction to extreme cold temperatures.

This extreme cold will actually strip the skin of moisture and oil, which leads to that tight feeling.

This can make your skin sensitive and irritated.

Ice Does Not Increase Circulation

Any sort of massage on the face may increase circulation. That may be part of the reason some claim ice facials increase circulation.

The problem?

Ice will constrict the blood vessels in your face, which reduces blood flow and decreases the oxygenation and nutrients of the skin.

Ice Damages Capillaries

Intense ice on the face can damage capillaries. 

Worst case scenario, they burst and leave your face with marks that can only be removed by laser treatments.

Ice Dehydrates Skin

Think about how your skin feels in the winter, and how it can become dry, flaky, and itchy. 

Now think about direct ice on your skin. An ice cube is not far off.

Pure ice on the skin will not moisturize or help the skin. In fact, it strips the skin of essential oils and moisture.

This can disrupt the skin barrier, actually causing more problems, like acne outbreaks and sensitivity.

And an Extra Truth for Good Luck

There is no Clinical Research Supporting Any Ice Claims

There is absolutely no clinical research that any of the claims of ice facials are true.

That’s right. Everything about the ice trend is word of mouth, anecdotal stories that have to proof.

So Are There Benefits of Ice?

Sure. Cryotherapy, used on the body, can help reduce inflammation.

If you have sore muscles after a workout, ice can be good. But ice should never be applied directly to the skin.

Some cold temperatures on the skin can be good at reducing inflammation and puffiness, but ice cannot be directly on the skin. Using a cold towel is safer with better results.

Safer Alternatives to Ice

Ice is a temporary, harmful solution. Any reduction in puffiness or inflammation is finite.

Instead, look for products with actives that can help treat your skin concerns in the long run.

Niacinamide is a great ingredient to help reduce redness and inflammation.

Oat extract is a calming ingredient.

Any product with caffeine can help depuff the skin and restore a plump look.

Check out a list of actives and what they treat here.

And remember, glowing skin comes from a good skincare routine with safe ingredients, and solid basics, like a gentle cleanser, a good moisturizer, and SPF.

The Takeaway

Icing the face is actually dangerous and does not give the benefits you think it does.

If you want to reduce inflammation and puffiness, there are better ways to do so that do not include extreme cold temperatures.

While cryotherapy can have some benefits, it is not intended for facial use.

There are better, safer ways to get the alleged benefits of ice without risking damage to the skin.

Skincare should be fun, without dangerous misinformation circulating!

Remember to do your due diligence, and research ‘hacks’ or ‘tips’ before trying them out!

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