Move over, gua sha and jade rollers — the hottest, new skincare trend is, well, ice.
Using cold as a therapy to treat inflammation by way of ice baths has been touted by fitness gurus and celebrities alike, as cold plunges rapidly gained popularity last year. Even Jennifer Aniston splashes ice water on her face every day, she dished to Allure last fall.
Ice facials, though, are beginning to rise to the top, with the hashtag scoring more than 700 million views on TikTok, where users gush that the ice-cold technique curbs acne and sculpts their swollen faces in the morning.
“At its most basic form, it involves gently rubbing ice or an ice rolling tool over your face in a circular motion as part of your daily skincare regimen,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, who is also a Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue, told Vogue.
The routine is likely gaining popularity due to its ease, affordability and supposed benefits that can be obtained in the comfort of your own home, she added.
While the skincare method is said to reduce redness, puffiness, fine lines, acne and more, experts are divided over how long the benefits last.
Aesthetic nurse practitioner Chris Bustamante, the founder of New York’s Lushful Aesthetics, told HuffPost that the cold constricts the blood vessels, which means “redness is reduced and pores look minimized.”
However, the effects are usually temporary, wearing off after just a few hours.
There’s also the question of safety — exposure to the cold can cause skin conditions to flare up, and icing for too long can actually damage the skin. Not to mention that those with sensitive skin might find the sensation uncomfortable rather than soothing.
If bare skin is exposed to ice for more than 15 minutes, beauty chasers risk developing an ice burn or frostbite, according to HuffPost.
Those with rosacea could even see more redness post-ice facial, and the treatment could aggravate the symptoms of skin conditions that are triggered by cold temperatures, like chilblains or Raynaud’s syndrome.
Experts also warned that those with autoimmune disorders should consult their healthcare provider as they could be more susceptible to the cold.
While there’s no “right” way to go about icing your complexion, cleanliness is clean regardless of whether you dunk your face in a bowl of ice water or use a tool, such as an ice roller. Bustamante recommends starting with a cleansed face, washing reusable products and using filtered or distilled water.
Engelman, however, warned against applying an ice cube directly to the face, as the freezing temperature could potentially damage the skin barrier and have the opposite effect desired.
After partaking in an ice facial, experts encourage following with a full skincare routine, or at least moisturizer. Bustamante, for one, prefers a lotion with humectants, like glycerin, which will “lock in moisture so your skin doesn’t dry out.”
But if your skin has an adverse reaction, don’t sacrifice comfort in pursuit of youth, experts say.
“It’s important to listen to your skin, and if one experiences discomfort or negative reactions discontinue application immediately,” Bustamante noted.