Skin Icing: How This Chilly Facial Beautifies Skin

Learn the 6 Top Benefits of Icing Your Face

Ice cubes
Skin icing can improve circulation and keep blemishes away. Tetra Images/ Tetra images/ Getty Images

Skin icing has become a popular morning and evening ritual for better-looking skin. Cold therapy has been used in spas and in skin care treatments for several years and for numerous reasons, including cryotherapy (treatments using cold temperatures), to destroy fat cells (CoolSculpting), and get rid of spider veins (through Cryo 6, a new method of sclerotherapy).

Skin icing is a regular practice in the skin care routine of Korean women, who are known for their detailed beauty rituals.

Proponents of skin icing believe it can be used to:

  • Refresh the face
  • Fight the formation of wrinkles
  • Fight acne and heal blemishes
  • Promote blood circulation, thereby giving skin a healthier appearance

Skin Smoother

Skin icing helps tighten and shrink enlarged pores by helping to unclog pores that can appear larger due to debris and excess sebum. Icing tones the face, making it look smoother.

Pore Primer

Icing is an inexpensive skin toner and is great to do before applying makeup. It minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores underneath the makeup, helping foundation look smoother and flawless. Ice the face and then apply primer.

Improves Circulation

Ice is believed to improve circulation in the skin. Cold constricts the blood vessels so that less blood goes to the surface of the skin (which reduces any inflammation or swelling). The body responds by gradually sending an increased flow of warm blood to the area.

Relief for Puffy Eyes

Icing reduces puffiness under the eyes by reducing swelling.

Wrinkle Buster

Skin icing can ease the signs of wrinkles and slow the appearance of new wrinkles.

Blemish Control

Ice can help reduce swelling and the redness of pimples. It also soothes irritated skin.

Use ice cubes on blemishes at the first sign of a pimple to slow inflammation.

This can help reduce the size and number of blemishes. You can hold the ice on acne for a few seconds or until the area feels a little numb. Ice the blemishes every other night.

Another bonus of icing acne prone skin is that it actually helps antibacterial agents and topical antibiotics get into the pores.

The topical medications are more able to penetrate the skin because icing makes the skin surface more permeable. How? The cold helps reduce inflammation that has clogged the pores with swelling.

Swollen skin makes it difficult for topical creams to reach the bacteria inside the pores. By reducing the inflammation the pores will open (i.e. they will be unclogged). This also helps keep the other pores from getting clogged, thereby reducing the appearance of new blemishes.

How to "Freeze" the Appearance of Pimples

  1. Gently rub the ice cube over the affected area where the acne treatment will be applied to cool the skin.
  2. Rub the ice over the area for about two to three minutes or until the skin is wet and feels cold to the touch.
  3. Be careful to not hold the ice cube on the skin too long, which can freeze the skin.

How to Do an Ice Facial at Home

You can do a simple ice facial in the morning or evening.

Here's how:

  1. Start your ice facial by thoroughly cleansing the face.
  2. Next, wrap one or two ice cubes in a soft washcloth, gauze, or other soft cloth.
  3. When the ice begins to melt and the cloth is damp, apply to the face.
  4. Hold the washcloth on the different areas of the face for about one to two minutes.
  5. Move the ice cubes gently with circular movements up along the chin and jawline, up the cheeks and along the forehead and along the nose and take special care underneath the eyes.
  6. Complete the facial with toner, acne treatment, or moisturizer.

A Final Note About Skin Icing

  • Icing is often done without covering the ice. If you choose to do this, you’ll probably need to wear gloves (the ice will become too cold to hold for long with a bare hand).
  • Don't be concerned if using ice directly on the skin doesn't appeal to you. You'll get the same effects when holding the ice with a washcloth.
  • If you use a bare ice cube, don’t apply the ice straight from the freezer. Extreme cold can break the capillaries under the skin.
  • You also don’t want to use bare ice on the skin that already has broken capillaries or use the ice too long.
  • Stop if the cold becomes too uncomfortable. Avoid icing one area for more than 15 minutes.
  • For additional skin benefits, you can infuse the water for the ice cubes with lemon, rosewater, green tea, cucumber, chamomile tea, and other skin-loving ingredients depending on your skin care needs.