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The Surprising Dangers of Ice Facials and Other Beauty Trends

December 4, 2021 By

What is an Ice Facial?

An “ice facial” is a new cooling skin care trend that is all over the internet and social media right now. And while you can find great tips on the internet, not all tips are created equal and some you should avoid at all costs. Ice facials fall squarely in the
avoid category.

There are 2 Different Methods to an ice Facial: 

“The Bare Cube” Method:
This technique consists of using a plain ice cube and rubbing it all over your face for as long as your skin can handle it.

using ice on face

“The Ice Bath” Method:
This technique involves filling a bowl with cold water and ice cubes and dunking your head, submerging your face in the water over and over for 20 minutes.

ice bath for face

Either method introduces extreme cold to your sensitive skin and any sliver of benefit an ice facial may give you is heavily outweighed by the risks and damage it can cause.

Do People Really Give Themselves Ice Facials?


ice facial benefitsDIY skin care is all the rage. And it’s easy to see why. Who wouldn’t want to grab something you already have in your cupboard and use it to make your skin glow? 

Most of these DIYs are touted as affordable and “natural,” to make you believe that they are harmless and couldn’t possibly damage your skin. But that’s not always the case. On the other hand, formulated skin care is just that, carefully formulated. It is specifically designed and rigorously tested to be sure that it is safe to apply on your skin. The same isn’t true for everything you have lingering in your cupboards. 

Ice is Just Water, Right? Isn’t Water Good for Your Skin? 

is good for your skin, but ice is not “just water,” it’s frozen water. And it’s important to know extreme temperatures are not good for your skin.

False Benefits of an Ice Facial

People promoting the ice facial
claim it will:
Shrink your pores
Tighten and smooth out your skin
Vanish wrinkles.
Give you a radiant complexion
Reduce puffiness

Here’s why 4 out of 5 of These “Benefits” are False: 

FALSE: An ice Facial Will Shrink Your Pores

The truth is, nothing can shrink your pores. Pores don’t physically change in size. The
appearance of pores can shrink, but ice cubes aren’t going to do it. 

FALSE: An ice Facial Will Tighten and Smooth out Your Skin

Any tightening you may feel after an ice facial is
irritation. It is not a long-term benefit, it is your skin reacting to trauma from the extreme cold. And ice facials will not smooth out your skin, the severe cold actually strips away moisture, leaving your skin prone to patchy, uneven texture

FALSE: An ice Facial Will Vanish Wrinkles

The key to vanishing the appearance of wrinkles is moisture. So it seems like the moisture from the ice cube would help, right? WRONG. As stated above, ice cubes strip your skin of moisture and that will leave your face more susceptible to developing wrinkles.

FALSE: An ice Facial Will Give you a Radiant Complexion

This is the wildest ice facial claim of them all. It is said the ice gives you a radiant complexion by constricting blood vessels and increasing blood flow. Ice will constrict your blood vessels, but that does not increase blood flow. In fact, it does the exact opposite. When blood vessels are constricted, blood flow is decreased, restricting essential nutrients from reaching your skin. Leaving you with the opposite of a radiant complexion.

TRUE (but Skin Damaging): An ice Facial Will Reduce Puffiness

Ice cubes
can reduce puffiness. That is the one claim that is accurate, but it is still so severe. There are many less damaging ways to reduce puffiness that are just as effective as an ice cube and 10 times more safe. 

Dangers of an Ice Facial

An ice cube may seem harmless, but it can do a lot of damage to your skin. It can:
Irritate  — leaving you red and itchy
Constrict blood vessels — reducing blood flow and those nutrients your skin craves
Burst a capillary — leaving a mark on your face that can only be treated with expensive lasers
Even freeze the water in your cells — damaging the molecular structures permanently!

Think of the chapped skin that comes with winter. Extreme cold leaves your skin dry, itchy, and flaky. An ice cube is not too different. Cutting off blood flow can cause lasting damage and rapidly increase the visual signs of aging. That is not the result most people are looking for with facials. 

Most people get or give themselves facials to nourish their skin, prolong youthfulness, and treat dark spots or blemishes. The ice cube facial can easily cause a blemish. A burst capillary does not go away on its own and is difficult to cover up. Your only option is to book an appointment with a dermatologist and pay for an expensive laser treatment, and even then, it is not guaranteed the mark from a burst capillary will completely disappear.

Prolonged exposure to ice and cold can lead to frostbite. Frostbite freezes the water in your cells, causing irreparable damage and potentially killing skin tissue forever. While it is unlikely that the average ice facial will cause frostbite, there is no need to risk it. The numbness that you feel during an ice facial is the first warning sign of frostbite.

Did Joan Crawford Swear by Ice Facials?

ice facials resultsJoan Crawford was
the movie star of the 1920s. She was determined to keep her good looks and youth. It is reported that she dunked her face in icy water 25 times every night, which is very possibly where this ice facial craze started. 

Knowing everything we now know about skin care and all the research and technological advancements that have been made, no one needs to be taking tips from the 1920s. 

In fact, in the 1920s, people thought radiation was the secret to the fountain of youth. Companies put Radium in everything from toothpaste to lotion. Women who used these products had health complications for years to come. So you can leave ice facials and radiated night cream in the 1920s where they belong.

What are the Alternatives to Ice Facials?

There are so many tools and products on the market that can give you the cooling effect you crave without the danger and risks that come with an ice cube facial. 

gua sha for depuffingYou can use a facial roller to soothe inflammation and reduce puffiness. Even stick the roller in the fridge for added chill (cold is ok, frozen is not). Pop your favorite sheet mask in the fridge before putting it on. Choose a gel based cooling moisturizer for a refreshing, hydrating step in your at-home routine. You can even grab a tried-and-true cucumber slice to give your eyes a soothing rest. And if you really want to attack undereye puffiness, get an under eye cream that works with your body’s natural regeneration process.

fridge for skin care products

Beauty trends come and go, some good some bad. Ice cube facials make a lot of promises and sound like a miracle cure, but they cause a lot more harm than they will ever cure. Stick to products that have been proven to work and have been specifically formulated to treat your skin, and leave the ice cubes to chill your drink.

Do you know any other wacky skin care tips? Comment the wildest you’ve heard below.

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