The Pros & Cons Of An Ice Facial
5 minutes read
Have you heard of an ice facial? If you’re prone to puffiness, inflammation, acne or lacklustre skin and haven’t yet tried one – you might want to get on board. From professional ice treatments in clinics to DIY methods at home, there’s an ice facial for every lifestyle. We spoke to Dr Tara Francis, Advanced Facial Aesthetician, as well as Emma Wedgwood, registered nurse and founder of Emma Wedgwood Aesthetic to find out how using ice as part of our skincare routine can benefit our skin.
What is an ice facial?
Also known as skin icing, an ice facial is a treatment that you can book with a skin therapist or aesthetic practitioner. It’s a cryotherapy treatment that helps people discover and experience the benefits ice can have on our skin. The process involves spraying and cooling the complexion (think: face, scalp, neck) with vaporised liquid nitrogen, promising to leave your skin tighter, brighter, defined and glowy.
Types of ice facials
Ice is used in many different kinds of facials and aesthetic treatments, with new variations appearing all the time. “Several advanced medical facials (such as ‘fire and ice’ facials and cryotherapy treatments) utilise cryo technology, while other ice-based facials focus on the motion of rolling ice across the skin to relax and revive your complexion,” explains Wedgwood. “Other medical treatments use ice in a completely different way – such as technology that works to freeze skin blemishes away, or for freezing stubborn deposits of fat under the skin,” she adds.
Benefits of an ice facial
According to Wedgwood, ice facials boast numerous skin-enhancing qualities. “Ice has been incorporated into the beauty and skincare regimes of industry experts for years. It can help banish puffiness, soothe redness, refine pores, reduce signs of ageing (such as the visibility of fine lines), boost circulation, promote lymphatic drainage in the skin and supercharge the effectiveness of skincare products on your complexion,” she adds. Ice facials are generally refreshing, relaxing and can be used to complement other facials and skin treatments.
Disadvantages of applying ice to your face
Can ice have a negative impact on our skin? According to Dr Francis, possibly. “If you have sensitive skin, or a complexion that tends to react negatively to temperature changes (think conditions such as rosacea, hyperpigmentation, chilblains, etc), you should be extremely careful when trying ice-infused facials, as they could trigger an unwanted skin reaction,” she says.
“In the case of darker skin types, exposing your skin to prolonged contact with ice can increase the risk of patches of discolouration. If you’re doing an ice facial yourself from home, be sure to use a professionally designed skincare tool rather than pure ice. These devices have been designed to control and regulate the temperature you’re exposing your skin to, as putting ice onto your skin directly and keeping it in one position for too long can damage skin cells, make skin drier and exacerbate the conditions you’re attempting to relieve,” Francis adds.
In extreme cases, you can also burn your skin with ice, which can lead to scarring. Use a professionally designed skincare tool to ice your face and be sure to keep your ice globe/roller moving and never stationary on the skin during your facial to avoid damage. You’ll also need to give your skin a little extra TLC following an ice facial to avoid causing irritation, skin damage and dryness. You shouldn’t use retinol or exfoliants (chemical or physical – especially not scrubs or brushes) for a couple of days post-ice and remember to opt for a daily regime that includes gentle cleansers, warm water and lots of SPF.
Facial ice rollers
Kitsch Ice Facial Roller, £13.50
On a budget? This inexpensive tool will allow you to reap the benefits of an ice facial without spending big bucks.
Beauty Pie Japanfusion Genius Lift Ultra-Firming Cryotherapy Set: Cryo Globes + Genius Lift Elixir, £125
The ultimate lifting and firming set for a complete DIY ice facial.
Fraicheur Paris Ice Globes, £59.99
Effective, glass facial rollers that will also look beautiful in your bathroom.
Perfect for combatting under-eye circles and puffiness, these globes provide an instant cooling effect to the skin.
Can you have an ice facial every day?
Dr Francis explains that we should be cautious when it comes to how often we use ice on our skin. “I wouldn’t recommend using ice on your face every day as you don’t want to overdo it,” she says. “Exposing your skin to ice on a daily basis can irritate it, dry it out, disrupt your skin’s natural balance and cause redness or flakiness.”
Every other day should be fine for most skin types – but if you have sensitive skin, dry skin or have a temperature reactive skin condition (like rosacea – or people with darker skin tones who find themselves prone to patches of hyperpigmentation), less is definitely more. Twice a week maximum should suffice and allow you to enjoy the benefits of ice-infused facials without causing damage to your complexion.
Can you do a DIY ice facial?
Yes! There are plenty of great at-home skincare tools readily available that you can use to enjoy DIY ice facials from the comfort of your own home. Ice globes and rollers, like the ones listed above, are the easiest and safest way to devise your own ice facial regime. Here’s how to get the most out of your DIY ice facial:
“Prep your skin before you begin – I’d recommend firstly cleansing your complexion using a gentle, hydrating product before applying moisturiser,” explains Francis. Why? Applying moisturiser to the skin before using ice-based devices helps protect its natural moisture barrier and prevent potential damage, dryness and flaking.
“For best results, glide your ice globes gently over your skin (without applying pressure or pressing down when using them) for 5-15 minutes for optimum effects. Glide your rollers in an upwards motion to lift and refine skin; tightening, firming and smoothing your complexion. Glide them downwards to encourage lymphatic drainage; reducing puffiness and redness for a glowy, defined finish. Finish your facial with a gentle moisturiser,” she explains.
Don’t forget to keep your globe or roller moving throughout the entire treatment and remember not to leave it stationary on the skin for prolonged periods of time.