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ice cubes
Photo: Vika Wendish/Unsplash

It’s the celebrity-spurred trend that has boomed in popularity since supermodel Bella Hadid revealed she dunks her face into a bowl of ice cubes every morning.

Jennifer Aniston and Kate Moss are also reportedly fans of the chilly facial treatment, and Linda Evangelista has said that before every shoot, she rubs ice under her eyes.

Even famous Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe were known to prep their skin with a nice ice bath…. but does skin icing actually have any significant benefits? “No – skin icing isn’t necessarily ‘bad’ for your skin and it does have many suggested values, but as to whether it holds huge benefits for your skin, my answer would be no – its benefits certainly aren’t too significant in the long-term,” says award-winning skin and dermal therapist, Isabella Loneragan. “Somewhat similar to the Korean beauty technique called Jamsu, skin icing is a short-term hack that’s probably overrated.

"Also, and importantly, if it’s not done correctly – or it done too often – it can actually be very dangerous.

“I strongly recommend against skin icing too often. It can cause vasoconstriction and lead to vasodilation because the extreme coldness can seal-up your vessels which then runs the risk of creating burst blood vessels on face. “Do not apply ice directly to your facial skin because doing so without proper insulation could cause cold burns. Always wrap the ice – always!." Isabella, the creator of Ragan Skin, said essentially, skin icing was a form of ice therapy – almost an ice-based instant and quick facial with short-term effects that will mostly wear-off within hours. “It can be done at home and the basic premise of skin icing is that exposing your skin to an extremely cold temperature for a few minutes will – apparently – help with reducing puffiness, swelling, redness and bruising, as well as helping with tightening and decreasing oiliness," she said. “Skin icing is also said to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and some sources claim that it can reverse the ageing process but this is simply untrue."

Isabella Loneragan.
Isabella Loneragan.

Isabella said a 2021 paper by the World Journal of Clinical Cases found that some of these benefits were only supported by anecdotal evidence, and there was no solid, definitive scientific research that indicated skin icing could actually address conditions such as bruising.

Furthermore, the research states that prolonged ice application can actually delay the start of healing and lengthen the recovery process. “You can use ice cubes or ice packs but my recommendation is to instead opt for a cool facial cloth or specially designed accessories like ice globes, derma rollers or cyro sticks to elevate your home remedy.," Isabella said.

"Also, it’s best to always patch test a small area of the skin to ensure no adverse reactions. “Those with sensitive, low tolerance or fragile skin should altogether avoid at-home skin icing because it can make your face go red, itchy and irritable.

"Those with eczema-prone skin should also avoid it because it can worsen the eczema and those with cardiovascular issues, diabetes and peripheral vascular diseases who may already have poor circulation should avoid it too,” Isabella said.



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