May 2024

Why Skin Icing Is the Latest Trend to Flop

‘It’s overrated and just a short-term hack’ – says leading skin expert, Isabella Loneragan

It’s the celebrity-spurred trend that has boomed in popularity since 2022 when Bella Hadid revealed that she dunks her face into a bowl of ice cubes every morning. Since then, the idea of skin icing has blown up on social media platforms.

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

Isabella Loneragan- award-winning skin and dermal therapist

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 is done too often – it can actually be very dangerous.

Essentially, it’s a form of ice therapy – almost an ice-based instant and quick facial with short-term effects that will mostly wear off within hours; so, if you’re thinking of icing your skin, it’s important that you have reasonable expectations of the results.

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.

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.

In fact, a 2021 paper by the World Journal of Clinical Cases found that some of these benefits are only supported by anecdotal evidence, and there’s no solid, definitive scientific research that indicates that skin icing can actually address such conditions. Furthermore, the research states that prolonged ice application can actually delay the start of healing and lengthen the recovery process.

“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 the face,” says Isabella.

Do not apply ice directly to your facial skin because doing so without proper insulation could cause cold burns. Always wrap the ice – always!

“You can use wrapped 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. Also, it’s best to always patch test a small area of the skin to ensure no adverse reactions.”

Skin Gym Cryo-Ice Massage Sticks, $79. Shop here. Aceology Ice Globe Facial Massager Set, $64. Shop here.

“Those with sensitive, low tolerance or fragile skin should altogether avoid at-home skin icing because it can make your face 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,” adds Isabella.

For those with sensitive skin, seeing a qualified and experienced skin therapist to find an ideal skin routine to suit your sensitive skin conditions would be a much safer option than joining the skin icing trend.

“If you can’t get to a qualified skin therapist, consider using good AI Skin Diagnostic tools such as the one on my Ragan Skin site, which works to diagnose the unique conditions of your skin and then prescribes a regimen to tackle your unique skin conditions,” states Isabella.

As always, never believe the information you see on social media. If you want to try a trend- particularly a skincare one, always consult a skincare therapist first.

Book a skin consultation or treatment with Isabella- Australia’s most advanced skin therapist here.