stack of ice cubes

Not long ago, I read Victoria Beckham’s interview about her glowing-skin routine. Her top tip for reducing puffiness came from renowned facialist Melanie Grant, who told her to dunk her face into a bowl of ice water or take some ice cubes and roll them around on her face. Beckham said that this is a quick and easy way to get rid of puffiness after a long day or while on vacation. Although it sounds unusual, it seems like it has caught on.

The “skin icing” trend is huge on TikTok, with beauty lovers filming themselves grappling with slippery ice cubes in a bid to make skin glow, or storing their trusty jade roller and gua sha tools at sub-zero temperatures to bring down redness. The Nicole Caroline Luxury Ice Facial Set is particularly buzzy – supermodel Irina Shayk gushed over the ice spheres in a recent video for Vogue.

The craze is gaining momentum with celebrities such as Beckham and Shayk joining the ranks and videos that are getting thousands of likes on TikTok. Is skin icing really something you should add to your morning-to-pm skin-care routine or not?

stack of ice cubes

What is skin icing and how can you make it?

“A professional treatment for skin icing involves liquid nitrogen or dry ice being applied to the skin,” says Nicola Russell, a facialist and skin expert, better known as The Skin Geek. “At-home treatments require a tool that has been stored in the freezer.”

Mariam Adegoke is an aesthetics doctor who founded the Adegoke Wellness Clinic. She says cryo-sticks and ice globes as well as ice cubes can have a similar effect on skin areas. Dr. Adegoke explains that icing can also be used to treat injuries and reduce inflammation (redness/swelling, pain and heat) in the same manner as ice.

What are the advantages of skin icing for you?

Dr. Adegoke states that skin icing has no scientific basis and the results are largely subjective. The effects of skin icing will also be temporary and variable. The idea is that the cold temperature causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing .redness, pain, and swelling and improving the appearance of breakouts. Dr. Adegoke says that blood vessel constriction can also mean a decrease in fluid. This is especially useful for under-eye puffiness. “The gentle massaging action helps to increase .lymphatic drainage, further removing excess fluid that causes puffiness. Skin icing can also be used to decrease oil production and increase skin’s absorption.”

Eva Nydal Abildgaard is a technical product researcher at New Nordic’s health and beauty brand: “Imagine how skin icing can make you look radiant and fresh after a winter walk.” Desi Valentine, an aesthetician and founder at Skinned App says that cold treatment is your friend as it will give you a little bit of a glow.

Nydal Abildgaard states that pores don’t have the ability to open or close. However, skin icing can temporarily reduce the appearance of enlarged pores. It works in the same way as if you splashed cold water on your face after cleansing.

Is skin icing really effective?

On an instant-gratification level, it does. Every morning I wake up with a puffy, puffy face because I slept on my side or front. My nose, cheeks, and lips often feel swollen. Bad hay fever can make it take a while for my face to shrink. I’ve tried cooling gel moisturizers and invigorating cleansers with ingredients like mint and arnica (often said to aid bruising and swelling) to no avail. I chose to try the 001 Skincare Cryopress. It’s a more expensive skin-icing tool than others, but it gave me the results I wanted at $105.

This tool can be used as an ice massager. Tiny spheres of ice are suspended in the roller and freeze in a chiller. 001 Skincare advises using the Alpha Glow Flash Facial alongside the roller, but my skin doesn’t get on too well with exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acids so I used The Inkey List Symbright Moisturizer to provide enough slip. Although it took some time for my skin to adjust to the feeling of freezing cold, I found it to be quite relaxing once my skin was used to the pressure and cold. I began by focusing on my cheeks, then moved to my lips and sides. These are the areas that have the most puffiness in the morning. The instructions say that rolling up helps contour and lift, while pressing down in a specific area reduces puffiness.

My skin was glowing and radiant after a few minutes. It looked almost like I had just applied a hydrating mask to my skin. It was amazing. Although I didn’t notice any difference in my large pores it did make a significant impact on my tight jaw which is often exacerbated by stress and teeth grinding. My only complaint is the cost. I will have to incorporate the technique into my morning routine when I’m not at work. I am a lazy person so I doubt I’ll continue using it. It does help to reduce puffiness and is great for special occasions.

The Skin Geek Cryo Roller is a great, affordable option to improve skin firmness, reduce inflammation, redness, or muscle tension, when it’s rolled along the jawline. Russell calls it the “sub-zero hero”. It’s a useful gadget that applies freezing temperatures to the skin and triggers Vasoconstriction. This can cause skin to appear paler initially. This is temporary and oxygenated blood will soon return to the area. Your skin will look brighter and more youthful, which is exactly what you desire from a facial.

woman in black shirt smiling

There’s no reason to stop you from using actual ice cubes or a jade roller, but brands have taken up the skin-icing trend and created handy tools that don’t get as slippery or messy, and can be used repeatedly. Dr. Adegoke recommends Fraicheur Ice Globes – just be sure not to press too hard, as many ice globes are made from glass containing cold liquid. These ice globes glide more easily over skin when combined with moisturizers and serums.

You don’t have to spend a lot if you want to save money. Celebrity skin-care and beauty expert Nichola Joss is known for her game-changing facials. The backs of spoons can be used to cool and de-puff your skin by being kept in the freezer overnight. You can de-puff your under-eye bags with the smaller spoons.

Is there any risk of skin icing?

Valentine says that skin doesn’t mind being a little cold so it wouldn’t be difficult to put on ice. Your tool will likely adapt to your body temperature within 10 minutes. Joss warns that the roller should not be left on the same spot for too long. Joss says that skin can temporarily appear pink or flushed, but this will fade. Dr. Adegoke stresses the importance of not storing extremely cold tools in one place. She suggests that you massage the area gently and don’t hold them too long. Each area is only a short time and you should not icing more than 10 minutes.

Remember to use a tool that you like. This will make it much easier to glide the tool across delicate skin without tugging or dragging.