Skin Icing: Why Freezing Your Face Could Be The Answer To Radian​​​t Skin

Skin icing is known to be one of the simplest, easiest, and quickest ways to rejuvenate the skin. Furthermore, freezing your skin the correct way can bring out your inner beauty and glow naturally. This is why some spas and skin care centres have been focusing on cold therapy or cryotherapy these days.

So. check out what skin icing is, how the cool trend can benefit your skin, and its types as well.

woman holding ice cubes to her skin.

What is Skin Icing?

Skin icing, as the name clearly suggests, is a simple skincare practice in which ice is massaged or rubbed on the skin for a short span of time.

The root of the concept lies in the increasingly popular trend of alternative healing called cryotherapy, which mostly targets the entire body rather than just the facial skin. The non-medical treatment claims to enhance both physical and mental health of people with extreme cold (freezing or near-freezing) temperatures.

In particular, it involves having an ice bath or using liquid nitrogen on the skin by sitting in a cryotherapy chamber. Although it is typically practised in spas and similar settings, doctors have also been using it for preventing, as well as treating, a number of ailments. However, skin icing or ice cube facial is known to be the most popular form of this remedial measure.

pictured is a type of cryotherapy chamber, used for skin icing.
A known type of Cryotherapy Chamber which is used for full-body treatments.

The skincare trend mostly prevalent in Korea has now become a twice-a-day ritual for millions of beauties across the world. All you need to do is massage your face gently with a few ice cubes or submerge it into a sink full of ice and water.

The cold compress boosts the flow of blood to the skin and constricts the pores, thereby giving you a healthy and refreshing glow with a tighter and smoother look.

Suggested Article: Radiant Skin: Makeup and Skincare Tips for Luminous, Glowing Skin Inside Out.

What are the benefits of Skin Icing?

It Gives the Skin Natural and Healthy Glow

At first, the cold compress constricts the blood capillaries and lowers the flow of blood to the skin. But soon the iced part starts responding to the treatment by sending more warm blood to that area. This promotes circulation throughout the skin dramatically, thereby clearing up toxins, reducing dullness, and invigorating the complexion. 

Reduces Inflammation and Swelling

Cryotherapy, in any of its form, can be used to treat inflammation, swelling, and pain. Hence, skin icing can work as a quick remedy for rosacea, insect bites, stings, heat rashes, allergies, etc.

Where it constricts blood vessels under the skin immediately it then brings down inflammation to a large extent. Additionally, it also decreases the pressure of the liquid content against the affected part of the skin, which eases swelling and pain.

Minimises Large Pores and Oiliness

If your face is oil slick with visibly large pores, the cold therapy will come to your rescue. 

As it increases the flow of blood in the skin, the pores get decongested and much smaller in size. However, using this diminishes the production of excess natural oils and helps you get rid of an oil-smeared look.

Keeps Breakouts and Blemishes Away

Icing opens up your skin pores and helps to keep them gunk-free.

As the dirt, dust, excess oil, and acne-causing bacteria are unable to accumulate in them, you can steer clear of pestering breakouts as well as blemishes. Interestingly, if you already have angry acne or pimples on your face, chill them with ice cube spot-on treatments. This will not only clear them out but also decrease the number of blemishes.

Beats Heat and Relieves Sunburns

Nothing is better than a cold face mask to beat the heat and soothe the sunburns, especially in the hot and humid summer months when the rays of the sun are the harshest.

By applying ice cubes to the area they can cool down the skin, eliminate any redness, and give you relief from the painful sunburns quite quickly and effectively.

Suggested Article: Sunburnt Skin: How to Cover Sunburn with Makeup

Banishes Puffiness and Dark Circles

Ice cubes are a wonderful cure for your tired and puffy eyes. They counteract swelling by preventing excessive fluid build-ups under the eyes. Additionally, massaging ice also brightens the entire eye by eliminating dark circles.

close up of two people, one eye each, with slight under eye darkness.

Suggested Article: How to Banish Eye Bags and Dark Circles Naturally.

Eradicates Premature Signs of Aging

When it comes to fixing the signs of premature ageing, resorting to the cold therapy becomes really helpful. Not only does it keep you looking more youthful by fading out the existing wrinkles but it also limits the chances of new lines or age spots cropping up. Additionally, you get a firmer and tighter skin over time.

Suggested Article: Skin Tightening Treatments for Ageing Skin That Really Work.

Ensures Better Product Absorption

Icing makes the surface layer of the skin more permeable by lessening inflammation and unclogging pores. In particular, this ensures that topical creams and medications penetrate deep into the skin.

Creates Flawless Makeup Looks

Create a flawless base by rubbing an ice cube all over your face right before applying your makeup. Doing so can act just like a natural primer, which rejuvenates the skin, imparts radiance to it, and, in particular, makes the makeup last for a longer period of time.

woman applying face cream with brush.

Different Types of Skin Icing Treatments

While the whole-body cryotherapy is all about using liquid nitrogen on the skin for treating pain and several other health conditions, skin icing is mostly limited to the improvement of our facial skin. Importantly, the treatment can still be divided into the following few categories.

Ice Cubes

This is the easiest option in which you simply hold one or more ice cubes on your face and massage directly for a few minutes. It is also known as the ice cube facial, which can be done anytime, anywhere for both spot treatment and full-face treatment.

skin icing: woman smiling and holding ice cubes against her face.

Ice-Cold Water

In this form of cold therapy, you take a large bowl filled with ice-cold water or just fill a clean sink with lots of water and some ice cubes. If dipping your face fully in it for 10-30 seconds does not feel intense, you may need to add some more ice to it.

Opting for Ice Pack

For this treatment, you need a bag full of ice that can be used as a cold compressAlternatively, you can wrap some ice cubes in a clean thin cloth and apply it as a cold face mask.

Suggested Article: Make Your Own Natural DIY Face Masks for Every Skin Type.

How to Practice Skin Icing at Home

It is actually pretty simple to give yourself an ice cube facial at home as long as you have an ice-filled tray handy. Keep reading as we show you how to do this effectively.

Choose Your Time

Start with deciding on the right time for the treatment.

Morning is always the best choice for this kind of cold compress as it allows your skin to release toxins after the night-long detoxification. In addition, it creates a perfectly primed face for a smooth makeup application.

Note: Importantly, icing for treating specific areas of the face should be done at night only.

woman applying her skincare at night time.

Suggested Article: Prep Acne Prone Skin for a Long Day of Makeup.

Get Your Face Ready

Cleanse your facial skin thoroughly before you start your cold therapyFor a morning icing routine, your go-to cleanser will perform great. Splash cold water for rinsing the cleansed face and pat it dry with a soft towel or washcloth.

Note: If you need to ice your face for the night, try to go for oil cleansing.

Prepare Your Ice

Take a soft piece of cloth and wrap 2-3 ice cubes in it. Roll the ends of the cloth as per your convenience and wait for a minute so that the ice starts melting a bit and the cloth gets a little wet.

Ice Your Face

Begin icing your face by gliding the wrapped ice cubes over it. You need to rub the ice gently for at least 2-3 minutes to cover the entire area of the face.

Importantly note: You should skip the eye area as it is incredibly delicate.

Make sure that you follow small circular motion in a single direction only. Let the ice rest on each part of the skin for a couple of minutes. Additionally, take special care of bumps, acne, etc. by concentrating on them for a few seconds and freezing their appearance. Once the face feels cold enough to touch, pat it dry with a soft washcloth.

Tip: Either practice it over the sink or hold a tissue underneath your chin to catch the water droplets dripping from your face.

mature woman applying anti-ageing product to face.

Apply Your Skincare Products

Finish the procedure off with your regular skincare products in order to make the most of your cold face maskYou can use a toner or rosewater spray as an acne treatment for oily and acne-prone skin whilst a dry skin will need a rich cream or moisturiser.

Suggested Article: Create an all-natural Skincare Routine with Home Ingredients.

Beneficial Ingredients to add to your Ice Facial

Want to up your ice cube facial game? Just replace the plain ice cubes with the ones blended with skin-friendly ingredients. This, in particular, will give you clearer and brighter skin with an added freshness factor.

Green Tea

Freshly brewed green tea can boost the results of cold therapy by helping in reducing inflammation and eliminating under-eye bags. Being rich in antioxidants, it can also impart strong anti-ageing benefits to the skin.

white cup and teapot, which is pouring clear liquid into the mug with a lemon slice.


A coffee cold compress can awaken your tired eyes and revive your weary skin almost immediately. Its caffeine content keeps swelling at bay with great constrictive properties.

Suggested Article: DIY Coffee Scrub: 11 Coffee Skincare Recipes for Smooth Skin

Aloe Vera

When used in a cold face mask, the calming and soothing aloe vera works wonders. It is particularly beneficial for a sunburnt skin and creates a lasting cooling effect.


If aloe is not readily available, cucumber can be a great alternative to it. The incredibly cooling and soothing nature of the ingredient will increase the impacts of your ice cube facial by almost ten times!


Add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to your ice tray for getting rid of oily skin and pimples. Interestingly, lemon comes packed with vitamin C, which fights against freckles, dark spots, and premature ageing.

used lemons in a white bowl next to fresh whole lemons on a white background
When life gives you lemons…


The antibacterial properties of rosewater will help you prepare some acne-busting ice cubes easily. It will also hydrate, tone, and freshen up your skin along with helping it deal with stubborn marks and signs of ageing.


Exfoliate your skin naturally with a milk ice cube. The lactic acid present in the ingredient will slough off the layer of dead cells from the surface of your skin and bring out its natural radiance.

What Precautions Should You Take Before Skin Icing?

Can’t wait to try this simple version of cryotherapy at home for gorgeous skin? Apart from knowing the ice cube facial tricks, you should also know about the necessary precautions.

Maintain Hygiene

Cleansing your face is a must before starting the procedure.

At the same time, ensure that your ice tray is also clean enough to prevent the cubes from catching germs. You may like to keep a separated tray for this purpose.

a woman cleansing her face with foam cleanser

Avoid Direct Applications

Avoid applying the ice cubes directly to your skin straight from the freezer. Doing so will damage the blood capillaries underneath your skin. Rather you should wait a while before wrapping the ice in a thin fabric and then, use the cold compress against your skin.

Consider Skin Conditions

This cold therapy is not recommended if you have a fragile skin with broken or damaged capillaries. It is also not ideal for a skin that is too dry or too sensitive.

Focus On Timings

Never ever ice your skin for longer than 15 minutes in one go. Be sure to stop even earlier if your skin feels numb or very uncomfortable.

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