Comfort in the cold: the positive effects – and limits – of ice therapy – Style

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Comfort in the cold: the positive effects – and limits – of ice therapy – Style

The therapeutic use of cold has centuries-old roots, but recent innovations and celebrity endorsements have propelled these freezing practices into the spotlight. From the uplifting effect of a cold bath to the soothing touch of an icy facial roller, the range of treatments is as wide as it is intriguing.

This surge in popularity owes much to high-profile advocates like Jennifer Aniston, Daniel Craig, Alicia Keys, Jessica Alba, and Demi Moore — celebrities who have openly spoken about their positive experiences and the benefits they’ve apparently noticed.

But can immersing yourself in cold water or applying an ice facial really transform skin and health, or are there limits to their effectiveness? With the wide assortment of cold-based beauty treatments available, from luxury skincare lines to DIY icing techniques, navigating this trend can be overwhelming.

Wim “the iceman” Hof

When we expose our body to cold, physiological reactions are triggered. “Initially, exposure to cold triggers vasoconstriction, a reflex by which blood vessels contract to preserve heat and maintain body temperature,” explains Keiko Negishi, esthetician and skin therapist at FILD Studio. “This effect is especially noticeable on the skin and extremities, which may begin to feel numb or less sensitive as blood flow is redirected to protect vital organs.”

This abrupt change often leads to a feeling of tightness in the skin, which can reduce inflammation and swelling by minimizing blood flow to the affected areas.

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Over the past decade, various methods have championed the use of cold for well-being, but the Wim Hof ​​method stands out as the definitive reference. Founded by Wim Hof, also known as “The Iceman,” this method combines deliberate exposure to cold with specific breathing techniques and meditation. Its core belief is that regular, conscious engagement with the cold can profoundly improve health, vitality and well-being, providing benefits such as improved immune function, increased energy, better stress management and greater endurance. Hof’s method has not only intrigued the wellness community, but also sparked scientific interest, beginning to validate some of his impressive claims.

SkinGym Cryo Globes

The appeal of cold treatments is vast, from the exciting adventure of cryotherapy chambers to ice facials. Experts point out that cold dives, which involve immersing yourself in icy water, offer both immediate sensory awakening and profound health benefits.

“Cold shock improves circulation, helping the body warm up, thereby improving blood flow and nutrient delivery to the skin,” says Negishi. This increase in circulation is essential for achieving a healthier, more radiant complexion by helping to eliminate toxins and reduce inflammation.

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Moving from total immersion to targeted application of cold in beauty treatments, ice facials are emerging as a less intense but still effective option. Whether using simply ice cubes or specialized cryotherapy tools, these treatments calm the skin, decrease inflammation as the cool temperature constricts blood vessels, reduce redness and swelling, and provide an instant lift – ideal for reviving a face swollen or recovering from a sleepless night.

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Recently, several products have stood out offering benefits ranging from cooling and depuffing to revitalizing and toning. A good example is 111Skin’s Cryo De-puffing range, which has appealed to users looking to refresh their skin and reduce puffiness by taking advantage of cryotherapy techniques used in medical treatments.

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Other notable mentions in the cold beauty trend include Charlotte Tilbury’s Cryo Mask and Anne Semonin’s Express Radiance Ice Cubes. The cryo mask, enriched with firming ingredients and kept cool, offers immediate lift upon application. Meanwhile, Express Radiance Ice Cubes, designed to be frozen before use, blend the benefits of cryotherapy with potent serums, providing a potent blend of active ingredients that firm and depuff skin when applied cold.

111Skin cryo-deflation range

Offering similar benefits, cold sticks present a portable solution for refreshing and hydrating skin on the go while infusing it with soothing ingredients designed to be applied straight from the fridge to cool and calm skin, reducing puffiness, especially around the eyes. But there is also a wide range of tools designed to provide the benefits of professional cryotherapy treatments in the comfort of one’s home, such as facial ice rollers and cryotherapy globes, which stimulate blood circulation, reduce appearance of pores and improve the absorption of skincare products. . “Refrigerating beauty tools like jade rollers, Gua Sha stones, and sheet masks before use is another simple but effective way to enhance their soothing and depuffing effects,” suggests Negishi.

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As cold beauty treatments grow in popularity, it’s essential to dispel some myths. For example, the belief that cold water can permanently change pore size is a misconception. “The pores do not open or close. Cold water can momentarily tighten the skin, making pores smaller, but this effect is temporary,” says Negishi. While cold water can refresh and invigorate the skin, lukewarm water excels at dissolving oils, providing a more effective cleanse. “However, neither temperature changes the structural aspects of the pores,” she adds.

The Express Éclat ice cube by Anne Semonin

The line between beneficial and potentially harmful cold treatments can be thin. For people with sensitive skin or conditions such as rosacea, extreme cold can worsen redness or irritation, providing a counterproductive effect to the desired soothing result. Likewise, excessive use of intense cold treatments can cause hair damage over time, particularly if the skin is not gradually conditioned to the cold or if the application is too harsh. Ultimately, incorporating cold treatments into a skin care routine must balance scientific knowledge, personal experiences, and professional advice to ensure safety and effectiveness.

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