It is common for facial care to resort to natural options, simple to prepare and, above all, that have a great diffusion on the Internet.
This is the case with ice cubes, which in recent years have become very popular as an alternative to combat acne, swelling and wrinkles. But are they effective? do they have side effects? Here we review everything about this method of skin care.
First of all, it is necessary to highlight that, although the use of ice cubes on the skin for medicinal purposes is usually cataloged or spread as “cold therapy” or “cold treatment”, it is not the same as cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy, cryosurgery, cryoablation, percutaneous cryotherapy, or simply cold therapy, is a minimally invasive treatment that uses intense cold to freeze and destroy diseased tissue, including cancer cells.
During cryotherapy, high-pressure liquid nitrogen or argon gas is flowed into a needle-like applicator. This creates intense cold that the health care professional uses to freeze and destroy diseased tissue.
Ultrasound, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging are also used to help guide the applicator to treatment sites within the body. This is because doctors can use cryotherapy topically, percutaneously, or surgically.
- How to exfoliate different skin types
The use of cryotherapy is intended to treat different conditions:
- Different types of cancer, such as prostate or liver cancer (especially when surgery cannot be done).
- Precancerous moles on the skin.
- Skin tags.
- Unsightly freckles or marks.
- Retinoblastomas, a childhood cancer of the retina.
- Tumors in the skin, kidneys, bones, lungs and breasts.
Use of ice on the skin
The application of ice cubes to an area of the body for medicinal purposes has a long tradition. Generally, it is used to relieve pain and reduce swelling or inflammation.
Those who promote “cold therapies” explain that it is necessary to cover a couple of ice cubes with a cloth and then gently slide and massage in circular movements along the jawline, nose, lips, forehead and cheeks. This would help:
- Relieve acne.
- Relieve the symptoms of sunburn.
- Increase the brightness of the skin.
- Eliminate puffiness, especially around the eyes.
- Reduce the presence of fat on the skin.
- Reduce swelling and inflammation, such as those that occur from rashes or insect bites
- Delay the appearance of signs of aging, such as lines or wrinkles.
Proponents of this “treatment” stress that ice cubes should not be made from just water. You can also use cubes made with tea or coffee, because they contain caffeine, a substance that penetrates the skin and increases blood circulation.
Another very popular option is frozen aloe vera, as it has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Despite its widespread use and widespread popularity in natural medicine, these claims are based on anecdotal evidence only, as there are no clinical studies or investigations to date indicating that ice cube treatments can effectively treat conditions mentioned.
The first thing you should do if you decide to use ice cubes on the skin for medicinal purposes is to consult a health professional. This will make a diagnosis to know the state of your skin health and will explain the possible risks of this treatment.
If you still decide to do it, keep in mind the following tips to reduce the risk of problems:
- Be sure to cleanse your skin, just as you would before applying any other type of skin treatment.
- Wrap the ice in a thin cloth or thick paper towel before applying it to your skin.
- Change the ice and the cloth you use to wrap it frequently, in this way you will reduce the risk of infections, by preventing the spread of bacteria from one part of the face to another.
- Apply the ice for short intervals (no more than a minute) and let the skin rest for at least five minutes before applying again.
- Combine the application of ice with the application of warm compresses or towels. The application of heat initially helps remove debris, while ice then reduces inflammation. Caution: never apply ice first and then hot compresses as this can damage your skin.
- Have an ice tray dedicated exclusively to the cubes you will use for your skin.
- You should stop using ice immediately and see your doctor if you notice any redness, numbness, or changes in skin color.
Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.