Yes, Ice Facials Exist — But Do They Really Minimize Pores?
Have you heard of the ice facial or ice water facial? It’s a popular Korean beauty trend that’s inspired skin-care aficionados far and wide to rub ice cubes all over their faces in the name of better skin. In particular, ice facials are said to minimize the look of pores, reduce puffiness and make the skin look smoother. While the alleged benefits sound great, we consulted the experts to find out if the face icing trend is truly worth trying.
What’s the Deal With Pores, Anyway?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), pores are the tiny holes in your skin where hair grows. They secrete sebum, the natural oil that keeps our skin feeling soft and smooth, and play an important role in the health of our skin. But a few causes, from oily skin to the products you use, can cause your pores to appear larger.
Reason #1: Oily Skin
It’s common for people with oily skin to have enlarged pores. Excess sebum on the skin’s surface mixes with dirt and impurities and can eventually create a clog. These clogs can make pores appear larger.
Reason #2: Your Skin-Care Routine
Neglecting to commit to a well-rounded skin-care routine can take a toll on your skin over time. When dirt, oil and grime build up on your skin’s surface, they can clog your pores. As such, you want to be sure to cleanse your skin morning and evening to remove pore-clogging impurities and bacteria before they have a chance to wreak havoc. For an affordable cleanser, we recommend the CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser.
Reason #3: Unprotected Sun Exposure
Broad-spectrum SPF 15 or higher can help protect skin against sunburn, signs of aging and even some cancers. But did you know wearing it daily could also help keep your pores in good shape? When harmful UV rays and free radicals damage your skin cells, it can cause your pores to appear larger. One of our favorite SPFs? The Vichy LiftActive Peptide-C Sunscreen SPF 30.
Reason #4: Age
Over time, our skin produces less collagen. The result? Loss of elasticity, which can in turn make the skin appear less firm and make pores appear larger.
Reason #5: Genetics
Women may experience the appearance of enlarged pores as a result of hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy or menopause. What’s more, if your parents have naturally oily skin and large pores, chances are it will be passed down to you.
So, Can the Ice Facial Minimize Pores?
You can’t get rid of your pores, but you can help visibly reduce their appearance. While the cooling effect of ice or chilled skin-care products can cause the skin to constrict, making pores appear smaller and tightened, the reaction is only temporary. According to board-certified dermatologists and Skincare.com consultants Dr. Dendy Engelman and Dr. Joshua Zeichner, shortly after the ice is removed, any benefit will soon subside and your pores will look the way they once did. In fact, both Dr. Engelman and Dr. Zeichner say the concept of pores “shrinking” is a total myth.
“There are no muscles around your pores, so ice will not do much,” Dr. Zeichner says. What’s more, rubbing cold ice on your face or dunking your face in a bath of ice water could actually cause more trouble than it’s worth. “Applying ice onto your skin for too long can burn the skin,” says Dr. Engelman. For a better idea, we recommend turning to products formulated with glycolic acid, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum, or salicylic acid, like the SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment, to help remove excess oil and exfoliate dead surface skin cells that can accumulate in the pores and cause them to look larger. So while an ice bath facial may not be a new addition to your skin-care routine, you can at least opt for something that’s comfortable for your skin.