Face icing: the popular old wives tale now backed by science and dermatologists

Face icing: A popular old wives' tale with more than a grain of truth to it, here's why this old skincare ritual is finally getting the nod from science, leading dermatologists and globally recognised skincare brands alike, among them DMK South Africa.

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  • As advised by a dermatologist at DMK South Africa, I tried icing my face every day as part of my skincare regimen, along with the prescribed DMK products
  • Although part of my face was a little irritated at first, after a few days, the irritation disappeared
  • Every time I iced my face, I instantly noticed the radiant complexion and liveliness
  • Not withstanding the bigger role the products played, after a while my pores were looking minimised, and skin also felt smoother; so I do it every other day and for special occasions
  • However, experts warned that overdoing it can be harmful. Those battling chronic skin conditions need to be wary about it, and should instead seek doctor’s advice

Cost-effective and extremely easy, face icing has been all the rage in recent years with celebrities and influencers alike vouching for its efficiency, and now a number of scientific findings have come out in full support of the oh-so popular old wives tale, proving that there’s always been more than a grain of truth to it!

It is no wonder that leading dermatologists and global skincare brands such as DMK South Africa are advising patients (clients) to make it part of their daily regimen, alongside their prescribed skincare products – as I came to learn during my recent visit to DMK Eastgate branch to try the much-talked about Enzyme Therapy.

Dubbed the “Game of Thrones facial”  by Cosmopolitan, due to the fact that for 45 minutes of the treatment, your face is literally stuck, immobile, looking like a freaking White Walker, the signature treatment optimises skin cell functioning, resulting in improved antioxidant defenses, and greater skin hydration.

It was during this very visit that, in addition to this being my first ever encounter with this unusual but effective treatment, I also learned that face icing is actually not just a baseless social media frenzy.

As DMK therapist Marisa Smith explained, face icing is the real deal, and “can be used to reduce puffiness around the eyes, as well as swelling (inflammation) and ease acne”.  Putting it into perspective, she further outlined: “Icing of the skin (or face) causes an osmotic sink, so this contracts the capillary muscle and allows for pathways for your active ingredients (more for drops and serums) so that they can stay in the area for a longer period of time.”

Science-backed ways face icing benefit the skin

1. Reduces swelling, puffiness

Same way that science has proved the efficacy of ice theraphy in treating muscle injuries as shown in this findings by Pubmed, the cold compress can help drain excess fluids from the lymphatic system, which also helps decrease facial puffiness and swelling. However, if the swelling persist, more so after undergoing any aesthetic treatment, specialised medical treatment should be considered.

2. Lessens the appearance of under-eye bags

As highlighted in an article by Cleveland Clinic, the same lymphatic drainage that reduces overall puffiness can specifically reduce the appearance of a puffy under-eye area. Gently applying ice under the eye area can help release fluid buildup, drain toxins and cause a tightening effect.

3. Minimise foreheads and wrinkles

In another Pubmed study,  a group of people treated for forehead wrinkles showed significant clinical improvement with high subject satisfaction. “Focused cold therapy seems to be an effective, safe nontoxic alternative (with no adverse effects) to popular wrinkle-reducing treatments,” the report concluded.