Does Rubbing Ice on Your Face Really Work?

One of the latest skincare trends is rubbing ice on your face in a circular motion. People across social media have claimed that this will reduce irritation, reduce oiliness, and reduce puffiness around the eyes. Some even say that it helps close pores. Well, does this seriously work? Let’s address these 5 claims one by one as myth or fact.
Can rubbing ice on my face reduce puffiness around the eyes?
Firstly, puffiness in the face is usually fluid build-up. We all have a liquid called blood in our body, and it’s pumped by our heart. However, we also have lymphatic fluid, and that’s a part of our immune system. But, unlike blood, lymphatic fluid doesn’t have a pump. Consequently, it can build up in certain areas of our body creating puffiness.
Since lymphatic fluid moves throughout our body via our muscles, massages can help if you’re using a tool or an ice cube. By doing this, you’re pushing that fluid through the face. That circular motion can distribute the fluid and reduce puffiness. Still, I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s the cold that’s effective.
Rather, I would say that it’s the stimulation of the movement.
Moreover, putting ice with no barrier on your skin can cause frostnip. For example, if you had a swollen arm, would you put ice directly on the skin? No, you’d put a towel around it because your body would intuitively tell you that the ice feels uncomfortable and might pose a threat to the skin.
Moreover, please, beautiful butterflies do not put ice on your face if you’ve been sweating or if you’ve used a skincare product that has sodium.  If you put salt on the skin, the salt will lower the freezing temperature and make it even colder which can be really problematic for your skin.
Can rubbing ice on my face close my pores?
Our skin has multiple layers, and each hair has its own pore. We also have arrector pili muscles attached to our pores. For example, whenever we get cold, our hair stands up, or we get goosebumps. That’s because of our arrector pili muscles. The muscle is actually attached to the hair beneath the surface, not to the outer layer of our skin or “the opening of our pores."
Opening and closing the pore is not a function of the arrector pili muscle. The pores we see in the mirror cannot open and close. For something to open and close, a muscle must provide that function, and the arrector pili muscle does not do anything like “opening or closing a pore.” Pore size is due to genetics, blackhead buildup or the lack thereof, and skincare.
Can rubbing ice on my face reduce irritation?
Your body likes to be at a normal temperature. So, if you put ice on yourself, the body is going to try and bring it back to its normal temperature. So, if there were a cooling effect, it would wear off pretty quickly. Ice doesn’t help with redness either. Actually, conditions like rosacea can be irritated by changes in temperature. For people who have rosacea skin, they have tiny capillaries or small blood vessels that hold more blood than normal and can create a flushed appearance, but any type of massage can help push the blood around.
Also, to provide an illustration, did you know our wonderful friend Robert Welsh, who has rosacea, formed tiny red pustule after an experiment of rubbing ice on his face once a day for a week (See here!)? His skin looked more flushed by the day because it became irritated. As an alternative, if you want some sort of cool feeling on your skin, try a cooled skincare product instead. And by the way, azelaic acid can help with rosacea pustules.
Can rubbing ice on my face reduce oil?
Your skin produces oil through your sebaceous glands, and this oil is created to lubricate all the hairs that come out of your face. Your skin produces oil to transport things like lipids, antioxidants, fatty acids, and nutrients to the top layer of your skin. That is called the acid mantle.
It’s a thin layer of protection or a little shield to the outside world! However, just applying water or ice is not going to slow down your sebaceous glands from pumping out that oil because it’s a crucial function. Plus, water and oil don’t mix. So, unless you’re applying product along with water to penetrate that oil, rubbing ice could not remove oil.
Let us know about your skincare experiences with ice if you have any below!