What Is a Cryotherapy Facial?
Cryotherapy facials are one of the newest ways to help achieve brighter, younger-looking skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, cryotherapy, when performed by a board-certified dermatologist, can be a safe and effective medical procedure.
However, the medical purposes of cryotherapy are usually for the treatment of warts and arthritis. Thus, some at-home alternatives may be safer choices until cryotherapy facials are more broadly tested.
Before we jump into the awesome impacts of cryotherapy facials, let’s explain how cryotherapy facials work using the power of liquid nitrogen/(also known as dry ice)/to cool your skin and contract your pores!
How Does a Cryotherapy Facial Work?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, you do not have to do anything to prepare for topical cryotherapy. However, your skin must be well-hydrated and free of makeup prior to the facial.
Be sure to wait two weeks after receiving any injectable treatments, like Botox, before trying a cryotherapy facial. Your practitioner will wash and possibly massage your face before the cryotherapy begins.
The Process of a Cryotherapy Facial
A cryotherapy facial uses a special tool to spray liquid nitrogen across your face at temperatures as low as -90 degrees Fahrenheit. By spraying the cold nitrogen across your skin, cryotherapy causes your blood vessels to constrict and then force fresh blood to the area, bringing new nutrients and oxygen to your face.
The spray lasts for only about two to three minutes and may be slightly uncomfortable due to the low temperature. The facial may leave your skin looking tightened and plump.
Because of the intense nature of cryotherapy and the risks associated with its use, the procedure should be performed by a board-certified dermatologist with experience in the use of cryotherapy.
Following the cryotherapy facial, you will have moisturizer and possibly serum applied by your practitioner to lock in moisture and prevent dryness. This may also help prevent irritation following the facial.
Be sure to listen to the specialist’s instructions and follow any additional aftercare instructions they provide.
A cryotherapy facial can average anywhere from $30-150, depending on where you get the facial performed.
Spas and therapy centers that specialize in /whole body cryotherapy/(WBC) often offer cryotherapy facials for an additional cost. However, dermatologists and aestheticians may also offer cryotherapy facials as part of their services.
Who Should Try Cryotherapy Facials?
Cryotherapy facials are ideal for people with a variety of skin issues. However, there are some specific skin issues that cryotherapy facial proponents especially tout as areas of efficacy, such as:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
If you have any of these skin conditions, cryotherapy facials may help. However, as always, consult your dermatologist before trying any new skin therapies.
Generally, cryotherapy facials’ effects only last for three to five weeks. However, the benefits that cryo facial provides may be well worth it. Such benefits include:
The rapid constriction and eventual dilation of your pores (from the cooling and eventual re-warming of your skin), along with the renewal of blood and oxygen to your skin, can help your skin glow from within. If your skin looks and feels dull, a cryotherapy facial may be able to help rejuvenate the appearance of your skin.
The cold temperature of the liquid nitrogen encourages your pores to shrink and the blood vessels in your face to constrict. This can give your face an overall impression of tightening, helping reduce the appearance of fine lines. This may also diminish the appearance of wrinkles.
One of the major ways that cryotherapy facials can impact your appearance is by reducing puffiness. This ability to reduce puffiness may also be why cryotherapy facials could be used to reduce the appearance of blemishes like acne, as cold temperatures may decrease both their redness and overall size.
Cryotherapy facials may be able to reduce the overall appearance of redness and puffiness in your face. Recent research has also pointed to the use of cryotherapy, including cryotherapy facials, to help with acne and other skin disorders by reducing sebum production over time.
However, as many skin issues have multiple causes — including bacteria and more — the 2015 study urges more research into the use of cryotherapy in conjunction with other treatments to help with dermatological conditions.
In addition, other research has pointed to the dangers of repeated usage of cryotherapy over time. Time will tell the potential of cryotherapy facials to help with blemishes and fine lines.
What to Expect
Although there are many potential benefits of cryotherapy, there are also risks associated with the facials. As always, consult with your doctor before trying new dermatological treatments and to determine if cryotherapy facials might be right for you.
Multiple news outlets have warned of the dangers associated with cryotherapy facials. The FDA has cautioned that although cryotherapy has yet to have clinically proven benefits, the risks of cryotherapy include oxygen deficiency, burns, and eye injuries from poor ventilation and the ultra-cold temperature of the liquid nitrogen.
However, these concerns may be less relevant with facial treatments as the eyes are protected. While cryo facials are generally safe, it is important to talk to a doctor before trying cryotherapy.
Whole-body cryotherapy facials also have potential dermatological side effects including frostbite and rashes. The American Academy of Dermatology warns that some people who have used cryotherapy repeatedly can develop cold panniculitis, a rash that develops from cold harming a body’s fatty tissue.
Thus, cryotherapy facials are not recommended for repeated uses within short periods of time. The AADA also recommends that cryotherapy should always be performed by a licensed dermatologist to ensure the safety of the procedure, especially against frostbite and other skin conditions.
Ways to Get the Cryo-experience at Home
Although cryotherapy facials may be yet unproven, there are safe, proven methods of cooling treatments that you can safely perform yourself at home.
One of the most obvious, and underrated, at-home replacements for cryotherapy facials is using ice cubes to give yourself a homemade facial. Simply apply your favorite serum or moisturizer and apply ice cubes directly to the face.
Be sure to move the ice cubes around your face, rather than holding them in one place. This should help improve skin brightness and reduce redness all over.
Freeze Your Beauty Tools
Have a jade roller or gua sha? Try putting them in the freezer about an hour before your skincare routine. By cooling your tools down, you can get some of the anti-inflammatory benefits of the tools’ cold temperatures.
If you don’t have any special tools, no worries! You can freeze two metal spoons and lightly place them against your eyes to reduce puffiness and redness.
Refrigerate Your Face Masks
You can also refrigerate your face masks to bring a chilling effect to your best, at-home mask. By cooling your masks, you can help enhance the impacts of the mask - increasing the redness reduction, while moisturizing or clarifying your skin.
These masks also likely provide more targeted treatment for other skin issues, such as acne or aging skin. By using ingredients like salicylic acid or even vegan placenta, your chilled face mask will give you more value for your buck.
If you are not sure about cryotherapy facials, you may want to try vegan alternatives to the facial such as face masks and serums using ingredients that can deliver similar results.
Face masks featuring skin-nourishing botanicals and amino acids can reduce the appearance of redness and gently soothe irritated skin.
Alternative skincare treatments, like vegan placenta, made to be chemically similar to animal placenta, can help provide the firming, tightening, and brightening effect that a cryotherapy facial may provide /without/ the risks of skin damage or the uncomfortable sensation of the cold facial.
Cryotherapy facials are a relatively new method of tightening and brightening your skin with short recovery. Because of the recent nature of their development, cryotherapy facials have not had enough clinical testing to prove their efficacy or dangers.
However, cryotherapy facials may be the cutting edge of dermatological science with future testing and proven safety measures. In the meantime, you can try cryo-inspired therapies at home to help you take advantage of such “cool” treatments.
Sources:Whole-body cryotherapy can be hazardous to your skin | AADA
Cryotherapy: Uses, Procedure, Risks & Benefits | The Cleveland Clinic
Whole Body Cryotherapy (WBC): A Trend that Lacks Evidence, Poses Risks | FDA
Longitudinal, 3D In Vivo Imaging of Sebaceous Glands by Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Scattering Microscopy: Normal Function and Response to Cryotherapy | Science Direct
Scattering Microscopy: Normal Function and Response to Cryotherapy | Science Direct