The Big Chill: Why Cold Therapy is Becoming One of Skin Care’s Hottest Trends

When summer is in full swing, it may seem like a no-brainer to start serving up skincare on ice, but regardless of temperature and time of year, cool tools and cryotherapy are becoming a year-round treatment room staple.

Today on the blog we’re exploring the many ways in which cool therapy can be used to uplevel any esthetics practice or protocol. But before we dive into all the exciting details, it’s worth taking a moment to talk about the science behind it. Here’s what we mean:

From Freeze Chambers to Facials: The Evolution of Cryotherapy

As medical modalities go, cryotherapy is actually rather well-established, dating back to the 1970s, when practitioners began using it to address arthritis. According to experts, because exposure to near-freezing temperatures activates the body’s anti-inflammatory response, cold therapy can be an effective way to reduce pain and support the healing process following an injury.

Of course, with results like those in mind, it was only a matter of time before beauty and wellness practitioners were able to leverage these same therapeutic benefits to treat cosmetic concerns. Enter: cryotherapy skincare.

In the professional esthetics setting, advanced cryo facial treatments entail the application of pressurized liquid nitrogen vapor to create a rapid cooling effect. Also sometimes called “frotox,” this approach has been known to deliver impactful results for lifting, toning, tightening, and brightening the skin almost instantly.

Ice bath

Cryotherapy Vs. Cold Therapy: Differences and Benefits

For providers who aren’t ready to invest in cryotherapy equipment, all is not lost. Although cold nitrogen infusion is most effective for rejuvenating the skin at the cellular level – stimulating the production of new collagen and improving skin elasticity – cool therapy tools and techniques are an easy way to achieve impressive results at a fraction of the cost.

A few of our favorite benefits of cool therapy include:

       Benefit #1: Calming and Soothing for Struggling Skin

Understanding that many skin concerns are linked to inflammation of epidermal tissue, it only makes sense that cold therapy is just as effective for the skin as it is for the rest of the body. It can be used to address both the root cause of conditions like acne and rosacea, as well as related symptoms – such as redness, itching, and irritation.

       Benefit #2: Toning, Tightening, Clarifying, and Contouring

For anyone looking to correct broken capillaries, enlarged pores, sagging skin, or puffiness, cold therapy is a great go-to for reducing swelling and encouraging skin firming. It can also help to temporarily plump the skin tissue, giving it a smoother, more supple texture, and minimizing fine lines. 

       Benefit #3: Serious Glow Factor

Another positive aspect of cool therapy is that it promotes blood circulation to the surface of the skin immediately after. This effect is especially helpful for dull or aging skin, as increased blood flow translates to a more healthy, radiant, and youthful complexion. It can also help to troubleshoot uneven skin tone, giving the skin a bright and luminous appearance. 

       Benefit #4: Expedited Repair and Recovery Time

Following a breakout, eczema flare, or excess sun exposure, cold therapy can be an excellent way to reduce the risk of skin damage and prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). It can even be used as a follow up to professional skin care modalities like waxing, extractions, chemical exfoliation, laser treatment, microneedling, and others, as a way to minimize irritation and jumpstart the healing process.

       Benefit #5: Improved Product Penetration

      One more potential perk of cold therapy is its ability to enhance the efficacy of topical treatments and active ingredients. The theory is that because cold temperatures initially cause the capillaries to constrict, products like masks, serums, and moisturizers, are more easily absorbed by the epidermis and are therefore able to work deeper within the skin.


How To: Our Tips and Tricks For Creating Your Own Cool Therapy Facials

For licensed skin care professionals looking to add cool therapy to their offerings, you have lots of options to choose from. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Tip #1: 

Try storing products like hydrating toners, eye creams, sheet masks, or gel masks in a refrigerator prior to applying them. Doing so will enhance their effects for cooling and calming the skin.

Tip #2:

Consider alternating hot and cold therapies. If you regularly use steam or hot towels in your facial protocols, following up with cold therapy provides a refreshing contrast and may even help to promote lymphatic drainage.

Tip #3: 

Treat your clients to some cool tools. One of the best ways to incorporate cool therapy in a facial is with massage tools like cryoglobes and cold rollers during your facial massage. To activate their cooling properties, simply store your tools in a bowl of ice cold water or a refrigerator prior to using.

Some options we love include:

Cooling Ice Globes For Face and Eyes by ZAQ – 

For jaw tension, tired eyes, sinus pain, migraine headaches and more, glass ice globes are a soothing treat for the skin and facial muscles. They can be used following the application of topical products and cosmetics – including makeup – to infuse the skin with all the benefits of cold therapy and create a glowing finish.

Cooling ice globes for face and eyes

New customers get 10% off their first purchase! 

Icy Steel Gold Ice Globes by ZAQ – 

Similar to glass globes, steel globes can be used to enhance the application of topical treatments. They’re also especially great for lifting and sculpting massages, as they can be used to stimulate the facial muscles and create a firming effect.

New customers get 10% off their first purchase! 

A woman is getting a massage with a icy steel gold ball.

Stainless Steel Ice Cold Face Roller by ZAQ – 

If you’re new to cold therapy, steel roller tools are an easy way to uplevel your existing treatments with extra chill factor. Clients will love the way the cold steel feels over a hydrojelly or sheet mask. They’re also perfect for small areas like the under eyes, to target dark circles and puffiness.

Stainless steel face roller

New customers get 10% off their first purchase! 


Tip #4: 

Although the above tips can do a lot to enhance the outcome of your professional treatments, more cumulative benefits will be achieved with consistency. For this reason, we recommend offering cryoglobes and cold rollers as part of your retail selection and encouraging clients to include cold therapy in their home care routine.

Tip #5: 

Don’t overdo it. As with most modalities, too much cold therapy can have adverse effects. Tools that are too cold or left to sit on the skin for an excessive amount of time can irritate or damage the skin. To avoid this, keep your pressure light, and never linger in the same area for too long. It’s also a good idea to check in with your client, as you work to ensure their comfort levels.

Tip #6: 

Investing in a specialized training course is another must for licensed beauty pros who want to get the best results. At California Skincare Supply, we are proud to partner with industry expert, Zen Miller, whose Zen Cryolift class covers six unique lifting, firming, and toning massage techniques. 

NOTE: Be sure to keep an eye on our education page for the next session and other upcoming opportunities to learn with us!

Frequently Asked Questions About Cool Therapy

Q: How long do the effects of cryotherapy and cool therapy last?

A: Results from cold therapy will vary depending on the type of tools and technology used. The benefits of advanced cryotherapy using cold nitrogen infusion may last up to several weeks. However, other forms of cold therapy will produce more temporary effects – lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Q: How often should cool therapy techniques be performed?

A: Because cool treatments are non-invasive and therapeutic, they are considered safe to incorporate daily. Just a few minutes per day is all that is needed to produce positive benefits, but this amount can also be increased gradually – up to about 20 minutes per day – as long as the skin responds well to treatment.

Q: Can cool therapy replace other professional treatment modalities or products?

A: Despite their efficacy, cool therapies should not be used to replace other steps in a skincare routine or professional facial. Rather they should be utilized as a complement to other tools, devices, and products that promote skin health. The good news is that cold therapy pairs well with just about any other modality, including but not limited to LED therapy, microcurrent, facial massage, chemical, and manual exfoliation.

Q: Are there any risks or contraindications to cold therapy?

A: Cold therapy is appropriate for almost all skin types and conditions, but extra caution is advised when working with sensitive skin or Fitzpatrick types IV-VI which are more prone to hyperpigmentation. You should also avoid direct use of cold therapy when treating broken skin, cuts, or open lesions until the skin is completely healed.

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