I Tried The Viral Ice Water Hack For My Face And It Did More Harm Than Good

The internet has completely influenced me, and I’m not mad about it.

There is a new beauty product out there and everyone’s using it and swearing by it. The ice roller has taken the world (and me) by storm. In my expert opinion, your life can only improve when you buy an ice roller.

I love my ice roller, in case that’s not obvious yet. I wake up every morning and reach for it. The ice eradicates any puffiness, tiredness, and anything that can go wrong in your day (yes, it’s that good). 

But as with every internet-hyped product, I wonder if there is a better (and cheaper) way to get the benefits of ice rolling without having to pay for Amazon’s product.

This week, I’m putting away my roller and opting to plunge my face into a huge bowl of ice water every morning. Who says beauty isn’t pain?

Beauty in Ice

View this post on Instagram



A post shared by Cryojuvenate UK (@cryojuvenateuk)

Putting cold elements on your skin is not a new form of skincare. It’s referred to as cryotherapy, which is “the application of extreme cold to freeze abnormal tissue.” People have used cryotherapy for years to remove warts and skin tags, reduce wrinkles, minimize pores, and improve blood flow, among other benefits. 

Many skin experts suggest going to a specialist to get the maximum benefits of cryotherapy because the colder the temp, the better the results, and our freezers at home are not as strong enough to do ‘proper’ cryotherapy. But just because you might not be able to get the maximum benefits at home doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try. 

Ice-water facials are known throughout the beauty community to be one of the best practices you can do for your face and complexion. They are known to remove the toxins from your skin, reduce inflammation, and boost circulation throughout your face. It sounds perfect, so why isn’t everyone doing this?  

There are some precautions you do need to take before you plunge face-first into your facial ice bath. 

Ice baths are not the end-all-be-all in the beauty industry. If you rely on them too heavily, you might damage your skin. Extreme temperatures are not ideal for the delicate skin on your face. If you’re going to do a facial ice bath, I don’t suggest doing it every day because your skin’s moisture barrier can get damaged. 

If you start to feel any irritation or discomfort, end the ice bath and maybe stick with a gua sha or a jade roller instead. To properly prepare for your skin icing, you want to keep cleanliness at the forefront of everything you do to avoid infection. 

Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology, suggests cleansing and moisturizing your face before you start your ice bath to protect your skin barrier.  

Yes, there are many precautions to take and you have to be careful, but I still wanted to see if an ice bath would improve my skin more than my regular roller. 

My Week

This might shock you, but dunking your face into ice-cold water is jarring. I didn’t cleanse my face the first day because I wasn’t going to do it for too long. Experts suggest you do it in increments of 30 seconds for 20 minutes. To avoid any irritation, I stayed below 10 minutes just so my face didn’t get too raw or irritated from the extreme temperature. 

I also don’t know how people are okay with plunging their faces into freezing water and holding their breath. I tried the Wim Hof method during quarantine, and this felt eerily similar to that. It will probably take about 4-5 days to see any changes, but I enjoyed it and my skin did feel tighter after I finished my first session.

The next few times I tried it, I incorporated the ice bath into my pre-established skincare routine. I used my regular Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, but I added the Hyaluronic Acid 2%+ B5 for further hydration. While I’m dunking my face in the water, the ice closes my pores up and it feels very dehydrating. After I did my ice bath, I coated my face in my Neutrogena Hydro Boost

I quickly discovered that ice baths aren’t fun. 

It feels like they increase tension in your face and head and I often pull out of the water before 30 seconds because I feel a slight headache. One thing I’ve found the most helpful is to have a dry washcloth by me to dry my face off as soon as I’m done. 

My face does feel more firm but also drier after these ice baths. The ice also illuminates my skin’s imperfections and highlights the natural redness that I struggle with. It goes away quickly, but don’t dunk your face in ice if you need to go out 30 minutes later. 

I will say, the first ten seconds under the ice bath are pure bliss and so refreshing. But after about 20 seconds, it can get painful. 

I did stop this challenge short because I began to break out. I don’t often break out and the only different thing I’ve been doing is the ice bath. After four consistent days, my skin was rough. 

I found the dramatic change in my skin interesting because I use my ice roller every single morning. But I think the act of fully submerging my face into freezing water was not just jarring for my brain but also for my delicate skin.

My Review

There are very few challenges I don’t complete fully, but this was one of them. If you’re interested in using cryotherapy, I’d suggest buying an ice roller and skipping the ice water. 

I’m not exactly sure what caused my insane breakout, but I know that it wasn’t worth continuing to try the ice bath to figure it out.


Have you ever tried a facial ice bath? What are your opinions on it? Comment below what challenge I should do next!

For More Markey Tries It, Read These Articles Next:

Join the Conversation