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What is Cryotherapy and How Can It Help Your Skin?


We’ve tried countless things in the pursuit of beautiful, glowing skin—from science-y serums and creams to jade rollers and gua sha tools, and even facial workouts. If it promises to brighten our skin, clear acne, and tone up our jawline—you bet it’s caught our interest.

And recently, a unique (and super cool) skincare treatment has been stirring up buzz among estheticians and facialists. It’s called cryotherapy, and it’s as high-tech as it sounds. Originally a whole body treatment for physical and mental stress relief, whole-body cryotherapy has made its way into the facial space thanks to its multiple skin benefits. We chatted with board-certified cosmetic surgeon and founder of 111SKIN, Yannis Alexandrides, MD, about cryotherapy, and why it might be the key to reaching your gorgeous skin goals.

So, what is cryotherapy?

First things first—cryotherapy does not involve (literally) freezing your skin. “Cryotherapy is a form of cold therapy that exposes the body—either whole or localised—to extreme cold,” says Dr. Alexandrides. These cold temperatures (usually the result of liquid nitrogen) are believed to help increase circulation and help alleviate muscle pain, making it a popular treatment among athletes. In cryotherapy facials, also known as cryo facials, this cold therapy is adapted for more localized areas on your face. According to Dr. Alexandrides, his treatments use a CryoAir Machine that blasts a combo of -35℃ (approximately -23.8℉) cooled air and pure carbon dioxide onto your face. He follows this with his line of cryotherapy-inspired skincare products to maximize the treatment’s benefits after you leave the chair. You may be thinking a blast of cold air is akin to sticking your face in your freezer, but a cryotherapy facial is super quick—just a few minutes—so it’s over before you get too uncomfy. Is it worth the chill factor? The benefits of cryotherapy for your skin inside and out make it worth a try.

It can help reduce inflammation

If you’re prone to redness and inflammation, the low temperatures of a cryotherapy facial can help. “Cryotherapy incites vasoconstriction (the constriction of blood vessels) stimulating an increase in circulation, collagen production, and endorphins while reducing inflammation, pain, and fatigue,” says Dr. Alexandrides. (AKA it can help boost your skin and your mood). Another benefit? Increased blood circulation helps your complexion look healthy and naturally radiant. More glow too? Sign us up.

It can help smooth and firm up your skin

Collagen is the key to plump, youthful-looking skin. And our skin loses collagen and elasticity as we age. “Cryotherapy activates the production of collagen and elastin in the dermis, increasing the skin’s capacity to rejuvenate itself and appear more smooth, lifted, and firm,” says Dr. Alexandrides. It’s no wonder some celebs swear by this cold treatment before hitting the red carpet—it visibly tones your skin while helping build collagen for plumper-looking skin in the long-term.

It can help skin conditions like eczema

If you’re experiencing skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, cryotherapy’s skin-healing effects can help improve them. When the extreme cold comes in contact with your skin, it helps stimulate your body’s healing responses. This combined with increased blood circulation also helps boost the exchange of nutrients and waste in your cells which helps stimulate healing. For this reason, cryotherapy facials can also improve acne and the redness and inflammation that comes with it.

What skin types is this best for?

Interested in trying a cryotherapy facial? According to Dr. Alexandrides, cryotherapy can help all skin types. “Cryotherapy facials are one of the few categories that are appropriate for anyone—blemished skin, prematurely aging skin, or skin that’s just looking for a beautiful glow. I even recommend it to my patients post-laser treatments.” Cryotherapy facials are totally noninvasive, and your skin won’t look irritated after so there’s no down time.

Are there any side effects?

You might be wondering if a cold shot of air is safe for your skin. Good news–it is, and like all skincare treatments, it should be done by a professional. Because a cryotherapy facial is short and quick, when it’s done correctly, you don’t have to fear damage from freezing your skin. A little tingling or numbness is normal (kind of like when you rub an ice roller on your face), but only temporary. You should consult with your derm before trying cryotherapy for your face, as some skin types and tones can be prone to hyperpigmentation from cryotherapy.

When it comes to cryotherapy facials, Dr. Alexandrides is a fan. “We have created an entire collection within 111SKIN inspired by cryotherapy—that is how much I love it,” he says. The range works to tone, tighten, and energize the skin through biomimetic ingredients like ATP, which is naturally found within our cells and is akin to their form of energy.”

111SKIN Cryo ATP Sports Booster

We suggest: 111SKIN Cryo ATP Sports Booster—it’s a serum that works to tighten and tone skin by boosting natural elastin and collagen.

Would you try a cryotherapy facial? Let us know @IPSY!

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About the author
Pia Bhattacharya
Pia is a New York-based beauty editor at IPSY with over 10 years experience including editorial, public relations, and copywriting. Her work has appeared in SELF magazine, in beauty and branding for Bloomingdale’s, and others.
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Article Last Updated July 23, 2020 12:00 AM