Do Ice Rollers Work? And What are the Benefits of Icing Your Face Anyway?

do ice rollers work category

Ready for another TikTok trend? Meet skin icing: the latest fad that’s taken over our feeds, where people are massaging ice cold face rollers (or creating their own by filling and freezing empty lip balm tubes!) over their faces for a quick glow up. And with the weather heating up, we suspect this trend will only get bigger.

Cool visuals aside, we wanted to know if skin icing really works and whether or not it was safe to take an ice roller to your face, so we tapped Ava Shamban, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Ava MD Dermatology in Los Angeles and Joanna Czech, a celebrity aesthetician in New York for their insights on the trend.

Is using an ice roller safe?

Both experts agree that, in most cases, icing your face is safe. “I’d only caution against it if you have super sensitive or highly reactive skin or an existing condition like rosacea,” says Shamban. “People with rosacea should not ice their skin, as they can cause a flush or react negatively from the exposure to extreme temperatures. On that note, you can reduce flushing by pressing an ice cube to the roof of your mouth, which will restrict key vessels that cause the flush,” she adds.

What are the benefits of skin icing?

“Icing your face can have multiple benefits from depuffing to soothing inflamed skin,” says Czech. “I love to ice my face first thing in the morning to reduce swelling around my eyes. It’s also helpful for calming a breakout that is irritated or inflamed.”

As Shamban further explains: “Icing your skin causes a temporary vasoconstriction, which reduces blood flow to the area being chilled. This decreases any swelling and encourages more oxygen flow to the cells, which will give your skin an immediate flush of color. The cold can also calm any irritation or itching, and for some people, it can help with acne and tightening pores.”

Are there any precautions to take when ice rolling?

“It is important that you keep moving the ice roller across the areas you want to treat and not hold it in one spot for too long, as this can cause an ice burn,” cautions Czech. “Again, do not hold the ice in one place. Incorporating consistent movement is so important for safety and for this to be most effective.”

As for what to use, Shamban prefers ready-made ice rollers over DIY versions because “most of the roller heads [in store bought rollers] are made with stainless steel and either have plastic or silicone over the steel, which absorbs and maintains the cold for a long enough period of time to activate the skincare benefits, while protecting it from burning the skin.” But if you are going the DIY route (a la the TikTok trend), she strongly recommends “starting with a clean, freshly washed container and clean, fresh water every single time you ice your skin.”

And whatever you do, “skip the frozen ice packs or at least put a thin cloth or a towel between the ice and your skin to avoid burning it,” says Shamban.

OK, ready to get rolling?

The Best At-Home Facial Massage for Puffy Skin

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...