Does Ice Help Acne?

I’m happy to report that ice can definitely help to ease both the pain and visual severity of acne — hurray! Who knew you had such a fantastic solution sitting in your freezer this whole time?

How exactly does using ice work to reduce the effects of acne? Well, have you ever seen an athlete taking an ice bath after competing or perhaps after a particularly challenging training session?

It’s not because they’re training to swim with the penguins in Antarctica. I’m sure they’d sooner treat themselves to a steamy shower than put themselves through the agonizing sting of a sub-zero bath.

They jump into these frigid buckets of water because ice is a natural anti-inflammatory, which means it soothes strained muscles and reduces swelling — it has the exact same effect on the skin!

So, next time you get a large or sore pimple, resist the urge to squeeze it no matter how satisfying it may be and grab an ice pack instead. Before you know it, the swelling will subside, and it will be far less noticeable. 

Hypothetically, you could just rinse and repeat this process, and eventually, acne will disappear entirely — pretty neat, huh?

Do bear in mind; however, that this ice treatment won’t be so effective on non-inflammatory cases of acne such as blackheads. You’ll have to use something like Deep Cleansing Pore Strips to deal with them.

Icing your face also has another miraculous effect that can be incredibly helpful during an acne flare-up. When you apply ice to your face, it constricts the blood vessels and causes an amount of blood to rush to your face — think of your cheeks after a walk on a brisk winter’s day. 

The swirling of blood to the surface has a soothing effect on sore skin. Combine that with the natural numbing properties of ice, and you’ve got yourself some serious pain relief.

Cosmetics companies and beauty parlors around the world are beginning to realize the true potential of cold, and have started offering cryo facials to customers. As well as reducing puffiness, these chilly treatments actually detach dead skin cells from your face, thereby decreasing the chances of developing acne.

If you’re unable to book yourself in for a cryo facial, don’t worry about it. You can replicate the process to a certain extent using an Ice Therapy Pack Compress. 

That said, should ice be used as a singular treatment for acne? No, it’s best incorporated into a full skincare routine that includes…

  • Regular cleansing
  • Moisturizing with a product that matches your skin type
  • Using non-comedogenic makeup

Can ice reduce acne scars?

Unfortunately, scarring can never be fully removed. They do fade slightly over time (and you can speed this up with my guide on recovering acne scars), but until that happens, once they’re in place, they’re there to stay. Ice may reduce their prominence slightly for a few hours, but it’s no miracle cure.

The most effective way to use ice in this scenario is as a preemptive treatment. If you’re worried about acne-causing scarring, grab the ice cubes straight away. Don’t wait until scares have already formed, for by then, it’s too late.

By using ice in the early stages of acne, you can soothe the skin and minimize the permanent effects of the blemishes or even prevent them altogether.

Icing your skin is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect on swollen areas such as pimples, so reducing them as quickly and effectively as possible is key to reducing long-term skin damage.

I’d recommend adding an ice treatment to the cleansing phase of your skincare routine and sticking to it as closely as you can. Not only will it minimize the chance and severity of scarring, but it will also ease your pain in the present and offer peace of mind for the future.

Many may be drawn to scar-reducing products such as Bio-Oil to try and treat the residual effects of acne, and while it does have a fading effect on scars in general, it’s not recommended for use with acne. The reason is that it’s still an oil, and excessive oil is what causes acne in the first place. If you’re applying more oil to your problem areas, there’s a chance you’ll cause a flare-up.

It’s much better to keep using ice as a preventative, and perhaps even seek out professional treatment to reduce the visibility of already-established scars.

Does ice close pores?

When I was in my early teens, my best friend’s older sister told us both that warmth opens up the pores, while cold closes them. That single statement completely changed my skincare routine for the rest of my life.

She was right, of course, cold water or preferably, ice, does in fact tighten up your skin and shrink your pores. Give it a go. You can genuinely feel your skin getting tighter.

You might be wondering why you’d want to tighten your pores, and the answer is, you don’t, not at first. Your facial cleansing process should almost always start with a warm wash.

The warm water opens up your pores, which makes it easier to get out all the dead skin cells and excess oil. It’s just like doing a spot of washing up. If you really want to get all the gunk off your pots and pans, you have to soak them in warm, soapy water first.

Once you’re all cleaned up, you should finish your routine with a cold blast in order to shrink your pores. Not only will this reduce the visibility of enlarged pores and give your skin a fresh look and feel, but it will also reduce the build-up of contaminants for a spell.

If you suffer from acne, you may want to skip the warm water segment of your routine altogether and head straight for the cold stuff.

Why? Well, hot or warm water can strip a lot of the sebum oil from your pores, which seems great at first, after all, excess sebum is what causes acne. But this ends up prompting your sebaceous glands to produce even more than usual. 

Using cold water and ice exclusively may not be such an efficient way to remove grime, but it won’t completely strip your sebum oil away, and so, can be instrumental in regulating its production.