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How to use an ice roller for the face?

What you need to know about this cool facial fad

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar
by Stephanie Papanikolas
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 3 min read
Chunks of ice
Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar
by Stephanie Papanikolas
Updated on Jul 6, 2023 • 3 min read
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

It’s a simple idea: feeling good on the inside leads to radiant skin on the outside. With more time on our hands (and more time spent on Zoom), a lot of us have been focusing on feel-good skincare trends. Enter face rolling, a facial massage technique that’s deeply relaxing.

This week, I wanted to focus on ice rollers. You just stick these bad boys in the freezer to get them nice and chilly, then wheel out your face. I love using cold compresses whenever my skin gets inflamed, so the idea of icing myself is intriguing.

Those who ice roll daily swear by it. I wanted to understand why that’s the case. This is what I learned.

How ice rollers actually work

Using a skin-specific wheel to roll out your skin is a new trend, but facial massage has its roots in practices like gua sha (which have been around in some form for millenia). Supposedly, this is a lymphatic drainage technique that may help reduce puffiness in the skin, leading to a smoother, glowier complexion.

The jury is still out on lymphatic drainage as having anti-aging skin benefits — more research is needed in this area before we can say it works for certain. On the other hand, using a cool compress on the skin can often make your skin look and feel soothed.

Timeless skin done your way

The potential skin benefits of ice rolling

There’s one thing a nice, cool pressure does for your skin (other than feeling just right): a cold compress can help decrease certain kinds of skin inflammation, which can help reduce swelling, redness, and puffiness.

You don’t necessarily need an ice roller to do a cold compress — a chilled bag of green tea is perfect for this! But if ice rolling feels good, then there’s likely no harm in doing it as part of your regular skincare routine.

Ice rolling do’s and don’ts

If you’re wondering how to use an ice roller, here’s what you need to know:

  • Do use the right tools. It probably doesn’t matter if your ice roller is made from rose quartz or plastic, so long as it’s a) easy to clean, and, b) provides a buffer between your skin and the ice. Most ice rollers have a hollow, cylindrical wheel that’s filled with gel or water. That frozen liquid supplies that cool-side-of-the-pillow feeling, but your skin should never come directly in contact with it!

  • Don’t frostbite yourself. Leave your ice roller out for a few minutes before applying it to your skin, or lay a clean cloth over your face to protect it. Make sure your ice roller isn’t so cold it could accidentally damage your skin. A brisk chill can be refreshing, but it should feel like touching your face to the pool side of the pillow — not freezing like yesterday’s fishsticks!

  • Do start at the top and work down. My sources agree that you should start with ice rolling your forehead and work your way down. Many people enjoy rolling out their under eyes, and you can take your roller all the way down your neck or chest for an extra deep rub-down. There are even ice rollers designed for the face and body, like the Cryotherapy Ice Roller.

And that’s it! I’d say it’s pretty simple. From my Curology co-workers to the influencers I see scrolling Instagram, everyone who practices ice rolling swears by it, and I can see why — a cooling massage is a perfect way to do a quick refresh in the morning or at night.

Of course, you’re the expert of your own skin. What your skincare routine looks like is up to you! If you ever need any help, Curology’s got your back. Your first month of custom, prescription skincare is free — just pay $4.95 to cover shipping + handling.

Stephanie Papanikolas Avatar

Stephanie Papanikolas

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