Cryotherapy is a wellness therapy through which the body is exposed to subzero temperatures, and it is mainly used to promote athletic and cosmetic health. By subjecting the body to extremely cold temperatures—anywhere from –200°F to -300°F— cryotherapy promotes natural anti-inflammatory response, the release of endorphins, and the reduction of pain and spasms.
The two most common types of cryotherapy are whole-body cryotherapy (WBC), in which all but the head is exposed to frigid temperatures, and localized cryotherapy, in which only a portion of the body is exposed. But there is also another type of cryotherapy garnering rave reviews in outlets like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar, and it is called cryotherapy facial.
Cryotherapy facials, or CryToning Facials, are ten minute, non-invasive facials in which vaporized nitrogen is pumped over the face, neck, and scalp. They are a quick, convenient facial procedure, and, unlike certain peels or microdermabrasion, they won’t leave skin looking red or raw. But how do they work?
How do cryotherapy facials work?
In a standard cryotherapy facial, a hose is used to concentrate liquid nitrogen into a pressurized beam of vapor. The vapor passes over the face, neck and scalp, boosting microcirculation (the circulation of blood in the smallest blood vessels) and accelerating collagen production, which results in a lifted, tightening effect. This is because the intense cold causes your blood vessels to contract and your pores to tighten. Once your skin returns to its normal temperature, the blood vessels dilate quickly, which causes an increase in the flow of blood and oxygen to the face. This makes your skin glow, look more vibrant, and causes your lips to look more plump. The rush of blood and oxygen can also make the face look less swollen.
What should you expect going into a cryotherapy facial?
When you arrive for your cryotherapy facial appointment, the practitioner will go over several steps to ready you for the procedure. In a standard treatment, your face will be cleansed and dried, or, in some cases, steamed or gently massaged before the actual facial procedure begins. You will then be given goggles to wear, and your jewelry should be removed. When the liquid nitrogen beam begins, it will feel as though you are sticking your head in a freezer. Cold but not unbearable, the hose will cover your face with vapor for about three minutes. The technician will then apply a serum or moisturizer to the treated area. And it’s as simple as that!
What are some of the benefits of cryotherapy facials?
The benefits of cryotherapy facials are the stimulation of collagen production (the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues), the reduction of fine facial lines and pores, decreased redness and inflammation, vasoconstriction (reduction of blood vessel size), boosts to microcirculation, and the promotion of follicle growth across the scalp. All of this leads to reduction in facial toxins, puffiness, inflammation, diminished pore size, and a brighter complexion. Furthermore, as the liquid nitrogen vapor passes over the scalp, its follicle promotion leads to a thicker, healthier head of hair. Consistent use of cryotherapy facial treatments also sees improved skin elasticity. And best of all, there is no downtime or redness of the skin post-session.
The treatment has also proven to be effective on clients suffering from atopic dermatitis, or eczema, a chronic inflammatory skin condition in which patches of skin become rough and inflamed. A Finnish study had eczema-sufferers undergo local cryotherapy treatment (which works in much the same way as a cryotherapy facial does) instead of using their typical eczema medication, and many saw improvements in their eczema symptoms. The same has been found for those with psoriasis, rosacea and other external inflammatory manifestations.
But, even better than all of these extraordinary benefits, cryotherapy facials are affordable too! Prices range from around $40 to $150 per facial. Speed and affordability––and the rejuvenating feeling that comes with a jolt of icy cold––are what makes cryotherapy facials a great alternative to more conventional skin care treatments.
Are there any risks to cryotherapy facials?
Cryotherapy facials are generally considered to be incredibly safe, but in rare cases complications have arisen. Some of these potential risks and side-effects include numbness or tingling of the face, temporary skin discoloration, ice burn, and in incredibly rare instances frostbite. This is why it’s important to be treated by a trained cryotherapy professional. If you’re pregnant or nursing, make sure to check with your doctor before going in for a cryotherapy facial.
A few more things to know before trying a cryotherapy facial: if you get botox or other facial injectables, make sure to wait 2 or more weeks before getting a cryo facial. Make sure to drink lots of water in the days before treatment, so that your skin is hydrated, and avoid heavy exfoliation or new products that could irritate your skin. Finally, showing up to your appointment without heavy makeup will cut down the overall time of the procedure.
Don’t let these few rare side-effects scare you away––cryotherapy is on the whole incredibly safe and recommended for anyone who wants their skin to glow with youthful vigor. Try pairing a cryotherapy facial with a standard whole-body cryotherapy treatment to feel restored from head to toe. Skin can grow craggy and wrinkled with age, but cryotherapy facials are a great, affordable, and energizing way to reverse the course.