scorecardHow to use ice to reduce hangover puffiness and dark circles under your eyes
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How to use ice to reduce hangover puffiness and dark circles under your eyes

Madeline Kennedy,Jason McKnight   

How to use ice to reduce hangover puffiness and dark circles under your eyes
Insider Picks3 min read
  • Icing your face can help bring down puffiness and get rid of under-eye bags.
  • It may also help reduce inflammation from conditions like acne or rosacea.

If you get up in the morning to find that your face looks puffy and tired, you might want to try icing your skin.

Many aestheticians offer cold treatments in their office to brighten or de-puff your skin, but you can do the same thing at home with just a plastic bag and a few ice cubes.

Here are some of the benefits of facial icing and how you can do it at home.

Benefits of facial icing

Icing your face is a simple add-on to your skincare routine, but it offers significant beauty benefits.

1. Helps reduce puffiness.

Puffiness happens when the blood vessels under your skin dilate, or widen.

This might happen the morning after you drink alcohol or if you have hay fever or other allergies.

Icing the area can help because "the cold temperature can constrict blood vessels, which can decrease puffiness," says Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist.

"Think about when you have an injury or swelling in the body and your doctor instructs you to ice it... it's the same concept, but now we're using it for aesthetic purposes," says Candace Marino, a licensed aesthetician and owner of the THE LA FACIALIST.

2. Brings down under-eye bags.

If you're dehydrated or you ate too much salt the night before, fluid can build up under your facial skin while you sleep, causing morning puffiness. For many people, this puffiness shows up as large, under-eye bags.

Cooling your skin with ice can help drain fluid from your under-eye area through your lymphatic system.

3. Reduces inflammation from skin conditions.

Many skin conditions, like acne and rosacea, are triggered by inflammation in your skin.

Icing your skin can help to bring down inflammation, reduce itching, and can also reduce redness by constricting the blood vessels.

However, it's important to check in with your doctor and start off slowly, with only a few seconds at a time, as cold can also trigger skin irritation for some people.

Risks of facial icing

In some cases, your skin can get too cold during icing, which can irritate your face and cause a painful, red "burn." So it's important to keep the temperature under control.

"Don't use ice cubes directly," King says. Instead, it's best to wrap ice cubes in a thin washcloth to protect your skin.

You should also rotate the ice around your face during the process — "keep the cold material moving to avoid over-cooling any one area of skin," King says.

If you have an inflammatory skin condition, you may need to do some trial and error to see if ice helps or hurts your symptoms. For example, some people with eczema improve with cold temperatures, while others feel worse.

How to practice facial icing at home

If you want to try icing your face at home, there are some key steps you can follow:

1. Clean your face with a gentle cleanser.

2. Wrap a few cubes of ice in a thin, clean cloth, or if you want to stay dry, put the ice in a Ziploc bag before wrapping it in the cloth.

3. Move the ice across your face in a constant, circular motion.

4. Pay special attention to your under-eyes and anywhere else that feels puffy.

5. Continue for five to 15 minutes. Stop if your skin starts to feel irritated or goes numb.

6. Once you're done, put on moisturizer, as colder temperatures can dry out your skin.

7. You can repeat this process each morning, but don't use ice more than once per day.

The best face wash for sensitive skin

If you have sensitive and are looking for great products in your skincare routine, we rounded up a few top options you can use:

  • CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser - See at Amazon and Ulta
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser - See at Amazon and Target
  • Tula Replenishing Cleansing Oil - See at Tula
  • It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cleanser - See at Nordstrom and Ulta

Insider's takeaway

Icing your face is a simple pick-me-up for your skin that can help bring down puffiness, reduce under-eye bags, and brighten your complexion.

It's important to be gentle with your skin — so always wrap the ice in a cloth and stop if it feels painful or uncomfortable.

If you have an inflammatory skin condition and you're not sure if ice will work for your symptoms, talk to your doctor or dermatologist before trying it.