The Skin-Care Benefits of Ice-Rolling, Explained

November 24, 2021

You’ve seen the roll-and-go tools all over Instagram, but what exactly do ice rollers do for the skin? 

Designed to be chilled to deliver a cooling, tightening effect to the skin, the simple, hand-held tool is best known for its ability to quickly de-puff a tired complexion. But as skin experts explain, the trending tool offers a host of other legitimate skin-care benefits, too. 

What are the benefits of ice-rolling? 

“Ice rollers stimulate the lymphatic system and massage the face to get rid of puffiness and toxins, stimulate blood flow and reduce muscle tension,” explains Miami dermatologist Annie Gonzalez, MD. “Anything ‘cryo’ is anti-inflammatory, meaning it will slow the effects of aging, speed up healing and can stimulate collagen production,” says celebrity esthetician Joanna Czech. 

Even better, the cooling action of the tool also allows for a refreshed, brighter-looking appearance. “Ice rollers may also help constrict blood vessels, thus decreasing inflammation and reducing the appearance of broken capillaries,” adds Dr. Gonzalez. 

How do you use an ice roller? 

Begin from the center of your face and use upward, outward strokes to roll the tool along the skin, making sure to apply just enough pressure to massage the skin, as using too much pressure can cause irritation. To de-puff the under-eyes, gently roll the tool along the area, applying little to no pressure.

When is the best time to use an ice roller? 

Barring a couple of exceptions—more on that below—you can ice roll whenever you’d like. According to Czech, reaching for your ice roller as the last step of your skin-care routine is always a good idea. “I recommend using your ice roller to help spread products to all areas of your face,” also suggests Dr. Gonzalez. “For example, you can apply a moisturizer or serum to your face and then use your ice roller to spread the product to your under eyes, forehead, temples, cheeks, etc. Massaging the face with your ice roller can help the topical product absorb into the skin.” 

Can you use an ice roller after injections? 

Dr. Gonzalez instructs putting down the ice roller for a few weeks post-injection or after any invasive in-office treatment. “You should not use an ice roller after injections or filler because the facial roller can allow the product to spread into unwanted areas,” explains Dr. Gonzalez. Likewise, ice-rolling should be avoided after any surgery that leaves a wound because if healing tissue is moved, scarring could be worsened. 

How do you clean an ice roller? 

To ensure your roller isn’t harboring any bacteria, be sure to give it a quick wipe down with a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol or with mild soap and water after each use. Before popping it back in the freezer or fridge to chill, place it in a separate bag or container to keep it free from contamination.

What is the best ice roller? 

Best for: Lymphatic drainage 

The Skinny Confidential Hot Mess Ice Roller ($69) 

This chic, all-aluminum roller features a larger surface area than most and a sturdy handle to make applying de-puffing pressure to the face, neck and body easier than ever. 

Best for: Puffy under-eyes 

Aceology Ice Globe Facial Massager ($64) 

These quick-freezing globes are a must for early mornings and fit perfectly underneath the eyes and temples to relieve tension and puffiness. Pro tip: Stash these in the fridge, not the freezer. 

Best for: Rolling on a budget 

Esarora Ice Roller ($13) 

12,000 positive Amazon reviews can’t be wrong. If you’re looking to try out the trend before investing in a higher-end tool, this is for you. 

Best for: Hard-to-reach areas

BeautyBio Cryo Skin Icing Dual-Ended Roller ($85) 

This double-sided option is ideal for use on both face and body. Because its stainless-steel rollers are naturally cold on their own, you can stash it on your vanity for quick access (though chilling it will boost your results). 

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