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What’s So Cool About Cold Skincare?

Storing your eye gel on the shelf right next to the butter dish may seem weird, but it could actually enhance the deflating effects of your undereye bag treatment. Seriously. That’s because the chill factor alone can have beauty benefits. 

In general, keeping skin care on ice has the most benefits when you’re looking to constrict blood vessels (cold contracts; heat expands) for a firmer, tighter appearance or when cooler temps will help mitigate pain or discomfort (think applying aloe to a sunburn). 

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s New York City dermatologist and the founder of Entière Dermatology Melissa K. Levin, MD, on the subject: “For certain beauty products, like eye creams, I do like cooler temperatures because they can help vasoconstrict blood vessels for an immediate effect, helping to depuff undereye bags, for example.” Dr. Levin also notes that “for very dry and itchy skin, placing anti-itch moisturizers in the fridge before using can give a cooling and soothing feeling when they’re applied on the skin.”

Another surprising benefit of cold skin care? Studies have shown that it can actually help decrease the production of sebum, making your skin less oily. One study found that for every 1°C (33°F) change, sebum production decreases by up to 10 percent!

Naturally, it’s all a matter of personal preference. As Dr. Levin points out, any topical prescription medication that requires refrigeration will have that explicitly noted on the package. In those cases, cooler temps are a must. But your regular skin care has been stability tested before it ever hits the shelves and doesn’t need the cold air to act as a preservative. (Unless, of course, it does. If you’ve purchased skin care containing a live culture, such as of probiotics, and it was refrigerated when you bought it, you need to keep that up at home. Some natural or organic products don’t contain preservatives and also need to be kept cold. Again, this should be marked clearly on the label.) 

By the same token, you’re not going to ruin the formulation of your face mask, simply because you slide it beside the milk.  Just bear in mind that your skin care may absorb food odors from your refrigerator, so sticking your eye cream next to the Limburger or Taleggio is probably not the best idea. It’s also a good argument for investing in a dedicated beauty fridge, like this adorable one we created with our friends over at Makeup Fridge. 

One word of caution: While you can keep serums and oils in the fridge, there is a chance they could turn viscous or thicken once their liquid-based formulas feel the (extreme) chill. For that reason, gels and creams usually do the best in the cold. A soothing toner (hi Watermelon Glow Ultra-Fine Mist!) could also be something you keep in the crisper for an instant hit of cooling hydration and makeup refreshing. 

Summer may be over, but it’s still a good time to chill out.

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