Why applying ice can help alleviate acne?

Applying ice to your pimples can effectively reduce their inflammation, swelling, and pain due to its impact on skin physiology. When ice is applied, it induces vasoconstriction in blood capillaries, leading to their narrowing. This process also slows down the metabolic rate of certain cells and reduces the levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and anabolic hormones, all of which contribute to local inflammation. Consequently, this results in a temporary decrease in localized swelling, redness, and the perception of pain. These effects are well-established in medical studies.

Contrary to a common myth, icing does not reduce the size or close pores. Pores lack the ability to constrict, and any perceived change in pore size after using ice is related to the skin's color alteration around the pore, not the pore size itself.

While acne is an inflammatory condition, there is currently no conclusive scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of ice as a treatment for inflammatory acne. Icing is more likely to provide temporary relief for acne symptoms and may not offer significant benefits for noninflammatory acne. It should be noted that icing is a short-term solution, as the body will quickly heat the area again once the application is stopped, allowing the inflammatory process to resume.

As for the best way to ice a pimple, wrapping the ice in a cloth or paper towel is often recommended to prevent frostbite. However, for short durations (less than 10 minutes), there is no evidence of skin injuries when applying ice directly to the skin. If using an ice cube for less than 10 minutes, wrapping may not be necessary, especially if the cube is continuously moved over the face. However, it's essential to monitor the skin for adverse reactions and avoid using ice packs, as they can be much colder than ice cubes and may cause cold burns.

Effects of Topical Icing on Inflammation, Angiogenesis, Revascularization, and Myofiber Regeneration in Skeletal Muscle Following Contusion Injury
Front Physiol. 2017; 8: 93.
Daniel P. Singh, Zohreh Barani Lonbani, Maria A. Woodruff, Tony J. Parker, Roland Steck, and Jonathan M. Peake.
Published online 2017 Mar 7. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00093

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