Cryotherapy 101 & At-Home Alternatives
You’re lying on a spa bed, eyes closed, as a high-tech probing device hovers over your face. Clouds of icy vapor trickle down on you. You feel a strange tingly-numbing sensation. Have you been abducted by aliens? Nope, you’re getting a cryotherapy facial! This futuristic-looking treatment doesn’t just sound cool, it is…by about –200°F! Proven to have incredible skin-restoring powers, this beauty treatment might be your next must-try.
What’s a cryotherapy facial?
Unlike laser therapy which focuses on heat, cryotherapy rejuvenates your skin through freezing mist (without the risk of melting your facial fat). Used in both holistic medicine and cosmetology, this rejuvenation procedure uses liquid nitrogen to treat a variety of conditions including skin tags, oedema, inflammation, and joint pain disorders. When used strictly for aesthetic purposes, cryotherapy also has much gentler applications, working by constricting the facial blood vessels to push blood to the superficial skin layer through microcirculation (activation of the smallest vessels). This action “reboots” the dermal cells, tricking them into behaving younger for a clear, candle-lit radiance.
Although this procedure sounds fairly cutting-edge, this technology has actually been around for ages. Dating as far back to Ancient Egypt in 2500 BCE, the practice of using cold energy to heal injuries and skin lesions has been a long-standing tradition.
How Cryotherapy works in skin care
Cryotherapy facials are performed by a general practitioner, dermatologist or nurse. After applying numbing cream to your face, the technician will administer ice-cold vapor to your skin for 2-3 minutes. It sounds daunting but most people describe the sensation as tingly--much like a winter breeze. As the blood vessels constrict, they speed up cellular metabolism and increase oxygenation of the dermal cells, accelerating their ability to repair, strengthen and grow.
During the healing process, you’ll notice improvements in texture, tone, and clarity; your complexion will also appear fresher and more luminous. In terms of safety, this procedure is considered low risk in the hands of an experienced practitioner; however, there are a couple potential downsides: the rare possibility of a freezer burn and the costly price of treatment ($200-500 per appointment).
To sidestep these cons, many skincare companies are finding amazing ways to develop home remedies that mimic the effects of cryotherapy facials. Yes, really!
Cryotherapy facial alternatives
Rather than using sub-zero temperatures to constrict the blood vessels, cosmetic chemists are using an advanced science called epigenetics to create oxygenative topical treatments. The goal of these formulas is to transmit antioxidants to your dermis, sending signals to the DNA of your skin cells to start functioning in a “younger” way.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes this process as turning on a switch – as we age, the cellular switches that keep our skin young gradually go off, so to keep these signals turned on, scientists have found breakthrough results with the antioxidant properties of Bilberry extract! And the great news is Bilberry treatments are a fraction of the cost of cryotherapy!
Skin therapy with bilberry
Cryogenic-like skin care is gaining momentum in the beauty industry. Among the most popular is the Revitalizing Jelly Night Treatment, a unique Bilberry-based formula and winner of a BYRDIE Eco Beauty Award in 2021. This intense moisturizer oxygenates the upper dermal layer with vitamins and natural fatty acids, waking up your complexion with an illuminated wakefulness.
Cosmetic researchers believe that over time, as the skin continues to absorb flavonoids from Bilberry, it sends “age-defying information tickets” that re-instruct the DNA of your dermal cells. Eventually, you may notice various youthful changes: crow’s-feet can appear fainter, lips and cheeks might feel more pillowy, and your forehead could appear tighter.
In comparison to cryotherapy facials, opting for bilberry-based products is far more affordable. And you can simulate the cooling, tingling sensation of cryotherapy by popping your Jelly in the refrigerator!
Whether it’s liquid nitrogen or good ol’ antioxidants, the key takeaway here is that your skin cells thrive on oxygen. And while cryotherapy facials are fantastic for giving your skin that energy-reviving rush, you can always opt for a nutrient-rich jelly treatment to spoil yourself at home. No matter which indulgence you choose, remember that consistency is key: the more you repeat the process, the firmer and clearer your skin should stay.
About the author, Naomi Furgiuele
Naomi is the founder of Nuria and a self-professed nerd with a love for all things science and skin care. She’s had a hand in product development for some of the biggest global beauty brands in the business, gets some of her best ideas while out on a run, and loves her exfoliator almost as much as her awesome family.