Cryotherapy Facial – What Is It, Benefits, And How It Works?

Medically reviewed by Patrick, MD, FACS
Written by Ramona Sinha

I’m sure you have heard of botox. But, have you ever heard of something called ‘frotox’? It’s the nickname that the beauty industry has coined for cryotherapy facial. Cryotherapy facial is a treatment in which your skin is exposed to subzero temperatures. It is the hottest (pun intended!) skin care treatment right now that celebs are obsessed with. Scroll down to learn more about it.

In This Article

What Is Cryotherapy Facial?


Cryotherapy means ‘cold therapy.’ It is a treatment in which your body or a body part (such as your face) is exposed to subzero temperatures for a few minutes.

This technique was first developed in Japan in 1978. The Japanese rheumatologist, Dr. Toshima Yamaguchi, is credited with developing this technique. He primarily used this technique to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Soon, the benefits of cryotherapy moved beyond arthritis. It proved beneficial for treating inflammation, psoriasis, and tissue pain and revitalizing the skin.

Cryotherapy can be done on just one particular area of your body or your entire body. When it is done on the face, it is called ‘cryotherapy facial,’ and when it is done on your body, it is called ‘whole-body cryotherapy.’ The way it is administered depends on the specific area of the body you are addressing.

In whole-body cryotherapy, your body is enclosed in a small chamber. You need to stand inside a chamber that surrounds only your body, leaving an opening for your head. Once your body is inside the chamber, its temperature is dropped to anywhere between -200° and -300° Fahrenheit. The aesthetician blows a cold stream of air that is made of vaporized liquid nitrogen. Your body is exposed to that temperature for just a few minutes

When exposed to freezing temperature, your body thinks that it’s freezing. This triggers the natural healing mechanism of your body. It accumulates blood in the core of your body to keep it warm. This expands your capillaries, and the white blood cells start working at a faster pace to protect you. During those minutes, your brain also releases hormones, such as adrenaline and endorphins, to stimulate your organs. This reaction facilitates cell rejuvenation, boosts your immune function, and promotes self-healing.

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Cryotherapy facial does not involve such a chamber. Here is what you can expect during a session.

How Cryotherapy Facial Works: What To Expect During A Session


Different doctors might follow slightly different processes for cryotherapy, but overall, the approach remains the same.

  • Before the treatment, your face is thoroughly cleansed and massaged. This helps in lymphatic drainage and elimination of toxins and tension from your facial muscles.
  • Your face might be exposed to steam. If you have any breakouts, they will be extracted with a quick session of microdermabrasion.
  • In some places, your face may be exposed to different light frequencies to aid repair, kill bacteria, and boost collagen production. This helps in improving your skin’s health.

Now, the cryotherapy session begins.

  • Your eyes are covered with protective goggles.
  • A cold blast of liquid nitrogen is pumped all over your face using a tube attached to the cryotherapy machine. The nozzle of the tube has lasers that measure the temperature of your skin continuously.
  • The tube is continuously moved all over your face. This is to ensure that no particular area of your face gets too cold.

A cryotherapy facial session lasts for 2-3 minutes. Once the process is over, your safety goggles are removed. In many places, a cryotherapy session is followed by other spa facial treatments. You may receive red LED light therapy (to increase skin radiance), a facial massage, and a hydrating mask to boost your skin’s health. Immediately after the procedure, your skin will feel tighter and smoother.

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Whether you are opting for just a facial or a full-body session, cryotherapy offers multiple benefits. Let’s explore them in the next section.

Benefits Of Cryotherapy Facial For Skin


1. It Helps Improve Atopic Dermatitis Symptoms

A 2008 study involving 18 adults with mild to moderate levels of atopic dermatitis examined the efficacy of cryotherapy in reducing AD symptoms. Most of the participants experienced improvement in their condition. However, three of them complained of mild acral (areas of limbs, ear, and nose) frostbite. Overall, the subjects regarded the process as pleasant and were willing to follow the course of treatment (1).

2. It Helps Reduce Acne

A study done on mice found that exposing the sebaceous glands to a temperature of -8° Celsius reduced the number of sebocytes (sebum-producing cells), thus preventing excessive sebum production (2).

3. It Improves Blood Circulation

When you undergo cryotherapy facial, the intense cold air makes your blood vessels contract and then expand. This leads to increased blood flow to your skin and makes it look healthy and radiant.

4. It Tightens Your Skin Pores

The cold temperature of cryotherapy tightens your skin’s pores. This prevents the accumulation of dirt and bacteria in your pores.

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Other Benefits Of Cryotherapy

1. It Eases Pain

Cryotherapy is mainly used by athletes to treat muscle spasms and injuries. When your body is exposed to cold, it numbs the irritated nerve and helps in easing acute injuries and swelling. The cold also helps minimize inflammation, thus treating bruises, strains, and sprains (3).

2. It Eases Migraine Symptoms

A study found that cold therapy could ease migraine symptoms effectively. The study involved 101 patients (of which only 55 participants were included in the data analysis) with a migraine headache targeting their carotid arteries at the neck. The recordings were measured at various time intervals, such as during the onset of pain, after 15 minutes, after 30 minutes, and after 1 hour. And 77% of the participants said that the cold therapy helped in easing the pain (4).

Although the study claims that cryotherapy helps with migraine, the FDA does not have any evidence to support this claim (5).

Cryotherapy facial has many benefits, but it also comes with its fair share of risks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet cleared cryotherapy as a potential treatment option for many skin and health conditions. The risks and side effects of cryotherapy are discussed below.

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Side Effects And Risk Factors Of Cryotherapy


Anna Ghambaryan, a scientific reviewer at FDA, says that asphyxiation is the most significant risk posed by whole-body cryotherapy. She states that the amount of nitrogen in an enclosed area may cause oxygen deficiency, which can lead to hypoxia and loss of consciousness (5). Other potential risks include:

  • Frostbite
  • Ice burns
  • Numbness and tingling sensation
  • Redness

Also, avoid cryotherapy if you have:

  • Respiratory issues
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • High blood pressure
  • History of seizures
  • Metal implants in your body
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Anemia
  • Or, are pregnant

Further research is needed to prove the efficacy of cryotherapy as a treatment option for skin and health issues. If you decide to go for cryotherapy facial or whole-body cryotherapy (keeping in mind that the FDA does not approve it), discuss it with your doctor before scheduling your appointment.

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Do have any more questions about this new facial treatment? Post them in the comments section below, and we’ll get back to you!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you get a cryotherapy facial?

Getting a cryotherapy facial 2-3 times a week for 2-3 weeks is recommended to repair damaged skin, treat the symptoms of a skin condition, or to get a youthful glow.

Is cryotherapy good for acne?

Yes, it helps reduce acne by tightening skin pores and minimizing excess sebum production.

Does cryotherapy hurt?

Cryotherapy is a non-invasive procedure. Though it is very cold, it won’t hurt you as much as ice does.


  1. Whole-Body Cryotherapy in Atopic…”, JAMA Dermatology
  2. Longitudinal, 3D In Vivo Imaging of…”, ScienceDirect
  3. Cryotherapy”, New York Chiropractice College
  4. Randomized Controlled Trial…”, Hawai’i Journal of Medicine & Public Health, US National Library of Medicine
  5. Whole Body Cryotherapy…“, U.S. Food & Drug Administration

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Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.