The Cold Treatment
Keeping your cool is now as good for your skin as it is for your heart and mind. The latest skincare and eye-care products promise to refresh and invigorate us.
Different degrees of cold do different things to our body.
In one category is the hardcore swim-in-nearfreezing-lakes type for mind-over-matter physical endurance. It’s a similar idea to cryotherapy, where you’re blasted with air at temperatures of minus 110 to minus 150 deg C in a chamber for about three minutes. Professional athletes like LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo are fans, using it for muscle recovery and to boost alertness. The modern-day version evolved from Whole Body Cryotherapy, introduced in 1978 by Japanese researcher Dr Toshima Yamauchi to treat rheumatoid arthritis and relieve pain.
In another category are milder methods: an ice pack to ease swelling; a cold shower to get you moving; or a cold press “to give immediate relief from severe itching from hives or atopic dermatitis, redness and swelling”, says Dr Rachael Teo, dermatologist at The Dermatology Practice @ Gleneagles. “Cooler temperatures soothe skin by reducing the blood flow there.”
That chill factor is what beauty brands are capitalising on now. Why? Because when skin is calm and soothed, it reportedly “behaves” better.
Research from Laneige suggests that heat stimulates hyperpigmentation, so cooler skin = less abnormal pigmentation. Another Korean brand, Cremorlab, says that when skin is less inflamed by heat (and inflammation affects skin’s general health), it ages naturally as opposed to unnaturally.
Clarins’, La Mer’s and Christian Dior’s takes are more straightforward: make products with a cooler feel, because this is better in our climate – when skin is cooler, it has less of a tendency to grease up, itch or redden.
While most of these products cool skin mildly (that means no more than just a few seconds to a couple of minutes), Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask – designed to refresh and soothe tired and irritated skin with the addition of menthol – feels so aircon cool that you don’t want to wash it off. The invigorating sensation lasts 20-30min even after you’ve removed it. Now, that’s cool.