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.
No, you don't have to jump into an ice pool to cool yourself down with these new skincare products. Photo: 123rf.com
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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.
A cool product isn’t the same as a chilled product
Why? Because the former is made to chill even if it doesn’t go into the fridge. Also, not all beauty products are like champagne – better if it comes from the cooler. “The product may harden and become unstable at low temperatures, which in turn affects its efficacy,” says Mah Mei Hui, pharmacist and founder of The Skin Pharmacy.
Here are six to try, from the a cool factor that lasts from a few seconds to almost half an hour:
This story was originally published in the May 2018 issue of Her World magazine.