You may slice a cucumber to temper a spicy margarita or use it as a hydrating ingredient for a salad or sandwich, but there’s good reason to use a frozen cucumber topically to freshen your skin.
According to a recently viral TikTok video, rubbing your skin first thing in the morning with a frozen cucumber does wonders for your facial skin. The blogger behind the TikTok video swears by this frozen cucumber hack, saying that it fights puffiness, redness, acne, large pores, and dry or non-moisturized skin.
How to use a frozen cucumber on your face
Cut the cucumber at one end to leave a smooth, exposed surface. Then place it in the freezer, inside a plastic bag. Since it’s cut and exposed, you’ll want to avoid both cross-contamination with other foods and freezer burn.
Once frozen, the uncut end will feel very cold, so wrap it in a paper towel to keep your hands warm. Then you’ll start rubbing the cut end of the cucumber over your face for a few minutes. It will start to thaw, so just cut a slice away from the end when you’re finished in the morning and let the cucumber refreeze with a brand new exposed surface.
Does using a frozen cucumber on your skin really work?
According to Erum N. Ilyas, MD, board certified dermatologist and CEO and founder of AmberNoon, the reasoning behind a frozen cucumber is that it’s cooling in its nature. “They can cool the skin and reduce vascular congestion, and they also have vitamin K, which has been shown to help with circulation as well,” she says.
The benefit to freezing the cucumber is similar to the benefits of cooling the skin. “This combines the science of massage of the lymphatics system in the skin with the cool durable quality of the frozen cucumber surface to maximize the benefits of removing excess inflammation and fluid in the skin,” she says.
“We do know that fluid tends to accumulate in the soft tissue of the face and around the eyes and it can worsen with allergies, rosacea, high blood pressure, and hormonal changes,” she explains. The longer the fluid is there, the more it will change the texture of the skin on the face. And you might notice that your skin starts to resemble the peel of citrus, like an orange, or that the bags under your eyes appear more prominent and deep.
“Aside from medications, a simple massage to gently work this excess fluid back into the lymphatic system can help control the effects of this swelling, and I’ll often tell patients to massage the skin around their eyes in a circular fashion to reduce the look of bags,” she explains. And as for the massage tool, a cucumber is a pretty good option.
Cucumbers are known for their skin benefits and have a very high water content, so they can freeze easily, much like an ice cube. “The cut surface has a slight texture but is not rough when thawed,” she says, so it won’t irritate your skin. Plus, cucumber also contains vitamins K, B, and C, among many minerals.
Basically, there’s no harm in trying the hack to see if you get similar results. “I am a proponent of even placing moisturizers in the fridge prior to applying them in order to cool inflammation and redness in the skin,” she says. A similar concept is used with jade rollers or ice rollers for the skin.
These are the steps in a dermatologist’s skin-care routine:
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