Frotox: Face-freezing treatments reduce wrinkles and boost radiance
New treatments that use extremely cold temperatures are the hottest beauty trend.
From reducing wrinkles and boosting radiance to firming the skin, exposing the body to plummeting temperatures can have multiple benefits, say the experts behind these procedures.
“Therapies that use cold temperature can stimulate circulation,” says Dr. Preema Vig, medical director of Beyond MediSpa at Harvey Nichols, UK.
“When used in the right way through the correct technology and methods, it’s possible to see benefits in fat reduction and skin toning.”
We’ve all heard of Botox, but a new technique set to become widely available this summer has earned the nickname “Frotox”.
Iovera – a toxin-free alternative to Botox – uses a technique called cryoneuromodulation to banish fine lines.
The 20-minute procedure involves placing a device filled with liquid nitrogen next to the nerves that control the muscles that cause wrinkles.
“The liquid nitrogen freezes the targeted nerves on the forehead and between the brows,” says Harley Street plastic surgeon Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, who has been trialing and refining the procedure developed by California-based lab Myoscience Inc. for more than a year.
“This puts the nerves into temporary hibernation, so muscles relax and wrinkles disappear.
“Unlike Botox, which takes four days to work, the effects can be seen immediately and last for up to four months. And as nitrogen occurs naturally in the body – unlike Botox – you aren’t putting a foreign substance in to your system.”
Cold therapy is also being used in a new generation of super-powered facials. The Cryoderm facial costs about $800, but practitioners say the price tag reflects the cutting-edge technologies used in the treatment.
The 75-minute session combines cold therapy with exfoliating microdermabrasion, lymphatic-drainage massage and collagen-boosting radio frequency.
“The cold causes the blood vessels to contract and then dilate, which improves the oxygen and nutrient supply to the skin’s surface, making it appear more radiant,” says facialist Rani Mirza, who has performed the treatment on celebrities including Anna Friel, Natalie Imbruglia and Erin O’Connor.
“My clients like it because it gives their skin a taut and more defined look,” she adds.
A more affordable option comes from Parisian brand Anne Semonin. Cheryl Cole is said to be keen on the “Ice” Cryotherapy Super Facial, which includes a cleanse and exfoliation followed by a puff-reducing massage using ice cubes made with marine spring water, moisturizing red algae and evening primrose oil.
Cold therapy is also being used to shift fat and cellulite. Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Alba are said to be fans of the Bioslimming Body Wrap.
Despite the trend, not everyone is warming to the idea of cold therapy.
“Some of these treatments can break down fat and tighten skin, but results are unpredictable,” says cosmetic doctor Mervyn Patterson.
“Treatments such as Frotox are at very early stages and we know little about its long-term safety and effectiveness.
“Low temperatures can be soothing after surgical procedures and temporarily rejuvenating, but there is no evidence to support claims that this type of therapy has lasting anti-ageing benefits.”