Sure, you have a refrigerator in your kitchen. Maybe you even have a mini-fridge, the kind where you store beer or wine or just keep some extra snacks cold. But what about a refrigerator dedicated solely to your skin care products?
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Social media influencers’ recent love of so-called skin care fridges would have you believe that you absolutely must own one. But just how necessary is it to keep your skin care products on ice?
Dermatologist Melissa Piliang, MD, addresses some of the hype behind skin care fridges — what they are, which products to keep in them and whether you really need one.
Fans of skin care fridges claim that refrigeration is a vital way to preserve the integrity of the ingredients in their skin care products — especially unstable ingredients that are prone to breaking down in the heat, like vitamin C.
Thus, these more-mini-than-usual mini fridges are designed specifically for storing your skin care products. They’re typically teeny-tiny, coming in at just a few liters large, and they come in fun colors and designs. Think of them like very cold toiletry bags that are just big enough to frost some of your faves.
“They’re cute, aren’t they?” Dr. Piliang says. But that doesn’t mean they’re necessary.
If you’ve ever tried facial icing or put cold aloe vera on a sunburn, you know it sometimes just feels good to apply an icy-cold product to your skin — like flipping to the cold side of the pillow.
“It can feel very nice to put something cool on your face, especially on a hot day,” Dr. Piliang agrees. “If your skin is irritated, a soothing mask can feel good, and aloe vera that comes from the fridge is a relief for sunburnt skin.”
Beyond that, though, the benefits of refrigerating your skin care products are slim to none. Skin care products go through rigorous testing to ensure that they work well and can withstand some variations in temperature.
“Generally, refrigeration doesn’t change the ingredients of the product,” she says. “It doesn’t make them more or less effective. So, it ends up being more about how it feels on your skin.”
If you’re thinking of tucking your skin care products in next to the produce, hold up. The fridge that stores your food is typically about 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 38 F (1.66 degrees Celsius to 3.33 C), while it’s recommended that skin care fridges are set to 40 F to 60 F (4.44 C to 15.55 C).
So, why does it matter? Storing your skin care products in super-cold temps can cause them to become so chilly that they become difficult to use. You might actually have to wait for them to warm up before you can smooth them onto your skin, which puts a real damper on your ability to dive into your skin care routine.
If you do prefer chilled facial products, skin care fridges are a better choice than the kind that stores your food. They can also be a handy way to store everything in one spot, keeping you from having to run to the kitchen every time you want to apply your favorite serum.
Again, skin care fridges are unnecessary. But if you really love the feeling of cold products on your clean skin, go for it — especially if you live in a very hot climate and/or don’t have air conditioning.
Remember, though: You actually don’t need many products for your everyday skin care routine! Make sure you’re not overdoing it and using a bunch of products your skin simply doesn’t need.
All that said, products that are generally fine to chill include:
Keep that foundation out of the fridge — and the rest of your cosmetics, too.
“Makeup is meant to be at room temperature or body temperature to be able to go on the skin smoothly and spread evenly,” Dr. Piliang explains. “Otherwise, it may not spread as well, which can result in an uneven skin tone.”
Other products to keep out of the cold include:
Think about skin care products like Goldilocks thought about her porridge: Not too hot and not too cold, but juuust right. Dr. Piliang shares some suggestions for keeping your skin care products in tip-top shape.
The one outlier is sunscreen, which you can (and should) carry with you, even on super-hot days.
“Sunscreen is an exception,” Dr. Piliang says. “Those usually don’t break down from the heat, so it’s OK to carry them in your beach bag and keep them in your car so that you always have them on hand.”
To learn from Dr. Piliang on related topics, listen to the Health Essentials Podcast episode, “Skin Care Tips, Tricks and Trends.” New episodes of the Health Essentials Podcast publish every Wednesday.