One ICU Nurse Swears By This $26 Tool for Improving Her Skin and Mental Health
"It’s honestly the only beauty tool I use."
While new parents and cramming-before-finals college students certainly understand what a "sleepless night" is, when it comes to healthcare professionals working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, we might need a whole new phrase for feeling drained. On top of being stressed and exhausted, medical staff is finding that wearing masks for long shifts is wrecking their skin, causing issues such as 'maskne' (acne caused from face masks), dryness, and irritation.
In an attempt to brighten the day of healthcare workers and say "thank you," Shape's beauty team and various other brands put together donations for hospitals in the New York City and New Jersey area, the epicenter of coronavirus at the time. After receiving her care package, Alex Simpson, R.N., a nurse in a surgical intensive care unit in New Jersey, told Shape editors that there was one standout product that she was "in love with"—saying that it helps to de-puff her skin and improves her mental health. "It’s honestly the only beauty tool I use," she raves. (Related: Medical Workers Are Speaking Out About Skin Breakdown Caused By Tight-Fitting Face Masks)
What is this amazing mystery product, you ask? The Stacked Skincare Cryotherapy Ice Roller (Buy It, $26, amazon.com), a stainless steel face tool that's meant to be popped in your freezer and then rolled over your skin to provide cool, soothing relief to calm inflammation and breakouts, minimize swelling and puffiness (perfect for under eyes), reduce redness, and soothe itchy skin or even gnarly sunburns.
"I have been wanting to try this product for at least a year—it’s always been on my list of things to get," says Simpson. "When Amanda [my coworker] brought them into work, and I saw what they were, I literally jumped up and down in the middle of my hospital's unit (not an exaggeration, as there are multiple witnesses)."
Simpson says that she noticed her skin has become puffier in the morning and after working multiple shifts at the hospital, and that she was using frozen spoons to de-puff her under-eye area. "I used to put cold spoons under my eyes, but when I saw this product and realized I could use it for my entire face and neck it just seemed like the perfect fit for me." And if you've ever tried the cold spoon trick, you probably know that it's not exactly comfortable—so the Cryotherapy Ice Roller is a welcomed find for those who suffer similar issues. "I love how cold it gets without being painful. I love the handle and how easy it is to move around my face and neck. I also love how I'm able to get underneath my eyes to really help with swelling," she adds.
Simpson is also a fan of how the roller helps distribute her beauty products evenly, so she ends up using less and saving in the long run. "I’m religious about applying serums and moisturizers in the morning and night. What the product has really shown me is how I can get a bigger bang for my buck. I find that I’m able to use less product, and the tool helps distribute an even layer all over my face," she explains. (Related: The Best At-Home Skin-Care Gadgets and Tech, According to the Pros)
Not only does she credit the gadget for a huge improvement in her skin, but Simpson also recognizes that it's helped improve her mental state. "I started using it in late March, right in the middle of the surge of COVID-19 at my hospital. We went from 48 ICU beds to 165 ICU beds alone. We were all stressed and I would religiously would use this daily to help my skin and also my mental state. It wasn’t just about skin-care—it was also about my mental and emotional health." Using the Stacked Skincare Cryotherapy Ice Roller even for just a few minutes a day allowed her a chance to practice self-care and check-in with herself during all the chaos.
Amazon reviewers echo Simpson's obsession with the Stacked Skincare Ice Roller, claiming it helps them feel "awake and ready to go," makes their skin appear "tight and glowing," and that it can be used on everything from puffy eyes to sore neck muscles.
It has a derm's approval, too: Rachel Nazarian, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist and fellow at the American Academy of Dermatology, likes it for people that have problems with inflammation and redness. It's super effective for those with skin conditions like rosacea, since it can flare up with heat, causing dilation of the blood vessels, which in turn causes an inflammatory cascade in the skin, explains Dr. Nazarian. "Applying a cool roller or cool compresses is a wonderful way to combat that, and also improve mottled (or patchy) skin," she adds.
This device works by encouraging little blood vessels in the skin to constrict, giving you a temporarily smoother appearance, says Dr. Nazarian. The only downside is that using a tool like this will decrease the absorption of topical ingredients in your skin-care products, because there’s less blood flow to the face and decreased circulation, she points out. But if its purpose is to reduce inflammation, redness, and puffiness, this tool is certainly the way to go. (Related: What Is Cryotherapy (And Should You Try It)?)
Simpson uses the ice roller morning and night for around five minutes (sometimes longer if she has time), and uses it in an upward motion. "I typically use this product two different ways: either in the morning, right when I wake up, or (my favorite) at night after I get home from a long shift at the hospital," she says. She does her nighttime skin-care routine, allowing all of her products to really sink in, and then finishes it off with her go-to Biossance Vitamin C Rose Oil (Buy It, $72, sephora.com) and the Stacked Skincare Ice Roller. "I see immediate results right after! My skin looks less swollen, but my favorite is how my skin feels. It feels tight, not a chemically induced tightness, a natural firmness that is so satisfying," adds Simpson.
If you're looking for an affordable way to eliminate under-eye puffiness, reduce skin redness and inflammation, or simply provide soothing, cooling relief to stressed skin as a form of self-care, look no further than this nurse's must-have beauty tool. And at a price tag under $30, it'll still beat those cold spoons in your freezer.