Should Skincare Products Be Refrigerated?
Have you seen the newest skincare trend taking Instagram by storm? Mini skincare fridges. Aka tiny fridges for your face creams. Yes, they’re very cute, and yes, they’re the perfect way to flex all your gorgeously-packaged beauty potions on social media, do we really need a skincare fridge? Are they really worth shelling out our hard-earned money for? To answer that question, we first must explore another question:
Why Keep Skincare Products in the Fridge?
Is it actually good to keep skincare products in the fridge? Why would we need to do that?
In short, we refrigerate skincare products to keep them cool and effective.
If you’ve ever asked yourself where to store skincare products, you definitely know that some products benefit from being stored in cool, dark places. And speaking broadly, storing your skincare products at a consistent temperature will help lengthen their longevity.
"Generally, but not always, refrigerating products will help extend their shelf life," Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, tells Allure.
"Moreover, the cooling sensation on the skin from applying a refrigerated product may help provide a more soothing effect than a room-temperature product. This is likely because the cool temperature may calm over-firing nerves that lead to itch and discomfort in the skin," Zeichner elaborates.
So there we go. Storing our skincare in the fridge can extend its shelf life and will provide some cooling and soothing effects.
Do We Need to Refrigerate Skincare?
I mean, should we collectively start storing all our serums alongside our salad dressings?
Not necessarily, says Elizabeth Tanzi, founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and associate clinical professor at the department of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center.
Tanzi tells Allure that the singular product that would benefit from the chillier temperature of a fridge would be a cream or gel created specifically to de-puff tired eyes.
"The fact that it's cold helps to vasoconstrict and may help with puffiness," says Tanzi. "Otherwise, I don't think there is much difference between room-temperature and cold products."
(And btw, if you were wondering what exactly vasoconstrict means, we’ve got you covered.)
Vasoconstriction: the narrowing of blood vessels by small muscles in their walls. When blood vessels constrict, blood flow is slowed or blocked.
But the beauty-inducing benefits that can be found within the chilly, unlit interior of a mini skincare fridge do go beyond making you look more awake.
Example: Two of the skincare world’s heaviest hitters are Retinol and Vitamin C, ingredients which are known to break down faster when exposed to light and heat.
“Many skincare products benefit from being kept in the fridge. Specifically, natural products and those that contain few preservatives,” Clinicbe founder and aesthetic doctor, Dr. Barbara Kubicka, explains to Vogue.
I already know that I love the results that I personally get from the products I use in my own skincare routine, and if you’re telling me that I can do something to increase those results, I’m basically sold - and judging from the amount of interest in this topic, I don’t think I’m alone.
But if you’re anything like me, at this point you may be asking yourself:
Can I Refrigerate Skincare in a Normal Fridge vs. a Skincare Mini Fridge?
In short, you certainly can stick your skincare in your regular fridge if that’s what you want to do. But be warned: The fridges that store your food are typically set at roughly 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit (1.66 to 3.33 degrees Celsius), while it’s recommended to set skincare fridges between 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (4.44 to 15.55 degrees Celsius).
So storing skincare products at those lower temperatures of the average kitchen fridge can make them more difficult to spread on your skin, and you might end up having to wait for them to thaw out a bit.
Plus, I have to admit that the inconvenience of having to transport all my skincare potions back and forth each time I wash my face sounds — off-putting.
While I ponder just how far I’m willing to go to increase the efficacy of my face creams, we’ve got another topic to explore. And that’s because if we know that some of our skincare products, but not all, can benefit from being kept in a fridge, we have to ask:
What Skincare Products Benefit from Being Stored in a Fridge?
As we mentioned earlier, products that should be kept in a cool dark place could benefit from being stored in a fridge. Products whose purpose is to depuff will typically benefit from being kept in a fridge, as will tools used to reduce puffiness or facial massage.
Take a look at some of the common skincare products that are most commonly kept in the fridge:
- Aloe vera
- Eye creams
- Gua sha tools
- Face rollers
- Facial mists and essences
- Hydrogel under-eye masks
- Sheet masks
- Vitamin C serum
And finally, this brings us to our last question.
What Skincare Products Should Not be Refrigerated?
Ok, so this one isn’t actually a skincare product, but it exists in the same realm and we should cover it:
Don’t put your makeup in the fridge. Makeup is specifically formulated to be used at room temperature; this allows it to spread with a smooth and even finish across your skin.
As far as actual skincare products go, keep clay masks, or any products with clay, out of the fridge, as the cooler temperatures could cause the consistency of the clay to harden.
I’d also recommend keeping facial oils out of the fridge for the fact that the colder temps could cause them to separate or solidify, depending on their formulation.
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