When to Use Ice Cubes to Fade Acne Scars

By Tracy Morris

Picking at pimples is an absolute no-no—it'll only leave behind lasting acne scars. If you do end up with red or dark spots, some people recommend applying ice to heal the scarring. But does this old home remedy really work?

Closeup portrait of beautiful young woman applies ice to face
credit: ValuaVitaly/iStock/GettyImages
When to Use Ice Cubes to Fade Acne Scars

Alternating between ice and heat on any wounded area is known to reduce swelling, shrink blood vessels and stimulate blood flow. As a result, oxygen-rich blood speeds healing. Icing acne-infected skin and scars may help to gently heal scar tissue, but it's not exactly tried and tested. Even if icing does reduce some scarring, it won't help deep pitted scars like ice pick scars.

Ice is most beneficial in the early stages of scarring, when acne inflammation is active. Icing the inflamed areas for 15 minutes at a time during this stage can minimize scarring, reduce inflammation and help the eruption heal. Ice can also diminish the pain of inflamed acne, helping to reduce the likelihood of picking or prodding.

But honestly, more potent treatments are more likely to be effective than plain old ice. Exfoliate with a scrub two to three times a week, and invest in a vitamin C cream or serum to fade scars.