Do I need a refrigerator for skin care? – Cleveland Clinic


Of course, 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 a few extra snacks cool. But what about a fridge dedicated solely to your skincare products?

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Social media influencers’ recent love of so-called skincare fridges would have you thinking you’re absolutely to have to own one. But how necessary is it to keep your skincare products on ice?

Dermatologist Melissa Piliang, MD, addresses some of the hype behind skincare refrigerators — what they are, what products to store in them, and whether you really need them.

What is a Skincare Fridge?

Fans of skincare fridges say refrigeration is an essential way to preserve the integrity of ingredients in their skincare products, especially unstable ingredients that tend to break down in the heat, such as vitamin C.

So, these smaller-than-usual mini fridges are designed specifically for storing your skincare products. They’re usually tiny, weighing just a few gallons, and available in fun colors and patterns. Think of them as seriously cold toiletry bags that are just big enough to frost some of your favorites.

“They are cute, aren’t they?” says Dr. Piliang. But that doesn’t mean they’re necessary.

Do Skincare Fridges Work?

If you’ve ever tried face icing or put cold aloe vera on a sunburn, you know that sometimes it’s nice to apply an icy product to your skin, like turning yourself over to the cold side of the pillow.

“It can be really nice to put something cool on your face, especially on a hot day,” Dr. Piliang agrees. “If your skin is irritated, a soothing face mask can help, and aloe vera straight from the fridge provides relief to sunburned skin.”

Beyond that, however, the benefits of refrigerating your skincare products are slim to none. Skincare products go through rigorous testing to ensure they work well and can withstand certain temperature swings.

“In general, refrigeration does not change the ingredients of the product,” she says. “That doesn’t make them more or less effective. So it ends up being more about how it feels on your skin.

Can I put skin care products in the kitchen refrigerator?

If you plan to put your skincare products next to products, wait. The refrigerator that stores your food is typically around 35 degrees Fahrenheit to 38 F (1.66 degrees Celsius to 3.33 C), while skincare refrigerators are recommended to be set at 40 F to 60F (4.44C to 15.55C).

So why is it important? Storing your skin care products in extremely cold temperatures can make them so cold that they become difficult to use. In fact, you may 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 skincare routine.

If you prefer refrigerated facial products, skin care refrigerators are a better choice than ones that store your food. They can also be a convenient way to keep everything in one place, saving you from having to run to the kitchen every time you want to apply your favorite serum.

What products can I put in a skincare fridge?

Again, skincare fridges are useless. But if you really like the feel 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 a lot of products for your daily skincare routine! Make sure you don’t overdo it and use a bunch of products that your skin just doesn’t need.

That said, products that generally cool well include:

What Not to Put in a Skincare Fridge

Keep this foundation out of the fridge, along with the rest of your cosmetics.

“Makeup is meant to be at room temperature or body temperature so it can be applied to the skin smoothly and spread evenly,” says Dr. Piliang. “Otherwise, it may not spread as well, which can lead to uneven skin tone.”

Other products to protect from the cold include:

  • Clay masks or other products containing clay.
  • Face oils.
  • Moisturizer.

Tips for storing your skincare products safely

Think of skin care products like Goldilocks thought of their porridge: neither too hot nor too cold, but just right. Dr. Piliang shares some suggestions for keeping your skincare products in top condition.

  • Room temperature is best. Most products are designed to be stored at room temperature. “It’s best to store your skincare products in a cabinet in a climate-controlled room,” she says, “You want them to be around 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit so they stay nice.”
  • Keep them away from UV rays. “You don’t want to put your products on a windowsill,” warns Dr Piliang. “Ultraviolet light can cause products to decompose.”
  • Avoid high temperatures. Have you ever left something in your car and come back to find it in a gloopy, gloppy mess? “You don’t want to store your skincare products in a very hot place.”

The only outlier is sunscreen, which you can (and should) take with you, even on hot days.

“Sunscreen is an exception,” says Dr. Piliang. “These don’t usually break down from the heat, so you can carry them in your beach bag and keep them in your car so you always have them on hand.”

To learn from Dr. Piliang on related topics, listen to the Health Essentials Podcast episode “Skincare Tips, Tricks & Trends.” New episodes of the Health Essentials podcast are released every Wednesday.

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