If applying dry ice and acetone to your skin sounds like a big no-no, you’re only half right. Sure, acetone is the strong-smelling substance in nail polish remover that singes your nostrils with every inhale, but apparently it’s been known for dermatologists and aestheticians to use the ingredients to treat the skin.
In a recent episode of Khloé Kardashian’s reality show, Revenge Body, skin expert Christie Kidd, PA-C, was featured performing a procedure using dry ice dipped in liquid nitrogen to get rid of acne, and later claimed that Kendall and Kylie Jenner both use this treatment themselves. As Marie Claire pointed out, the process is called a slush facial and it uses acetone coupled with dry ice to exfoliate and deep-clean the skin.
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According to Dr. Heidi Waldorf, Director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology at The Mount Sinai Hospital, this treatment is an old one: “Dry ice slush was first reported for acne and acne scars in 1941—so it is not new,” she explains. “It was found to be more helpful than surgical therapy, the alternative at the time for deep cysts and acne nodules.” However, Waldorf points out that this treatment was used before the invention of topical and oral retinoids and intralesional steroids (which is currently used to treat skin flare ups), adding that although this treatment may improve acne, there is no evidence it is better than modern peels.
Unsurprisingly, Dr. Waldorf isn’t the only professional to feel this way: “This is a very old technique to reduce oil and control acne,” says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, Founder & Director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center. “It will help, but we have far better treatments that are safer for the skin because the skin can get burned if a dry ice slush is done incorrectly,” she adds.
Considering the fact that both Jenner sisters are fans of the process (and the treatment has been around for a long time), we can’t help but be intrigued. Just keep in mind that it’s super important to talk to a licensed professional about this treatment— and under no circumstances should you put acetone and dry ice on your own face at home.
For a slush facial demo, check out the video below: