If you were the lucky recipient of a skincare fridge over the holidays, you’ve probably already done a TikTok #shelfie (or two); but before you start shooting another skincare fridge organization video, it’s important to ask, “Can all skincare products go in the fridge?”
Short answer: No.
Meet the Experts
Sherry Sanvictores, MSN, NP, is a dermatology nurse practitioner.
While keeping skincare products cool seems innocuous, there are certain products that do better at room temperature and should not be refrigerated — no matter how cute it looks on your mini fridge’s shelves. Here’s your guide to cold storing your skincare.
Why refrigerate skincare products?
Most skincare products are meant to be kept in a cool, dry place in order to maintain their shelf life. “Especially for skincare with active ingredients, one shouldn’t keep it in a warm or sunlit space,” explains dermatology nurse practitioner, Sherry Sanvictores, MSN, NP. “Keeping products in a cool place can help slow down the breakdown of the active ingredients.”
Considering most of us keep our skincare products in a warm and humid bathroom, a skin fridge could be the key to your favorite moisturizer lasting a long time.
Which skincare should I keep in the fridge?
First, take a look at the active ingredients in your product:
- Any skincare products with retinol and vitamin C will benefit from refrigeration. “Heat and light will degrade these active ingredients,” says Sanvictores. “So if you have a skincare fridge, absolutely keep these products in there.” Vitamin C and retinoids are very sensitive to heat and light. They will break down faster, in a process called oxidation, if stored somewhere with a lot of heat and light exposure. This is why most vitamin C and retinol products come in opaque packaging. To ensure the products stay potent, keep them in the fridge.
- While hyaluronic acid doesn’t need refrigeration in order to stay effective, chilling hyaluronic acid products can increase their soothing properties by bringing more blood circulation to the skin surface, which can lead to better moisture retention and tissue repair.
- Acne treatments with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid will stay effective longer when kept in the fridge. Prescription or antibiotic treatments for acne like clindamycin also must be refrigerated.
Another factor to consider is is your skincare product is 100% natural, organic, or has live cultures (such as probiotics. These products should be refrigerated as they has far less preservatives and a shorter shelf life. So should products with antioxidants, peptides and growth factors. “I would put medical grade skincare in the fridge,” says Sanvictores. “Why wouldn’t you want to keep your products working for as long as possible?”
As far as serums, it depends if the formula is water-based or oil-based. Any oil-based skincare product can harden and separate if it’s kept too cool, making it unusable. So keep your oil-based serums and balms at room temperature. If your serum is water-based then definitely keep it in the fridge, especially if it contains an active ingredient listed above.
What skincare products shouldn’t be refrigerated?
Aside from oil-based products, including makeup, which will get too hard in the fridge, keep your clay products, like clay masks, at room temperature. Not only will they harden if they get too cold, they can also become unusable due to a change in color and consistency.
Now that you know which products absolutely must be refrigerated and which are strictly verboten, you can go to town with stocking your skincare fridge. Besides extending shelf life, keeping the right skincare products cool can boost their efficacy in de-puffing, boosting circulation, and reducing the appearance of redness and inflammation.
Chilling your eye cream adds extra de-puffing benefits and can also reduce the look of dark circles thanks to temporary vasoconstriction (tightening of the blood vessels).
What’s better than a cool midday spritz to revive and rehydrate your skin?
There’s a reason why all those TikTokers stock their skincare fridge door shelves with colorful sheet masks — and not just because they’re aesthetic. Cooling your sheet mask adds soothing, anti-inflammatory benefits, whether your skin is irritated or simply tired after a long day.
“It’s just nice to refrigerate your moisturizer to give it that cooling effect,” says Sanvictores. A gel-based moisturizer can be better-absorbed into the skin when it’s chilled.
Whether it’s your jade roller, gua sha stones, face globes, or eye masks, keeping them refrigerated will help with de-puffing and circulation. Bonus if you use them in conjunction with your chilled serums and creams!
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