Cold-Plasma Facials Are All the Rage Right Now — Here's What to Know

I'll be the first to admit I'm not someone who really "gets" science. I never paid much attention in physics class, chemistry was not my jam (unless we're talking about men — in which case, yes, I am single and ready to mingle), and biology never intrigued me. However, when it comes to science in skin care, I'm all ears (and usually face). Recently, I had a facial where an aesthetician used a cold-plasma gun during a treatment — something I had never experienced or even heard of prior to my treatment. While I didn't go into my appointment intending to have a cold-plasma treatment, I left with glowing skin, which left me curious to learn more.

Cold plasma, otherwise known as nonthermal atmospheric pressure plasma, is "a technology that can be used to treat a wide range of dermatologic conditions," according to one study. These conditions include acne, loss of skin elasticity, and even hair loss. If you're interested in learning more about the treatment, ahead, we chat with two skin-care experts who answer all our questions about cold plasma, including what the benefits are and whether or not there are any side effects.

What Is Cold Plasma in Skin Care?

A cold-plasma facial is generally done with the use of a cold-plasma device, which is typically a handheld device in pen or gun form, the latter with a larger head to treat larger areas, the former to treat smaller areas. While there are many different options on the market, the general idea is the same. "Cold plasma consists of gases, such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen, generated by electrical devices that can affect biological processes on the skin," Teresa Song, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical in New York City, tells POPSUGAR. During a cold-plasma facial, a licensed professional will glide the device across your skin in any area you are trying to treat.

Cold plasma has also been utilized in over-the-counter skin-care products, such as Dr. Perricone's Cold Plasma Plus+ line, which includes face masks, essences, and even a lip product.

What Are the Benefits of Cold Plasma?

"There are preliminary studies investigating the benefit of using cold plasma for wound healing, skin generation, and antimicrobial properties," Dr. Song says, adding that in skin-cell-line studies, cold plasma was even proposed to have antiaging properties. "Nonhuman studies also showed that cold plasma may induce hair follicle stem cell growth, with therapeutic potential in treating hair loss. Additionally, cold plasma may be used to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and eczema, and it was also shown to destabilize viruses and inhibit fungal growth."

Cynthia Franco, a celebrity aesthetician, has used cold plasma in treatments on her clients and can attest to the benefits. "Cold plasma sterilizes the skin and kills the bacteria that causes [acne]. So far we are seeing effective results in under a month." Additionally, Franco has had success in using the device for hair regrowth. "I personally have noticed my eyebrows have made a comeback after my '90s makeup artist days of over-plucking," she says.

Who Is a Good Candidate For Cold Plasma?

Is cold plasma for everyone? The treatment can be used on most skin types but should be avoided in patients with sensitive skin or inflammatory skin conditions. Additionally, Franco notes that cold-plasma treatments using a handheld device are not recommended for those who are pregnant, have epilepsy, or are currently using a pacemaker.

Dr. Song says that the treatment is generally well-tolerated and doesn't damage the barrier or decrease skin moisture, but some people may experience temporary warming or redness in the area due to heat transfer from the particles.

Another biggie? The results might sometimes be different. "Because this technology is not standardized and delivery mechanisms vary, the effects are not reproducible among different machines," Dr. Song says.

Is a Cold-Plasma Treatment Worth It?

Pricing for a cold-plasma facial can cost anywhere from $200 to $700, depending on the treatment location and where your provider is located. While the benefits are major, there are a few things to consider before booking an appointment. "Cold plasma should improve pores, skin texture, elasticity, and glow given its biostimulatory effects," Dr. Song says. "However, the results are likely short-lived, and treatment would likely need to be repeated in a few weeks."