Should you refrigerate your skin care products?


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If you’re like most people, your skin care products probably live in your medicine cabinet. But more and more people are storing their serums, eye creams, moisturizers and more in the fridge — sometimes even buying a special mini-fridge just for their favorite masks and gels. The trend is so popular, there are countless videos on TikTok of people showing off their #skincarefridge.

But does your skin care benefit from being refrigerated? The answer isn’t all that clear-cut. To get to the bottom of it, we consulted two board-certified dermatologists on whether your skin care products should be stored in a fridge and rounded up a few highly rated skin care fridges in case you want to take the (cold) plunge.

SKIP AHEAD Should you refrigerate your skin care? | What are the benefits of refrigerating your skin care? | Are there any skin care products you should not refrigerate? | 5 skin care refrigerators 

Should you refrigerate your skin care products? 

Short answer: no, not necessarily. Long answer:  It may prolong the life span of some of your creams, lotions and serums. Most dermatologists recommend storing products in a cool, dry place. This is because heat and humidity can speed up the expiration date and change the active ingredients for the worse. 

On the flip side, placing them in a fridge may do the opposite. “Keeping some skin care ingredients at cooler temperatures helps prolong their shelf life,” says Azadeh Shirazi, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of AziMD Skincare. “Refrigeration can slow down the degradation of active ingredients, particularly antioxidants, and preservatives in skin care products, helping them maintain efficacy for a longer period.” 

Stacey Tull, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon at St. Charles County Dermatologic Surgery, notes that unless a product says that it needs refrigeration, you do not need to chill it. The one exception she makes: “I tell my patients is to store a physical (not chemical) sunscreen such as one with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in a cold place on hot days — not only to protect it from the potentially harmful effects of heat [on the formula] but also to encourage regular re-application every two hours.” 

What are the benefits of refrigerating your skin care? 

While you don’t have to refrigerate your products unless it clearly states to do so, there are some benefits you may experience if you choose to cool them down. According to experts, those benefits include: 

  • They may last longer: Keeping skin care products in the fridge may help extend their lifespan. This is especially true if you normally keep your skin care in the bathroom, which tends to get hot and humid when the shower or bath runs. Shirazi says that keeping them in the fridge can prevent the ingredients from degrading as quickly.
  • It can help fight inflammation: “Cold products can have anti-inflammatory benefits and provide a refreshing sensation when applied to the skin, especially for products like moisturizers or eye creams,” says Shirazi. Lower temperatures help constrict blood vessels, reducing redness and inflammation, making refrigerated skincare products beneficial for irritated or inflamed skin.” So, if you wake up with under-eye bags or were up late and are puffy in the morning, schmearing on a cool eye cream or moisturizer can help take that swelling down.
  • It’s refreshing: On a hot, summer day (or any day, really), putting a cool cream on your face will feel refreshing and energizing. This can be especially nice in the morning if you need a little wake-me-up moment. “Some skin care products, particularly those with gel or cream textures, may feel more refreshing when applied cold, which can enhance the overall skin care experience,” says Shirazi.

Are there any skin care products you should not refrigerate? 

Just because some skin care products can be refrigerated doesn’t mean all should. In fact, cooling some products can harm the formulas. “Certain formulations may become unstable or change in texture when exposed to cold temperatures,” says Shirazi. “It’s always best to consult with a dermatologist or skin care professional if you are unsure.” 

There are a few types of products that Shirazi says should not be refrigerated. “Refrigeration can cause oils to solidify or become cloudy, altering their texture and potentially reducing their efficacy,” she says. This means that face oil and oil cleansers should not be cooled. “Products containing emulsifiers, which help blend oil and water-based ingredients, may also become unstable or separate when refrigerated, compromising their effectiveness,” Shirazi adds. So, if you notice your product contains both oils (think jojoba oil or tea tree oil) and water-based ingredients (like aloe vera), you should skip putting them in the fridge. 

Highly rated skin care fridges that our editors like

If you want to refrigerate your skin care, you can make space next to your ketchup and mustard. Another option is to buy a tiny countertop fridge so your products have their own private spot to chill. Here are a few highly rated options to consider. 

Frigidaire Mini Portable Fridge

This fridge has a 4.3-star average from over 15,430 reviews on Amazon and comes in pink, mint, red and white. It can easily fit on a countertop at 10 inches tall by 10 inches deep by 7 inches wide. Though not made solely for skin care (it can also fit six cans of soda), it has plenty of room for most skin care bottles or jars. This mini fridge weighs three pounds, making it easy to move around. 

Living Enrichment Mini Fridge

With a 4.0-star average rating from over 3,050 reviews on Amazon, this mini fridge has dimensions similar to those of the Frigidaire option. It also has a removable shelf, which can be helpful if you have a taller bottle you need to make room for. It also comes with a 12V car adapter, meaning you can bring it on a road trip to keep items cool. 

CAYNEL Mini Fridge

This mini fridge can be set as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit, and a flip of the switch can also turn it into a warmer (though our experts don’t recommend warming your skin care products). It has a removable shelf and comes in ten colors. This fridge has a 4.3-star average rating from over 2,540 reviews on Amazon. 

CROWNFUL Mini Fridge 

Cool this mini fridge down to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or up to 149 degrees Fahrenheit if you want to use it for something other than skincare. It has a removable shelf and a slim pocket in the door that would be ideal for storing sheet masks. It comes in pink, blue and white and has a 4.5-star average rating from over 8,030 reviews on Amazon.

Cooluli 10L Mini Fridge

If you want a slightly bigger fridge for skin care, this option from Cooluli fits the bill. It measures just over 13 inches tall, 10 inches wide, and 11 inches deep and weighs 8 pounds. The fridge can be set as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit and has a warming setting. This fridge, which has a top handle for easy carrying, has a 4.3-star average rating from over 8,885 reviews on Amazon, and it comes in seven colors. 

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts with specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

Why trust NBC Select?

Bethany Heitman is a contributor at NBC Select and a journalist who regularly covers beauty, home and lifestyle. For this story, she interviewed two board-certified dermatologists.

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