Glacial Rx: The Tip of the Iceberg

Featured image
Frederic Edwin Church, The Icebergs, 1861, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you suffer from hyperpigmentation, acne, rosacea, psoriasis or eczema? If so, there’s a new technology which addresses all of these conditions and may go even further, holding the potential to treat scars and even sports injuries. Really? Yes, really!

Lucia Miranda, Licensed Esthetician at the Shafer Clinic in New York City.

Glacial Rx is one of the newer and most effective FDA-cleared CryoAesthetic treatments,” says Lucia Miranda, Licensed Esthetician at the Shafer Clinic, going on to explain that it utilizes a new type of energy source called cryomodulation which uses cold to suppress the production of melanin and reduce inflammation.

“There’s nothing else like this.  It’s first-in-class and it was developed by the same people at Harvard who created Fraxel,” says New York City dermatologist, Bruce Katz, MD.

Dr. Bruce Katz, board-certified New York City dermatologist.

Resurfacing laser technologies like Fraxel, however, which tackle wrinkles and acne scars, among other things, treat the symptoms, not the causes of skin conditions, explains Tim Holt, President and CEO of R2 Technologies, the developers of Glacial Rx.

“Until we came along, no one was really talking about or addressing skin inflammation. We’ve coined “skinflammation” as a term because we want to create awareness among both consumers and providers that there’s a solution to inflammation in skin.”

Tim Holt, President and CEO of R2 Technologies, developers of Glacial Rx.

Glacial Rx combats “skinflammation” — which sits at the root of all the above-named conditions — by targeting the cytokines that create the redness, the rosacea, the acne and so on, reducing their production, as Miranda explains.

“We’ve been doing studies on all three of those conditions — eczema, psoriasis and rosacea — and we’ve been seeing very nice results with Glacial Rx,” proclaims Katz.

“Very nice” can also describe the outcomes for the treatment of melasma — a notoriously stubborn condition.  “I’ve has great success in treating melasma,” declares Miranda.  “Depending on the severity of the condition, it can take three to five treatments to help improve it.”

Before and After Photos from the Shafer clinic

Before and After photos from Dr. Katz

The practice of Boca Raton plastic surgeon, Gregory Albert, MD has likewise been able to successfully treat melasma with Glacial Rx.  “We have patients — a lot of them are a little bit darker skinned who have suffered from melasma,” says the Office Manager, Laina Grappell-Albert.

Dr. Gregory Albert, board-certified Boca Raton plastic surgeon.

“A lot of them have post inflammatory hyperpigmentation which exacerbates it because they’ve gone for laser treatments or other heat-based treatments which really brought the melasma out more.  So, we’ll put them on a skin care regimen and do a series of Glacial Rx treatments.  We’ve seen a tremendous decrease in melanocytes and the patients will say, ‘Wow, I never thought this was possible.  I’ve been trying everything and suffering with this.’”

There’s more, for not only can Glacial Rx be used as a stand-alone therapy, but it can also be utilized in conjunction with other treatments, both surgical and non-surgical.

“When you start pairing it with other modalities like Fraxel, it takes them to another level and patients are reaping the benefits of downregulating some of that inflammation cascade that Fraxel on its own would never achieve,” says Holt.

“It will speed up the time where patients are pink and red after deep CO2 lasers and even light lasers, and get them back to normal skin color quicker,” elaborates Albert who also uses the technology with vascular lasers to decrease redness, inflammation and vascularity.  “Glacial Rx won’t get rid of spider veins alone, but in conjunction with V Beam treatments, it will get those smaller ones near them and possibly the generalized redness around it.”

Another way Albert’s practice uses Glacial Rx is in combination with fillers and Botox.  “We do it before to decrease the discomfort of the treatment but it also helps decrease swelling and possibly even bruising,” according to the plastic surgeon.  “There’s so much more to explore in that realm,” says Holt.  “We’re just at the tip of the iceberg.”

Case in point — as cytokines also play a role in scar formation, it stands to reason that a reduction in their number may help with scarring. “Glacial Rx, with its freezing technology, can decrease that inflammation and hopefully lead to a smaller, finer scar,” says Albert.  “I’ve had this machine for about a year.  We’re doing trials and we’ve seen some good results so far.”

Before and After photos from Dr. Albert

The patient’s more heavily bruised right eyelid was treated with Glacial Rx following a blepharoplasty.

By the end of the treatment, the right eyelid exhibits less redness and a finer scar than the left eyelid.

Glacial Rx may even serve as a therapy to treat sports injuries. “Ice has been used for a long time in sports injuries,” says Albert, who is the plastic surgeon for the Florida Panthers hockey team and the Miami Dolphins football team. “Glacial Rx would allow the cold to penetrate deeper. We’re considering introducing this to players. It decreases the inflammation right then and there so they can go back in and play.”

But what if you don’t suffer from any notable skin conditions nor have post-surgical scars or sports injuries?  Can Glacial Rx be of benefit to you?  Yes. “A lot of people find that their skin is a lot more even afterwards and the pores are tighter,” says Katz. “It really is a very nice treatment, without any downtime.  It’s very comfortable to have done. It feels like a nice facial.”

But, “it’s definitely a step above the powered facials like the Hydrafacials and Diamond Glows, the traditionally aesthetician-delivered facials” adds Holt. That’s because of its long-lasting, clinically proven results. “It’s a Class 2 medical device,” points out the CEO. “We’ve got FDA clearances and there’s just a much most robust efficacy we’re achieving.”

Still, the treatment is undeniably very pleasant. “My heart rate dropped significantly during the treatment just because of how the cold is affecting the nervous system,” according to Holt. “So, there are a lot of other wellness benefits that are not necessarily on label for us from an FDA standpoint, but we know that patients are really enjoying the experience and of course, there are visible results they can see as well.”

I can attest to the pleasurableness and to the results. I received a Glacial Rx treatment at Selfie Aesthetic in Miami.  The cold pressure was so soothing that I almost fell asleep in the chair, even during the microdermabrasion step of the treatment (more on that below).  Subsequently, my skin was visibly brighter.  But, can I count on sustained results?  “One of the terms we use is ‘age glacially’ because this is something that can really preserve the skin that you have,” declares Holt.

There are three modalities: 

Glacial Freeze — a spot treatment that targets benign lesions, like age spots or sun spots.

Glacial Glide — a 10-minute protocol which provides continuous cooling for treatment of more chronic conditions like rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.

Glacial Gloss — a half-hour treatment which has the added component of microdermabrasion for gentle exfoliation.

In preparing for the treatment, it is important to note that retinoids and exfoliating products in general must be avoided two weeks prior to the procedure.  Ditto for Botox and fillers.

Typically, three treatments are recommended four to six weeks apart. Prices vary widely according to modality and geographic location — from about $400 to $1,500 per treatment.

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