Recently in Europe I was struck by the buzz around a new anti-aging treatment billed as the new, non-toxic Botox. Dubbed Frotox, it claims to be the hottest thing in beauty and it works by freezing. But is Frotox really a cool way to stay looking younger?

Frotox (or Iovera as it is properly called) uses a technique called cryoneuromodulation to banish lines. The 20-minute procedure involves injecting liquid nitrogen next to the nerves that control the muscles that cause wrinkles. By interrupting the neural signals, the facial muscles that cause dynamic wrinkles are allowed to relax.

The big selling points are that the results are instant, last for four months and – unlike Botox – don’t rely on a the injection of a botulinum toxin. It is true that liquid nitrogen is not a toxin, but is it safe to inject it into nerve endings?

In general, liquid nitrogen is cold enough to cause severe frostbite upon contact with living tissue (source). Cryotherapy is used to zap cervical cancer cells, growths and warts. So before considering Frotox, be sure that you trust your practitioner if you don’t want more than your age to be frozen in time.

Cryolipolysis for fat reduction was cleared by the FDA in 2011 and is marketed under the name CoolSculpting. Cold-induced neuromodulation has not yet been approved for use in the US. The only safety and effectiveness study I have found was conducted by Myoscience, which owns the technology.