The Salt and Ice Challenge Is a Dangerous Trend That Has Been Around for Years

What is the Salt and Ice Challenge? Social media users have been participating in this dangerous viral trend for over a decade. What to know.

Gabrielle Bernardini - Author

Jun. 8 2020, Updated 1:19 p.m. ET

salt ice challenge
Source: istock

While the Gen Z app TikTok has contributed to a slew of viral dances and challenges, different social media trends have been around for years. Before users learned and participated in the Wipe It Down Challenge, the Candy Challenge, the Pause Challenge, and more, many adolescents took part in popular challenges of their time. 

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We all know people who have attempted to test their ability to swallow a teaspoon of cinnamon, also known as the Cinnamon Challenge, and have decided to chug one gallon of milk, or threw a bucket of ice water over their heads (also known as the Ice Bucket Challenge) to raise money for ALS. 

salt ice challenge
Source: YouTube
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While some challenges are seen as fun gags, others have been quite dangerous, such as the Skullbreaker Challenge, the Outlet Challenge, and the Pass Out Challenge. Please, kids, do not attempt these.

On social media, people started to reminisce about the scary challenges that they too have participated in during their adolescence, with many recalling the Salt and Ice Challenge.

What is the Salt and Ice Challenge? Please, do not try it.

The Salt and Ice Challenge was relatively popular in the mid-2000s when social media sites like Facebook and Myspace reigned supreme.

So, what is this challenge? People will pour salt onto a body part, typically their hand, arm, or leg, and then place an ice cube overtop. Participants attempt to see how long they are able to hold the ice to their skin.

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The combination of your body temperature combined with salt and ice creates a chemical reaction that drops the temperature of the ice to about -18°F. Basically, those who participate in this challenge will definitely experience severe pain and can even give themselves a bad burn, possibly earning a trip to the emergency room.

salt ice challenge
Source: istock
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“A full-thickness burn means that the skin is totally destroyed. The skin becomes leathery and hard, and if the burn covers a large enough area, surgery and a skin graft may need to be performed,” Dr. Jeschke explained to Your Health Matters in 2017. “When you hold something cold against your skin and you feel pain, it’s your body’s way of trying to protect itself."

Dr. Jeschke added, "If you overcome the original feeling of pain, that’s not because you’re tougher or stronger, it’s because the nerve endings have been destroyed. Sometimes, that nerve destruction can be permanent, along with scarring on the skin.”  

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Twitter users talk about participating in the Salt and Ice Challenge.

Recently, a re-interest in the Salt and Ice Challenge has popped up on social media, and users have taken to Twitter to share their previous experiences. 

"Do y’all remember the salt and ice challenge?? i still have a gnarly scar on my thigh bc of it lmfao," one person tweeted. Another wrote:

"[Don't] forget about giving ourselves burns doing the salt and ice challenge. Or making ourselves choke doing the cinnamon challenge." 

This Twitter user posted, "I have a permanent scar from the salt and ice challenge."

Overall, just don't do it.

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