Salt and Ice Challenge

Salt and Ice Challenge

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The Salt and Ice Challenge is a popular dare game which involves pouring salt on the surface of skin and pressing an ice cube against it to test how long the participant can endure the pain caused by the burn. Similar to the Cinnamon Challenge, the game has spawned dozens of videos documenting the challenge on YouTube.


Though online discussions about placing an ice cube over salt on bare skin date back to as early as 2005[5], the first video demonstration was uploaded to Break[6] on July 8th, 2006 (shown below). As of March 2013, this clip has been viewed nearly 600,000 times and has been shared more than 166,000 times.


Four days later on July 12th, 2006, YouTuber OxZmoran uploaded the earliest known instance of salt and ice challenge video (shown below). Later the same month, a Snopes forum member[7] inquired about the trick, noting that people were discussing it as a method of self-harm. By October 2006, a similar “Salt and Ice” video was posted to eBaum’s World[8] for the first time, gaining nearly 500,000 views as of March 2013.

On June 9th, 2007, the game was defined on Urban Dictionary[9] for the first time under “Salt and Ice.” The videos began to see local news coverage in April 2012 as children in Philadelphia[10] and Salt Lake City[11] were reported to have injured themselves due to making these videos. By June, the Salt and Ice challenge gained global attention after a twelve-year-old boy from Pittsburgh burned a large cross into his back while taking the challenge.[12] His story was featured on The Huffington Post[13], the Daily Mail[14], CBS News[15] and NBC Los Angeles.[16]

Arrest in Virginia

In March 2013, school officials in Dumfries, Virginia found burns similar to those made by the Salt and Ice Challenge on the arms of a nine-year-old female student.[17] It was revealed her 21-year-old babysitter Keedra Smalls had done the Salt and Ice challenge with her in late February, resulting in Smalls being arrested on March 5th on a felony child abuse charge.[18]

Notable Examples

As of March 2013, there are more than 206,000 search results for “salt and ice challenge” on YouTube.[1] Additional photos, videos and discussions about the challenge are shared on Tumblr[2][3] and Reddit.[4]

Search Interest

External References

Recent Videos 17 total

Recent Images

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Top Comments

Zap Rowsdower
Zap Rowsdower

The science behind it is actually kind of interesting. Adding the salt lowers the freezing point of water, forcing the ice to change back. Water has a higher specific heat than ice does, and so at the same temperature, water would actually suck more heat out of your body than the ice, and FEELS colder. Since the ice has turned to water and its temperature is being driven down by the ice, you get an intense coldness on your skin which feels like a burn.


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