As the body’s protective outer-shell, your skin puts up with a lot. Harmful elements such as chemicals, infections, cuts, scrapes, and this tropical sunlight keep the seemingly delicate organ under near-constant assault.
We all have a suntan, albeit unwanted. The addition of stress from daily demands sends your epidermis into overdrive, leaving it no choice but to react.
In such cases, facial steaming can offer some big benefits. If you are prone to the common mild acne (pimples), the biggest plus of steaming may be that your skin could end up clearer. That’s because the moisture softens the surface layer of dead skin cells, says Sara Epenu, a dermatologist and beautician from Fair Complexion.
She says the steaming process helps to free any dead cells, dirt, bacteria or other trapped matter that could be causing breakouts, and it can allow your skin to better absorb any other products you might use after the steaming.
The warm humidity from steaming may also increase perspiration and stimulate blood circulation. As the body’s natural cooling system, sweat consists mostly of water, but it’s also mixed with a small amount of your body’s wastes and toxins so that you can wash them away.
Increasing your circulation in your facial skin can also help give you a warm, colourful glow.
“However, if you have certain skin conditions that are aggravated by sweating or increased blood circulation, such as rosacea or a fungal infection, then facial steaming may do more harm than good for you,” she warns
If you do it yourself, other potential benefits could be the cost and convenience. There are plenty of at-home facial steaming products on the market, but you don’t need any special lotions or equipment to perform a steam treatment at home.
Steaming your face might seem simple enough, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
Face Steaming Tips
If you’re ready to try facial steaming, the first thing you need to look out for is the water’s temperature. Ideally, most professionals use temperatures at about 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). “If you aren’t cautious and get too close to the hot steam, you could scald your skin, which can leave behind a scar,” cautions Epenu
Slowly get closer to the steam, but don’t get too close. “I advise getting no closer than 12 inches (30 centimeters)”. “If you let too much heat get near your skin, the increased blood flow could lead to broken capillaries under your skin.”
Now that you know the potential dangers, you’re ready to start the steaming. First, wash your face so that your pores are free to release any impurities without built-up dirt or makeup blocking the way.
Prepare your facial steaming equipment as directed if you have any, or if not, boil some water and pour it into a bowl. Tie your hair back and use a towel as a tent for both the bowl and your head. Lean your face over the steam for about five to seven minutes.
Exposing your skin to the heat for much longer or more often than once a week can actually dry your skin out. The steaming works best if it’s followed up by a light exfoliation and then moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
“Many people choose to add in different herbs or essential oils such as lavender, rosemary, or peppermint in hopes that they can produce a desired effect on the skin; however, your skin can’t get any benefits from herbal steam. All this does is simply making the steam fragrant.”