Benefits of Steaming Your Face for At-home Deep Cleansing
Learning to take care of your skin is a long and very personal process. It can be tough work. Sometimes your skin needs a break. Sometimes you need a break. Make a day of it and escape with a well deserved facial steam. The benefits of steaming your face will convert you – we promise.
There are numerous benefits of steaming your face, not to mention it’s just a really nice way to spend your evening.
- Cleansing: Steam opens pores and loosens dirt buildup on your skin. This releases acne-causing bacteria and dead skin cells that contribute to acne by clogging your pores.
- Improved Circulation: When your skin is warmed, the blood vessels dilate which allows for increased circulation in your face. The blood flow increases oxygen to give you a healthy glow and causes you to sweat which can remove toxins.
- Release Sebum: Sebum is the main ingredient in your body’s natural oils. While it’s great for moisturizing your hair and skin, if too much gets trapped below the skin surface it creates a breeding ground for bacteria and acne (gross, I know). The heat of a facial steam allows you to release the excess sebum, a great thing if you are prone to more oily skin.
- Hydration: Steam can penetrate your skin and provide hydration better than creams or oils. Even better, if you can get your hands on a nano-steamer, the minuscule steam particles make for hydration that is ten times more effective.
- Enhance: Steam increases your skin’s permeability and the turnover of new cells. By steaming your face, you’re preparing it to better absorb topical treatments later. It’s like putting coconut oil on freshly shaven legs after a warm shower. Products can penetrate the skin quicker and work their magic.
- Promote Collagen: Collagen makes up 70% of your skin and is responsible for its elasticity and flexibility. The increased blood flow that occurs during a facial steam promotes collagen production, giving your skin a lift.
- Aromatherapy: Adding essential oils and herbs improves more than just the smell. Steam helps essential oils penetrate deeper than they normally would, and your skin can reap the benefits of a wide variety of brews and scents.
- Relieve congestion: Steam loosens clogged sinuses and can also relieve accompanying headaches. Add in some lavender or eucalyptus for an even more pleasant experience.
Facial Steaming for Acne
One of the main reasons people turn to facial steaming is to help with acne. Many acne preventions and treatments work at the surface level to soothe irritation. However, without a chance to breath every once in a while, your skin might not be getting the full benefits of these products. This is where regular facial steaming comes in.
Exfoliants and scrubs are too abrasive for breakouts and sensitive skin. For acne-prone people – about 50 million in the U.S. alone – the gentle soothing benefits of facial steaming are abundant.
- Improve circulation
- Promote the production of new skin cells
- Expel blockage that leads to blackheads and other acne
- Enhance the results from your acne treatments
- Reduce stress and stress-related acne
- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Recipes and Concoctions
Just like great ice cream, there are two parts to every successful steam: the base and the mix-ins. The base can be plain water or you can get real fancy and steep some tea for your facial.
Regardless, always use filtered or distilled water when steaming your face. Regular tap water contains lots of impurities that can clog your steamer, not to mention the pores you are working hard to clean out!
Try green tea to release toxins and give your skin an anti-aging boost. Chamomile is great for reducing inflammation and providing antioxidants. Rosehips and rosehip oil are wonderful emollients for soothing the skin if you’re feeling dry or irritated.
As for mix-ins, both dry herbs and essential oils can add benefits to your steam. Tea tree provides soothing effects and is a great remedy for breakouts. Add lavender for an extra calming session and eucalyptus if you’re feeling congested. Not sure where to start? Try geranium oil in a rosewater base to de-stress and deep cleanse your pores.
PSA! Essential oils are extremely concentrated and can be irritating and even burn when used in excess. 2-4 drops for 4-6 cups of water is plenty. You never want to use essential oils directly on your skin, always dilute in an oil such as coconut or jojoba oil.
Now that you know all the great beauty benefits of steaming your face, it’s time to get down to business. There are a few different things you can use to steam your face, but the product is not as important as the process. Commercial facial steamers and spa treatments are great if you have the money to spend, but a DIY at home steamer is just as effective. Plus you get to personalize.
- Find a comfy spot to sit where you can easily lean over the steam. Tie up your hair if necessary and make sure to cleanse your neck and face.
- Boil 4-6 cups of water adding in your preferred herbs once the water starts to boil.
- Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes. After this step is the best time to add a few drops of essential oils.
- Place the water on a table and have a seat. Drape a fluffy towel over the back of your head, making sure to cover your entire face and the pot of water.
- Keep your face about 6 inches above the water for 5-10 minutes. If it’s too hot, you can always adjust your position or lift the towel a bit to let out some heat.
Warm towel method
- Tie up your hair if necessary and cleanse your face and neck.
- Fill a bowl with enough hot water to soak a hand towel. Add herbs if you like.
- Soak the towel and wring out any excess water so that it is damp but not dripping.
- Lean back in a chair so your neck is well supported. Place the towel on your face, holding the corners so they meet in the middle of your forehead. Leave just your nose peeking through.
- Sit back and relax for 5 lovely minutes.
Facial steamer method
- Read the specific instructions with your facial steamer. Fill with water and essential oils and turn on as directed, then wait a few minutes for it to start emitting steam.
- Cleanse your face (again) and keep your hair off your face.
- Place your face ten or so inches away from the steam cone for 2-3 minutes.
- A note: facial steamers offer a more powerful steam than other at-home methods, so take a minute after the first interval to see how your skin is reacting to the steam.
After you’ve steamed your face with any method, follow up with your favorite moisturizer. Then close your pores with a splash of cold water and pat dry with a soft towel to lock in all the benefits of steaming your face. Your skin is extra sensitive after a good steam, so be gentle.
From sunlight to makeup to restless nights, your skin can really take a beating. What you do from the outside is just as important as how you nourish from the inside. So next time it seems like nothing is working for your skin, or maybe you’re just in need of a spa day, take a page out of and relax with a facial steam.
Written by Christiana Sinacola