Are you wondering how to rejuvenate your dull and lifeless skin? Try using a facial steamer for deep cleansing and hydrating your skin.
Facial steaming has played an integral role in skincare and beauty rituals for ages. It can help you reveal glowing skin by nourishing it from the inside out. But, before you go for it, learn the know-how's.
Scroll down to find out more.
Is Steaming Good For Your Face?
Facial steaming and steam baths for clear and glowing skin have been very popular for a long time. Hence, the process which leaves your skin glowing, flushed, and clean is synonymous with healthy skin.
Due to the intense heat, the blood vessels in your face gradually dilate, which boosts the blood circulation. This in turn increases your skin’s oxygen intake, making it glowing, radiant, and healthier. The heightened blood circulation improves the synthesis of collagen and imparts anti-aging benefits to your skin.
The steaming method also has a feel-good essence. It helps to open up your clogged pores and makes your skin healthier. Many dermatologists and skin experts recommend face steaming for those with oily or acne-prone complexion as it helps in opening up the pores clogged by sebum, and removing the accumulated dirt.
What Are The Benefits Of Facial Steaming?
Below is a summary of health and skin benefits from facial steam:
1. Hydrating Skin
Dermatologists and skin experts generally don’t recommend facial steaming as a treatment option for hydrating and cleansing dry skin. The other alternative recommended for people with dry skin is closing their shower door or screen while taking a shower or bathing.
By closing the door during a warm shower or bath may help confine the steam in the shower area and provide hydration to your skin. Avoid taking hot showers and baths if you have dry skin as it may worsen your skin condition. Additionally, dermatologists suggest using a humidifier which helps in adding moisture in the air. This further helps in hydrating your skin.
2. Provides A Relaxing Experience
Many individuals explain feeling calm and peaceful while undergoing facial steaming sessions. They even use steam rooms in spas and gyms to relieve tension and stress. In several parts of the world, natural hot springs are a popular destination. Many people usually visit such natural places and enjoy the thermal baths as it relaxes and calms their nerves.
Even though there is no solid evidence about the skin and health benefits of bathing in hot springs, various spas and gyms try to recreate the soothing and relaxing environment of the natural springs.
3. Enhances The Potency Of Skincare Products
When you steam your face, you are subjecting your skin to the water vapor rising from the hot water. This process may elevate your skin’s normal temperature, which may further elevate your blood circulation. With an elevated blood circulation, any skincare products such as serums, creams or masks may move easily through the skin barrier.
In a study, it was shown how elevated body temperature in pigs can directly affect the absorption of nicotine. Scientists observed a threefold increase in the absorption of nicotine patches in the skin at 42 degrees centigrade when compared with 32 degrees centigrade.
The results show that the efficacy of skin absorption is effective at elevated body temperatures. This finding also showcases the efficacy of steaming and absorption of skincare products in humans.
Elevating your skin’s normal temperature may permit the molecules of any skincare product to absorb deeper into the skin barrier.
4. Unclogging & Cleansing Pores
Many people use steam on their face as they strongly believe that it will help in opening up clogged pores and remove the accumulated dirt and debris. However, many dermatologists and skin experts don’t suggest using steam for face to open up clogged pores. Instead, they suggest using other cleansers for unclogging pores twice a day. Also, they suggest you to avoid using any skincare product which may worsen your skin condition.
Even though it may appear that your pores naturally open and close; pores which are closed have actually stretched as they are clogged with sebum or dirt. Any change in your body temperature will not affect the size of the skin pores. The safest and effective way to cleanse your pores is by using mild facial cleansers.
Pores in your face may appear large if you have acne-prone skin, or sagging skin. Dermatologists and skin experts suggest using retinol-based skincare products as they help in improving the pore size and the texture of your skin.
If you want to try using any retinol-based skincare products, it is imperative to consult a knowledgeable dermatologist as retinol is not a suitable treatment for all skin types and conditions.
5. Boosts Collagen & Elastin Synthesis
A few commercially available facials steamers propose that steaming aids your skin by improving the synthesis of elastin and collagen. Elastin and collagen are responsible for providing elasticity and firmness to your skin. With advancing age, your skin tends to become loose and thin due to the lower production of elastin and collagen.
There is no strong evidence yet proving that facial steaming indeed helps in the synthesis of elastin and collagen in your skin.
Dermatologists and skin experts may suggest using retinoids or various other treatments, like radiofrequency micro-needling or micro-focused ultrasound to enhance elastin and collagen production in your skin.
How To Steam Your Face?
A detoxifying and relaxing treatment, facial steaming is commonly done in many in-office techniques as well as in your home.
A. Ayurvedic Facial Steaming At Home
If you don’t have a commercial facial steamer in your home, you may simply use a bowl filled with boiling water. Use a thick towel to completely cover your head during steaming and ensure that you don’t take your face too close to hot water. Always remember to wash and cleanse your face before and after the steaming process, followed by application of a hydrating cream or serum.
You may personalize the steaming process based on your skin type and specific needs. You may also include different types of essential oils, flowers and herbs for a spa-like experience at your home.
To prepare your personalized herbal face steaming, you may follow the guide below as per your skin type and specific needs:
1. Face Steaming For Dry Skin
- Grind 1 tsp of fennel seeds , 3-4 dry bay leaves, and 1 tsp liquorice in a grinder.
- Next, add 1 tsp of the grounded mixture in the boiling water to steam.
- You may also add a few drops of essential rose oil, 1 tbsp of calendula, and a few rose petals into the boiling water.
- Allow the steaming process to last for at least 10-15 minutes.
- End the steaming session with a mild and herbal night cream or serum for dry skin.
Facial steaming helps in deeply nourishing and hydrating your dry skin as well as removing dead skin cells, making your face naturally shine and glow.
2. Face Steaming For Oily Skin
- Grind a few neem  leaves, 3-4 bay leaves, and 1 tsp of liquorice into a fine powder.
- Next, add 1 tsp of the grounded mixture in the boiling water to steam.
- You may also add a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil, 2-3 tulsi leaves, 1 bag of green tea, and 1 tsp of lemon peel into the boiling water.
- Allow the steaming process to last for at least 10-15 minutes.
- After the facial steaming session, gently massage your skin with a mild and herbal cream or serum for oily complexion.
Facial steaming is extremely beneficial for oily skin as the steam helps in softening the hardened sebum. This makes it relatively easier to deeply cleanse and unclog your pores, making them less visible.
3. Face Steaming For Sensitive Skin
- Add a few tulsi leaves, a few drops of lavender or rose essential oil, 1 bag of green tea, 1 tsp of fennel seeds, 1 tbsp of chamomile, a few mint leaves, and a few rose petals into the boiling water to steam.
- After the steaming session, cleansing your skin with rosewater and honey helps in the removal of dead skin cells.
- Follow it up by applying a mild and herbal cream or serum for sensitive skin to calm the skin.
4. Face Steaming For Acne-Prone Skin
- Begin with cleansing your face with a mild facial cleanser. This is an important step as you need a clean skin surface for the steaming session which will help your pores to sweat without accumulation of acne-causing bacteria as they may worsen your skin condition.
- Allow the steaming process to last for at least 10-15 minutes.
- After the steaming, apply a deep cleansing facial mask with tea tree oil or bentonite clay. Leave it to dry for at least 10 minutes.
- Remove the face mask and rinse with cold water to naturally close the open pores on your face. You may, alternatively, follow it up with a cold steam session if your facial steamer has such an option.
- Use a cotton-based, light towel to pat dry your face.
- End the beauty ritual by applying a non-comedogenic moisturizer  or a mild, herbal cream for acne-prone skin type.
Points To Remember
1. While a facial steaming session may lighten up your blemishes and scars, it won’t help to clear up your acne.
2. The facial steaming process helps in opening up clogged pores. However; it doesn’t help in prevention of new acne from developing and spreading on your face. Hence, only relying on facial steaming won’t help you resolve your issue with acne issues.
3. When it comes to inflamed and pus-filled pimples and larger imperfections such as cysts and nodules, facial steaming will not be helpful. Dermatologists and skin care experts don’t recommend extracting these deep, large imperfections as it may only worsen your existing skin condition.
Vedix Tip: Steaming too many times or using extremely hot steam may result in aggravating your condition by causing inflammation, redness, and acne breakouts. Hence, it is important to consult a knowledgeable Ayurvedic doctor for addressing and treating your acne-prone skin before using facial steaming.
B. Face Steaming Using Herbs And Oils
Adding essential oils and dried herbs to your steam makes it extra beneficial for your skin’s health. A few specific herbs are known to be highly effective and beneficial for several skin types. Some dried herbs and essential oils are known to have a refreshing or soothing effect on your skin, based on what you are looking for in your facial steaming session.
1. Dried Herbs
- Rosemary: This fragrant and potent herb is an excellent ingredient for people with oily or acne-prone skin type. It has anti-inflammatory properties which reduces inflammation and redness in your skin.
- Chamomile: The potent herb helps in alleviating inflammation in your skin. Packed with antioxidants, it also helps in naturally brightening up your complexion. It is a suitable choice for all skin types.
2. Essential Oils
- Eucalyptus: If you have acne-prone skin or clogged pores, then try using this beneficial oil in your steam.
- Geranium: This essential oil is extracted from the geranium flower. It acts as a natural and potent astringent which helps in toning and tightening your skin.
- Lavender: This beneficial herb  is an excellent remedy for people with dry skin or suffering from eczema. It offers calming and soothing aromatherapy effects.
- Orange: Apart from providing you with mood enhancing aromatherapy effects, this essential oil also effectively unclogs your blocked pores.
C. Natural Methods
There are some simple yet effective ways you may enjoy a facial steaming session at the comfort of your home. Not only is it convenient and easy to do, but also less expensive than visiting a spa for a similar experience.
Following are a few natural methods of facial steaming you may do on your own at your home:
1. Steam Over A Sink Or Bowl Of Hot Water
Take a big, cotton-based towel and select a convenient spot for yourself. Remember comfort is the key essence of the whole experience. Therefore, if you’re steaming over a sink, then you may need a stool or chair which provides you the support and right height. Alternatively, a steaming bowl of hot water kept on a table can be your best option.
1. Tie your hair in a bun or pony and cleanse your face gently with an exfoliating face wash. Remember to clean your neck as well.
2. Boil 6-8 cups of water in a suitable utensil, depending on the size of your bowl or sink.
3. Sprinkle a few dried herbs once the water starts to boil.
4. Lower the heat, cover the utensil and allow it to simmer for a few minutes. Now, gently pour the boiling water into the bowl or skin of your choice.
5. If you want to add essential oils to your steam, now is the right time to add a few drops to the hot water.
6. Sit on a stool or chair, cover your head completely with the large towel and keep your face at least six inches away from the hot water.
7. As per your requirement, you may lower or raise your head.
8. Stay in the position for 5-10 minutes.
2. Steam With Warm Washcloth Or Towels
1. Take a soft fabric washcloth or towel and soak it into a tub full of hot water for a few minutes. You may add a few dried herbs or essential oils of your choice.
2. Tie your hair securely into a bun or pony and deep cleanse your face and neck with a mild exfoliating face wash.
3. Take out the soaked hot towel and wring it properly to remove excess water.
4. Next, lie down in your bed or a reclining chair. Keep the damp towel on your face in such a way that the corners of the towel touch your forehead.
5. Reposition the damp towel to ensure that it completely covers your face, including your eyes. Lie back and relax for 5-10 minutes.
3. Steam With A Facial Steamer At Your Home
Carefully read the instructions of your facial steamer and follow the directions. Fill the steamer with water, plug it in and switch on the steamer. The facial steamer will take a couple of minutes before it starts steaming up.
1. Secure your hair into a bun or pony and gently cleanse your face and neck with a mild exfoliating face wash.
2. Sit comfortably on a stool or chair, and position your face above the steamer on the holder.
3. Keep your head 5-10 inches above the steam as directed in the steamer’s instruction manual.
4. Allow the steam for 5 minutes at a stretch and take a break in between to understand whether your skin is alright after the specified duration.
What Should You Do Before And After Steaming Your Face?
Follow the simple yet effective dos and don’ts to reap the maximum benefits from your facial steaming session.
1. Before Steaming
A. Hydrate Your Skin
Remember to drink adequate water before you begin a facial steaming session or expose your skin to any form of heat.
B. Cleanse Your Face & Neck
Cleanse your face and neck with a mild facial cleanser with exfoliating property. This helps you to gain the maximum benefits from a steaming session.
2. During Steaming
A. Close Your Eyes
You will be comfortable and at ease with your eyes closed during a steaming session. Additionally, it also ensures that you don’t irritate or harm your eyes. By keeping your eyes closed, the skin on your eyelids also reaps the benefits of a facial steam.
B. Keep You Face 5-10 Inches Above Steam
You should avoid the risk of getting your skin burned by keeping your face at least 5 to 10 inches above the sink or bowl. Pay attention to your skin’s reaction towards the steam and keep your comfort in mind.
C. Carefully Follow The Directions
Always follow the instructions and directions given along with a commercial facial steamer. Before using the steamer, go through the instruction manual to avoid any mishaps.
3. After Steaming
A. Rinse Your Face & Neck
Gently rinse your face and neck with lukewarm water after the facial steaming session. Use a soft, cotton-based washcloth or towel to pat dry your skin. After the steam, your skin will be vulnerable and highly sensitive. Hence, avoid rubbing your towel against your skin.
B. Apply A Mild Moisturizing Serum Or Cream
After a facial steaming session, the potency of your facial serum or moisturizer will become more effective. Remember to use a nourishing and hydrating formulation. You may also apply an anti-aging skincare product post the steam.
C. Gently Massage Your Face
Massage your face gently using circular motion. With the help of your fingertips, gently massage your cheeks, forehead and neck region. You may also use a facial oil for massage. However, skip using any facial oil if you have a sensitive or oily complexion.
Possible Side Effects Of Facial Steaming
Irrespective of the method of facial steaming you use, there is always a high risk of burns and redness while steaming your face. This type of steam burn is known as scalding, which is defined as a skin burn from exposure to hot steam or liquids.
A scalding may happen when your skin comes in direct contact with hot steam from a facial steamer. Scalding is mostly observed in individuals who work in restaurants and deal with high temperatures.
Before steaming, if you are heating the water in a microwave, then ensure to use a ventilated container. Otherwise, you may wait for a few minutes to allow the water to cool down a bit before opening the lid of the container. The steam emitted from microwaved water in a closed bowl may reach up to 93 degrees centigrade very quickly.
If you have any existing skin condition like eczema, rosacea, dermatitis, and various other inflammatory conditions, then you should avoid using facial steamers completely. Hot vapour on your skin may increase dilation of the blood capillaries in your skin. This leads to elevated blood circulation in your face causing redness, flushing, and inflammation.
Before you consider using a facial steamer, it is important to consult your dermatologist or doctor whether your skin type is appropriate for the hot water vapor method.
Frequently Asked Questions About Facial Steaming
1. When To Take Steam For Your Face?
Your face and neck should be properly cleansed and kept dry before a steaming session. This step is important as it ensures that you derive maximum results from facial steaming. Hence, you can begin with removing all the traces of makeup and skincare products from your skin by following a deep cleansing routine. Once your face and neck is clean and dry, you can begin with your facial steaming session.
2. How Long Should You Steam Your Face?
Place your face over the facial steamer for approximately 5-10 minutes. Keep your eyes closed and inhale deeply, allowing the hot vapor to rejuvenate your face and open up your clogged pores. Avoid steaming your face for a longer duration or keeping your face closer to the hot water. The intense heat may cause redness and inflammation in your skin.
3. Can You Steam Your Face Every Day?
No, you should avoid steaming your face every day as it may wreak havoc on your skin condition. Daily steaming may dry up your skin. Also, it doesn’t allow your pores to naturally close. Hence, it is important that you steam your face once a week for 10 minutes for best results.
4. Should You Wash Your Face After Steaming?
After a facial steaming session, you should gently rinse your face and neck with lukewarm water. Use a soft, cotton washcloth or towel to pat your skin dry.
Always rub an ice cube on your face and neck after a steaming session. Also, remember to use a facial toner which helps in closing the pores and maintain the pH level of your skin. Finally, you should use a nourishing and hydrating cream or serum for a glowing, healthy skin.
The Last Word
There are potentially many benefits of steaming your face, including deep cleansing and unclogging your pores, hydrating and nourishing your skin, as well as an overall relaxed experience. When done correctly and carefully, facial steaming is not harmful. By following a healthy and nutritious diet and regular exercising, facial steaming can play an important role in your skincare regime for attaining your clear skin goals.
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