If you’ve ever gotten a facial at a spa before, then you know that the moment when your esthetician wraps the steaming hot towel on your face is arguably one of the best and most relaxing feelings one can experience. It feels like a warm hug that simultaneously refreshes your skin.
And the reason that sensation feels so good is because it’s similar to steaming your face.
Whether done professionally or at home, steaming your face is an indulgent experience that can seriously benefit the skin, but only when done correctly.
“Steam can cause serious burns, so it’s very important to keep your face a safe distance away from the source of the steam,” says Dr. Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. “It’s best to keep your face six to 10 inches away from the steamer.”
Additionally, you should only steam your face two times a week, maximum, for about five to seven minutes, adds Taylor Worden, a celebrity esthetician and founder of Taylor Worden Skin. Anything more than this can have the opposite effects on your complexion.
When done correctly, steaming your face not only feels good, but the skincare benefits are plenty. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Helps With Skin Hydration
There’s a difference between hydrating and moisturizing your skin. When your skin is dry, it lacks oil and sebum, so moisturizers and skincare ingredients can help to replenish.
When your skin is dehydrated, however, that means it lacks water. All skin types can experience dehydrated skin, and therefore can benefit from extra hydration.
Facial steaming offers an additional method to provide your skin with the water that it needs to remain plump and hydrated.
2. Promotes Better Product Absorption
Stephanie Diliberto, a licensed esthetician, shared with Cleveland Clinic that facial steaming makes the skin more permeable, which helps with product absorption.
“By hydrating the skin, facial steaming also helps increase penetration of active ingredients applied topically immediately after steaming,” confirms Dr. King. “Active ingredients, like retinol or vitamin C, can penetrate better and become more effective.”
3. Softens the Skin
In addition to making the skin more hydrated and permeable, the heat and water from facial steaming can soften the skin, which can make skincare extractions a bit less painful. “Facial steaming primes the skin for extractions, so clogged comedones (pores) will be much easier to extract,” says Dr. King.
4. Loosens Trapped Sebum
If you have acne-prone or oily skin, facial steaming can help unclog your pores. The steam helps to loosen up any oils, bacteria, or dirt trapped in the skin that can cause acne. And if you steam your face after cleansing, it offers a deeper cleanse and allows your acne-fighting skincare to penetrate deeper into the skin and target those breakouts.
5. Promotes Circulation
“Proper blood flow helps skin build collagen and elastin, which give skin a plump, bouncy look,” reports the Cleveland Clinic. The heat from facial steaming increases this natural process, says Dr. King.
Not only does the increased blood flow promote a smooth, glowing, and firm-looking complexion, it also helps pimples and cysts come to a head, which is necessary for the removal process.
6. Feels Soothing
Above all else, facial steaming is a soothing experience. Consider adding it to your self-care Sunday routine to reap the skincare benefits, and offer yourself a few minutes of relaxation. You can either try the DIY methods of facial steaming with a pot of boiling water or invest in a facial steamer that brings the spa to your home. One to try is the Skin Gym The Voda Facial Steamer ($70, amazon.com).