It feels soothing and relaxing when that hot steam brushes by your face during a facial, right? Many skin experts talk about its benefits. But is it really good for your skin or poses side effects? Let's find out from our chief dermatologist Dr. Harish Koutam, an accredited member of Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (IADVL) and Cosmetic Surgeons of India.
What Is Facial Steaming?
Facial steaming is the use of hot mist or steam to open up pores on the skin. This is a common step in any skin facial. You can also do it at home to reap its benefits.
Benefits Of Steam For Your Skin
1. Clears Pores
Remember how salon experts use a steamer to open up your nose pores and remove blackheads? Steam opens up the pores on your skin and removes the dirt that's built up inside them.
2. Aids In Circulation
There is an increased blood circulation in your skin and a good supply of oxygen and nutrients. This results in a healthy and radiant glow.
3. Fights Premature Skin Aging
One of the reasons for premature skin aging is the buildup of dead skin cells. Dr. Harish explains that regular facial steam helps in softening the layer of dead skin cells. This layer can shed faster to reveal a new layer of fresh skin cells. These fresh skin cells are plump and healthy.
4. Offers Hydration
Steam provides hydration to the skin by increasing the natural oils on the skin.
5. Helps in Absorption Of Skin Care Products
Steam makes it easier for the skincare products to get absorbed into the skin. It helps in skin permeability.
6. Removes Excess Sebum
Sebum is a natural oil present in your skin for lubrication. Steam opens up the pores and releases trapped sebum.
7. Removes Toxins From The Skin
There are toxins in your skin that are released via sweat. Your face sweats more with steam and flushes out the toxins.
How To Steam Your Face?
1. Steam Over A Bowl
- Tie your hair back so that it does not interfere with your face.
- Cleanse your face and neck with a mild cleanser.
- Boil 4-5 cups of water (along with any herbs like chamomile or rosemary) and transfer it to a bowl. You may add essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus or orange oil after the water has come to a boil.
- Sit comfortably on a chair, wrap your head in a towel and place the bowl on a table.
- Hold your face a few inches above the water in the bowl.
- Steam your face for 10-15 minutes.
2. Steam With A Home Facial Steamer
- Place the steamer on a table and fill it with water as instructed.
- Tie up your hair, cleanse your face and sit comfortably on a chair.
- Set your face on the cone attachment and keep it at a distance from the steam.
- Steam for 2-3 minutes, take a break and repeat a few more times.
3. Steam With A Hot Towel
- Use a clean towel and soak in hot water for a few minutes.
- Wring the towel out and let it cool down to the temperature your skin can bear.
- Place the towel on your face for about 10 minutes.
Steaming with a hot towel is not as popular as the other techniques for a facial steam. Avoid this method for facial steam in case you have sensitive skin. Make sure you use a clean towel. Otherwise, there is a high chance of infection.
What Is The Base For Your Steam?
You Could Consider The Following Options:
- Tap water
- Distilled water
- Tea (green tea and other herbal teas)
How Often Can I Use A Facial Steam?
Use facial steam once a week to get your glow. Maintain steam sessions for not more than 10 -15 minutes.
What To Do After A Facial Steam?
Facial steam leaves your pores open. So now is the time to use a face mask, like a clay mask. This will draw out all the impurities away from your skin. Apply a clay mask and leave it on for 15 minutes. Wash with lukewarm water and pat dry. Do not scrub your face as it can irritate the skin. In case you don't have a clay mask, try a mixture of honey and oatmeal.
Precautions For Facial Steam
- Keep your eyes closed so that you don't end up irritating your eyes.
- Place your face 5-10 inches away from the bowl. Being too close to the steam can burn your skin.
- Follow the instructions manual if you are using a home facial steamer.
- After steam, wash your facial skin with lukewarm water and pat dry.
- Follow it up with a toner and a moisturizer.
Side Effects Of Steam
If you are someone with a skin condition like rosacea, steam isn't for you. The heat can dilate blood vessels and cause increased redness. Facial steam can also cause serious burns and inflammation in some people.
Consult your dermatologist in case you have an existing inflammatory skin condition. If you have dry skin, skip steam because it can strip off natural oils from your skin and can cause further drying of the skin.
Steaming still remains a popular option to up your skincare game in this era of sheet masks and instant facials.
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