Facial steaming has been a key element of skincare for many years, particularly popular in East Asia. It is commonly done by professional aestheticians and if you have ever been for a professional facial treatment it is likely to have been part of the experience.
There is no reason that you cannot steam your face at home, and it can be hugely beneficial to incorporate it into your regular skincare routine. It is best suited to people with acne-prone and oily skin types, as the heat allows for easier extraction of impurities. Facial steams are not recommended for those struggling with sensitive skin, eczema, rosacea, or other skin conditions.
What is face steaming?
Face steaming uses the vapor released by heated water to warm the skin of your face. This hydrates your face skin and warms any oils, sebum, and debris lodged in your pores. This can then cause the oils to change into a liquid state, making them easier to remove or allowing them to escape and drain out naturally.
It is very useful to use a facial steamer if you are intending to apply an enzymic face mask. This is because the heat of the steam activates enzymes in your skin, meaning that these types of masks are more effective.
The warm skin will be more receptive to any products applied to it, meaning that moisturizers will work more effectively. The heat will also cause your blood vessels underneath the skin to dilate. This can make your skin appear glowy as your circulation has been given a boost.
When should you use a facial steamer?
The ideal time to use a facial steamer is after you have used a cleanser on your skin, but before you use moisturizer or serums. This will allow you to clean your skin effectively and simultaneously allows for more moisture to be absorbed.
It is generally advised that you perform a facial steam about 2 to 3 times per week for the best results. If your skin often turns red, or you feel as though it is particularly sensitive, you should not use the facial steamer more often than once per week.
If you use the facial steamer too frequently, it can cause your skin to become inflamed, red, and dry.
How do you incorporate a facial steamer into your skin care routine?
There are many different types of facial steamer available for home use. For the best results, you should incorporate facial steaming into your wider skincare routine.
Your first step is to tie your hair back and clean your face skin using your favorite cleanser. This removes any old makeup, built up oils, and debris on the surface of your face skin. We suggest using a product such as micellar water for this step.
Next, you should use an exfoliating product. This will remove any accumulated dead skin cells and keep the surface of your face as clean as possible. Removing dead cells will also help you to get that glowy look and ensure your skin stays fresh and hydrated. We love natural products such as sugar or coffee scrubs for this step.
Grab your facial steamer and fill the water tank. The machines work in a similar manner to an iron, heating the water to produce steam as it evaporates. We suggest using distilled water instead of tap water for your steamer.
This will reduce the chances of a mineral buildup developing on the inside of your machine. We also advise using lukewarm water to fill the tank, as this will mean it needs to heat up less for steam to be produced.
You can choose to add essential oils into the water tank of your steamer for increased holistic effects. Ensure you purchase oils that are skin-safe as some can cause a lot of irritation. If you are struggling with sinus congestion then adding an oil such as peppermint, eucalyptus, or tea tree can help to alleviate your symptoms. Some people even opt to add cooled herbal tea into the water tank.
Replace the water tank in the steamer. Turn the machine on and allow time for the water in the tank to heat. Check the user manual for your machine to see what indicators will be given when the water is up to temperature.
When the water is ready, turn on the steaming element of your machine. Place your face about 8 to 12 inches from the opening and allow the steam to escape over your skin. For a more intense steaming experience, you can drape a towel over your head and the machine.
Adjust the steam temperature to your own personal preference. Sit here and allow the steam to caress your face for anywhere between 2 and 10 minutes. The length of time you stay here is a matter of personal choice. Pay attention to how your skin is feeling and use this to gauge how long to steam for. Drier skin is likely to need a longer steaming period than well-hydrated skin.
An optional next step is to apply a gentle peel to your face. This is a chemical solution that is applied to the face to eradicate dead skin cells and stimulate new cell growth. They are believed to reduce the appearance of age spots and even out your overall skin tone.
For a complete skincare routine, you will next want to apply a face mask. This should be one that you can rinse off afterward, such as a clay mask. Once you have allowed this to sit and cleaned it off, you should then apply a serum. There are loads of different serums available for different skin types, and you should choose one that suits your personal needs.
Finally, apply a moisturizing lotion to your face. If you are doing this routine at night, we advise applying a night cream instead of a moisturizer. This will force your skin to lock in all of the hydration from the moisturizer, meaning you wake up with beautiful skin.
What are some good herbs and oils to add?
Chamomile is a great herb to incorporate. It has been proven to reduce dermatitis and general skin irritation. It is gentle enough to be suitable for all skin types.
Lavender oil is a great addition to help with eczema or dry skin and has the added bonus of being an aromatherapy relaxant.
Rosemary is a good herb to incorporate into your facial steam if you suffer with oily skin.
Orange oil is a fun addition if your skin appears dull or you have many blocked pores.
Geranium oil is known as a natural astringent. This means that it forces your skin cells to contract, making it perfect for people who wish their skin to be a little more toned and taut.
Is facial steaming safe?
Provided that you follow our instructions and are careful when operating the facial steamer, there is no reason for it to be unsafe. That being said, it is not advised for people who are prone to flushing or general facial redness. This is because the steam’s heat is likely to exacerbate this problem.
The ideal temperature for facial steaming treatments is 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Your facial steamer should have a temperature gauge somewhere on the machine. This will allow you to read, regulate, and control the temperature of the water. This ensures that you do not expose your delicate face skin to temperatures that could cause damage to the cells.
It is not recommended to attempt a facial steaming procedure with a bowl of hot water. Although this has long been the way people steam their faces, it is not the safest. This is because you have little concept of the steam’s temperature, leaving you open to scalding your face.
What are the benefits of using a facial steamer?
As we have mentioned already, facial steaming can cleanse and hydrate the cells of your skin. The warm temperature also forces you to sweat a little, which boosts your blood circulation. This means that your cells are getting sufficient oxygen and can lead to a healthier appearance overall.
This increased circulation also promotes the production of collagen and elastin in the skin cells. This leads to your skin appearing smoother and younger-looking, reducing your chances of developing wrinkles.
Face steaming forces sebum out of the pores on your face. These are natural oils produced by your skin, but if sebum is trapped then it can lead to the development of blackheads. The steam prevents this sebum from being trapped in your face skin, leading to a clearer complexion.
The biggest benefit of using a facial steamer at home is that it will save you money. If you are regularly paying for salon facials, this steamer will help you stay on top of your routine from the comfort of your own home. This has never been more useful than now when Covid restrictions are forcing salon treatments to a halt for the foreseeable future.