Most of us enjoy the facial steam either as a part of facial massage or as an individual beauty aid. The water vapors are both relaxing and enjoyable. There are women who swear by this practice to cleanse their pores and have a healthy skin. But also there are women who struggle with the resultant redness , break-outs and broken capillaries.
Certainly facial steaming is a simple enough beauty aid, but are you sure that it’s really good for your skin type?
So recently, I consulted a few trusted dermatologists to break down, once and for all, if facial steaming is good for the skin or not. And here is what they had to say:-
According to dermatologists, the steam accomplishes two things: 1) The water vapor itself loosens dirt and contaminants that are clogging pores and 2) The heat induces sweating, which further flushes out pores.
Most skin types benefit from steaming. Dermatologists claim that steam relaxes the face muscles, opens up the pores, releases toxins, allows for deep penetration of products. It also oxygenates and purifies the skin.
For very oily skin, it’s extremely beneficial in softening the comedones (black heads), preparing them for easy extraction. When post-steam pores are open, the skin is more receptive to nutritional serums and creams.
When massage to the face is used with steam, circulation increases, encouraging collagen and elastin fibers to plump fine lines and give the face a youthful lift.
While dermatologist acknowledge that exposing your skin to warm steam can feel super relaxing and assist in extraction of blackheads and dirt, the sensitive skin types have to weigh their benefits Vs harmful effects of facial steaming.
The heat that you’re exposing your skin to causes dilation of blood vessels—leading to flushing, increased inflammation, and worsening of conditions like rosacea or eczema. Hotter temperatures and hot water strip more natural moisturizers from skin then cooler temperatures.
For dry skin: when the pores are under steam, they can absorb beneficial nutrients for hydration and balancing. But if the temperature is too high, it will rip off the moisture from the skin and make the skin even drier.
The Bottom Line
All the dermatologists agree that facial steaming is not well suited for rosacea or eczema prone skin as the heat can cause dilation of blood vessels, contributing to redness and dryness. Furthermore, very high temperature isn’t a good idea for people with dry skin or sensitive skin because of the natural oils that are being stripped.
But if your skin is sensitive and dry and you are worried to get rid of the blackheads and dirt, follow the below mentioned steps:-
1. Position the steamer at least 15 inches from your face.
2. The steam should be applied for half the usual time, and the temperature should be lowered.
3. A good alternative to keep pores clean is put a warm cloth on your face for just 2 minutes or so.
4. Those who tend to experience redness may get enough steam for their skin type just from a hot bath or shower.
But if your skin isn’t *too* sensitive, and you do want to steam your pores, doctors recommend doing so for no more than 10 minutes and cleansing your skin with a gentle cleanser immediately after to get rid of loosened debris.
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