How To Do Your Own Facial Steam If You Can't Get To The Spa

Originally Published: 
Dr. Dennis Gross
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If you're someone who only associates facial steaming with an in-spa treatment, think again. In a time when at-home treatments are at an all-time high, facial steaming is at the top of the list due to its luxurious and practically harmless nature. It's why everyone is trying to figure out how to facial steam at home the right way, and according to the experts, it's super easy.

"Facial steaming is an easy way to soothe inflamed skin and to deliver active ingredients gently," Dr. Ife Rodney, MD, board-certified dermatologist located in Maryland says. "It’s great for hydration and increases blood circulation to the skin by slowly raising the temperature." Dr. Rodney also says that as it provides moist heat, it is effective for those with dry, sensitive skin or inflammatory conditions like eczema. "Facial steaming also works well for oily skin by helping open and unclog the pores, releasing excess sebum. Finally, it’s a great way to start your skin care regimen as the skin is softer and products can penetrate more easily."

And if you plan on performing at-home extractions, facial steaming is practically a must. "When done correctly, steaming helps to dissolve and dislodge dirt from your pores, making at-home extractions so much easier on your skin," Dr. Rodney says. "The result is less trauma to your skin during the extraction process."

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However, it does take some skill to perform steaming correctly, and at times, it may cause more harm than good. "Before starting, the most important thing to remember is that you should not feel the burn," Dr. Rodney says. "Firstly, hold your face several inches over a large bowl of boiling tap water or mineral water. You should feel gentle warmth and moisture, but not burning or stinging. Cover your head with a towel to help trap the steam around your face, giving more consistent results. Then hold the position for seven to 10 minutes." It's imperative to not exceed those 10 minutes. "If it feels uncomfortable, move your face further away as needed. You can add elements like rosewater, eucalyptus, or loose-leaf herbal teas. For best results, keep your facial steaming at one to two times a week."

But if you prefer skin care tools, Dr. Rodney is a huge proponent of at-home steamers. And in some cases, they're actually the more effective method. "They can give a consistent temperature throughout your session," Dr. Rodney says. "Some even come with ion generators which activate the water molecules for deeper penetration. I’m an advocate for affordable at-home steamers since they all achieve the same results."


Regardless, post-steam is the time to really lean into your skincare routine. "It's the perfect time to apply a face mask, your favorite serums, or skincare products," she says. "The active ingredients are best able to penetrate the warm moist skin at this time." However, she does not suggest rinsing with cold water after steaming. Instead, after applying your serums and moisturizer, she recommends waiting five to 10 minutes in a cool room so that your skin temperature slowly returns to normal temperature.

So if you feel like your skin care isn't routine isn't giving the results you'd like, check out these easy-to-use facial steamers that will make you feel like you're brining the spa home.

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