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Facial steaming is a simple, relaxing beauty treatment you can easily do at home to unwind and pamper your skin. Although it’s easy to do, it’s important to know what to do after steaming your face to maximize the benefits for your skin. Aftercare can be quick and simple or indulgent depending on how much time you have. So if you’re wanting to do an at home facial steam, keep on reading for everything you need to know.
What Is Facial Steaming?
Facial steaming is a common beauty treatment that uses steam from hot water to soften skin and prepare skin for further treatments like exfoliation and extraction.
(Fact check!) Although many people will claim steaming helps to open up pores, this is a common misconception in the skincare industry. Pores are not doors! They cannot open and close. So just keep that in mind, mkay?
Facial steaming can be done at home with a personal steamer or over a bowl of hot water. Luckily, steaming your face is one of the easiest things you can do at home and it will leave you feeling pampered and relaxed! So it’s no wonder it’s super popular at home and in spas.
Benefits Of Facial Steaming
Wondering what does steaming your face do? It turns out, it can do quite a lot!
Relaxes The Body & Mind
Let’s be honest, there’s nothing more relaxing than a day at the spa but unfortunately, we can’t all afford to go for weekly facials. Steaming your face at home can be a great alternative and it’s pretty much just as relaxing! You can be as boujee or as simple with it as you want.
Add some relaxing spa music, aromatherapy and dim the lights for the ultimate relaxation experience. The warmth from the steam will help to relax both your body and mind.
Facial steaming can also help to relax facial and neck muscles, so if you find your muscles are tense after a long day, a steaming session may be just what you need.
That’s why steam rooms and saunas have remained popular! Even natural hot springs have been used for centuries to help relax the mind and body.
We all know hydration is good for us, both inside and out! Drinking enough water every day is essential for overall health but what you may not know is that steam can actually help to hydrate your skin from the outside!
Steam is essentially water in gas form. This means that when you steam your face, you are essentially flooding your skin with water molecules. These water molecules help to hydrate and plump the skin, making it look healthier and more radiant.
Of course, you always want to lock in all that hydration with a good moisturizer. But we’ll get Into that more a little bit later.
Unclogs & Cleansing Pores
While it’s a common myth that steam can help to open up pores, but like we talked about earlier, pores cannot open and close. They are not dynamic and cannot open and shut no matter how much you steam or ice your face.
Not to worry, though, steaming can help to soften and loosen any dirt, sebum or dead skin cells that may be clogging your pores. This will make it easier to remove all the gunk when you do an at-home facial or professional extraction. And by clearing out all of those clogged pores, you can help to prevent breakouts!
And although it might seem that your pores close and open naturally; pores only seem open or large because they are clogged with dirt, sebum or other impurities. Pore size can also change with age as collagen decreases. So, keeping pores clear with proper skincare and promoting collagen production, both of which steaming can help with, can help to reduce the appearance of large pores.
Boosts The Potency Of Skincare Products
It’s been shown that steam and heat can help to increase the skin’s permeability. This means that it can help your skin to better absorb skincare products which means that they can work better and more effectively.
So, the skincare you use right after a steaming session can really make a difference in your skin!
Strengthens Skin Barrier
One study found that regular sessions in the sauna actually help to strengthen the skin barrier. It was found that the sauna had a ton of different effects on the skin including the skin barrier, pH level, trans-epidermal water loss and more.
When your skin barrier is strong, it helps to protect your skin against environmental aggressors, irritants and other impurities that can cause skin conditions and skin issues. Plus it keeps your skin healthy and hydrated!
What To Do Before Steaming Face
Before we get into what to do after steaming your face, we need to know what to do to prepare for the best results and best experience!
Really the only thing you need to do before steaming is to make sure your skin is clean. This means that you should wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any dirt, makeup or impurities from the surface of your skin.
You don’t want to steam with makeup, dirt or oil all over your face because this can actually cause more harm than good.
In order to get all the benefit out of facial steaming, you want to make sure you are starting with a clean slate. This means cleansing your skin before you start steaming. Ideally you want to double cleanse (especially if you’re wearing makeup) with an oil based cleanser followed by a regular cleanser.
You don’t want to add anything else to your face until after you finish your steam session.
How To Steam Your Face
- A bowl
- Boiling water
- Essential oils (optional)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. If you want, you can add a couple drops of essential oils to the water for a little aromatherapy while you steam your face but this is completely optional
- Place your face about 10-12 inches from the bowl (be careful not to get too close or you could burn your skin)
- Place the towel over your head to trap the steam for maximum benefit
- Steam your face 10-15 minutes
- Gently pat your skin dry with a clean towel
Steaming your face is quick and easy but can have lots of benefits. Once you’re done you might be wondering what to do after steaming your face, so keep on reading to find out. Of course, you can totally stop here and slap on your usual moisturizer to lock in all that extra hydration, but if you want to maximize benefit and pamper your skin then you can do some or all of these next steps.
What To Do After Steaming Your Face
Since facial steaming can have so many amazing benefits for the skin, you’re probably left wondering what’s the best thing to do after steaming your face to maximize benefits. Here are some ideas to get all the benefits possible out of your facial steaming session!
1. Physically Exfoliate
Exfoliating after steaming your face can help to slough away dead skin cells, dirt and impurities that have been loosened up by the steam. This will leave your skin feeling smooth, soft and looking bright and radiant.
Exfoliating after steaming can be especially beneficial for those with rough or dry skin as all those dead skin cells can be really stubborn to remove normally, but after steaming, they should come off much easier. Just make sure to use a gentle exfoliator so you don’t irritate your skin.
There are a few different ways you can exfoliate your skin. You can use a physical exfoliant or a chemical exfoliant (or both!).
Physical exfoliants tend to get a bad rap because certain ones can cause skin damage and irritation, but if you choose a well-formulated exfoliant, you won’t have any issues.
There are many different types of physical exfoliants such as scrubs, rice polish, sponges and more. Really you just want to avoid any seeds (like apricot or walnut seeds) and stick to finer particles like rice powder. If you don’t have a physical exfoliant on hand, don’t worry, you can always use a trust ol’ washcloth!
Simply use your exfoliant of choice over your skin (just follow the directions on the product). If you’re using a washcloth, just remember to use light pressure and massage in circular motions all around your face and neck.
2. Use Enzymes
Peter Thomas Roth
Pumpkin Enzyme Mask
Andalou Naturals Fruit
Enzyme exfoliants are a favorite of mine because they are so effective and so gentle. If you have sensitive skin, enzyme exfoliants are a great choice to avoid any irritation.
Enzyme exfoliants work by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells so they can be easily removed. This leaves your skin looking bright and radiant while also feeling smooth and soft. They can also help to clear up any blackheads or clogged pores. And if you are going to do extractions, they help to loosen everything up so you can do them more easily.
Extractions are when you manually remove blackheads, sebaceous filaments and clogged pores from your skin. It’s easy to go overboard with extractions, so be sure to not go too crazy!
Extractions are best done after some sort of enzyme or clay mask that can help to loosen everything up and make all that gunk easier to remove.
It’s best to use your fingertips (but do NOT use your fingernails) or a comedone extractor tool.
If done properly, there will be no damage done to your skin. Extractions can help to reduce acne, minimize pores and blackheads.
4. Use A Mask
There are so many different types of masks so you can choose which one best suits your skin and your skin’s needs. If you have dry skin, you might want to try a hydrating mask or sheet mask. If you have oily skin, a clay mask or clarifying mask might be the best choice.
Masks can help to remove impurities from your skin, hydrate your skin, soothe irritated skin and more.
For oily skin – choose a clay mask or exfoliating mask with salicylic acid
For acne prone skin – go for a clay mask or acne treating mask with salicylic acid or niacinamide, benzoyl peroxide or sulfur
For combination skin – a clay mask or hydrating mask should do the trick. You can even do a clay mask on your t-zone and a hydrating mask on drier areas like your cheeks.
For dry skin – opt for a hydrating mask or sheet mask
For sensitive skin – you might want to try a soothing or calming mask
Pick your poison and apply it to your face after steaming and follow the directions on the label.
After you remove your mask, you’ll want to cleanse the skin with a gentle cleanser to remove any excess product. This will also help to prep your skin for the next steps in your skincare routine. Just stick with your normal cleanser here, it doesn’t have to be anything special.
6. Tone (optional)
Toning is an optional step, but if you choose to do it, now is the time. Toner can help to remove any last traces of dirt and impurities from your skin. It can also help to restore your skin’s pH balance, hydrate and soothe.
Be sure to avoid any toners with witch hazel or alcohol in them as they will just dry out and irritate the skin.
Now it’s time to treat your skin with any serums or active ingredients like salicylic acid or niacinamide, lactic acid, retinol, azelaic acid, vitamin c, etc.
These ingredients can help to treat a variety of skin concerns like acne, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tone and more. And since you just steamed your face, these products will be even more effective!
If you don’t want to use any kind of active ingredient here, you can never go wrong with a good ol’ hyaluronic acid serum. This will immediately plump the skin and keep all that hydration locked in.
Last but not least, you’ll want to moisturize your skin. This will lock in all that hydration, moisturize and soothe the skin. Moisturizer is such an important step, so don’t forget it!
Is Steaming Good For The Face?
As long as it’s done properly and you don’t overdo it, steaming can be a great way to help improve your skin and relax your body and mind. Of course, you should also take into consideration your skin type. If you have extremely sensitive or reactive skin or have skin conditions like rosacea, your skin may react negatively to the heat.
But generally, facial steaming is perfectly safe and effective.
How Long Should You Steam Your Face
You shouldn’t need to steam your face more than 20 minutes. Since it’s so relaxing, it can definitely be hard to stick to that time limit, but trust me, your skin will thank you for it. Longer steaming sessions can lead to irritation, broken blood vessels and irritation.
Be sure to set a timer to make sure you don’t overdo it!
How Often Should You Steam Your Face?
Facial steaming is a great way to help improve your skin and decompress, but you don’t want to overdo it. Steaming your face too often can actually strip your skin of its natural oils and lead to irritation.
I would recommend steaming your face no more than once a week. If you have very oily skin, you could get away with steaming your face 2-3 times a week. But if you have dry or sensitive skin, once a week should suffice.
It can also be something you do on a monthly basis, especially if you do an at home facial routine with it. Monthly facials are often recommended by dermatologists and estheticians so it’s perfectly okay to do them at home as well.
What Not To Do After Steaming Your Face
Now that you know what to do after steaming your face, let’s go over what not to do. Here are a few things you should avoid doing after steaming your face
Although you can use a physical exfoliant after steaming your face, you don’t want to use anything harsh or aggressively rub at your skin with a towel. Your skin will be more sensitive after steaming so you want to be extra gentle with it.
Don’t Forget To Moisturize
This is such an important step, so don’t forget to do it! Even if you don’t do any mask or other treatments, you must must moisturize! Moisturizing will help to lock in all that hydration and keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. And it will add back those oils and lipids that were stripped away during the steaming process.
What To Do After Steaming Your Face For Acne
Although you can totally follow the above steps to help with acne, there are a few other things you can do as well to help clear up your skin.
Following a facial steam, you definitely want to use an exfoliant, a clay mask and targeted treatments.
If you have active acne (including cystic acne), stay away from physical exfoliants which can open up the skin and lead to more inflammation and spread bacteria around your face. Instead, opt for a chemical exfoliant like enzymes or salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is the best choice because it can unclog pores, reduce oil production and kill acne causing bacteria.
After steaming your face, you can also use a clay mask to help draw out impurities and help with active acne. Try to find a mask that contains bentonite or kaolin clay. You can also use one with salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or sulfur for even more acne fighting power.
And lastly, don’t forget to use targeted treatments like spot treatments or serums containing ingredients like niacinamide, zinc or salicylic acid. Spot treatment like drying lotions can be used as well once you’ve moisturized your skin.
What To Do After Steaming Your Face FAQs
Should I wash my face after facial steaming?
Yes, I would recommend washing your face with a gentle cleanser after steaming your face. This will help to remove any impurities that may have been drawn to the surface of your skin during the steaming process.
Can I put ice on my face after steaming?
Many people think that steaming your face will open up your pores and using ice will close or shrink them. However, this is a myth! Pores don’t actually open or close, but steaming your face can help to loosen up any dirt and debris that may be clogging them. So using ice on your face won’t really have much benefit aside from cooling the skin and providing a temporary anti-inflammatory effect.
You can do it if it feels nice, but there’s really no benefit.
How do you close your pores after steaming?
Pores don’t actually open or close but steaming your face can help to loosen up any dirt and debris that may be clogging them. So, by removing any impurities in your pores, they will appear smaller.
Can I steam my face everyday?
No, you should not steam your face everyday. Doing so can strip your skin of its natural oils and lead to dryness, irritation and other problems. Once or twice a week is plenty.
Do I exfoliate before or after steaming face?
It’s really up to you, but I would recommend exfoliating after steaming your face. This way you can take advantage of the fact that the skin will be softer and all those dead skin cells will be easier to remove.
What Should You Do After Steaming Your Face Wrap Up
So, what to do after steaming your face? While most of these steps are completely optional, you definitely want to make sure to cleanse and moisturize after a facial steaming session. However, if you want to completely pamper your skin, you can go all out with an at home facial routine after your facial steam. The steps above will help to remove any impurities that may have been drawn to the surface of your skin during the steaming process, and will also help to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy. Although the steps are all optional, I would definitely recommend using a gentle cleanser, mask and moisturizer at the very least to get all the benefits out of it.