There’s a reason the aesthetician steams your face before treating it! More than just a remedy for blocked sinuses, steaming can be a wonderfully relaxing, beneficial way to cleanse and nourish your skin. We explore the benefits of facial steaming at home, how to choose the best essential oil for your skin type, and how to get yourself set up at home.
The benefits of steam facials
Could something as simple as placing your head over a steaming bowl of water be beneficial to you? The experts seem to think so.
Joshua Zeichner (director of cosmetic and clinical research, Mount Sinai Hospital) believes facial steaming can help you reap the benefits of skincare products. He told Allure: "Facial steaming can help hydrate and soften the outer skin layer, enhancing penetration of active ingredients into the skin."
The heat created through steam causes excess sebum build-up to loosen and rise to the surface of the skin. Because it causes you to sweat, you're more likely to flush pore blockages out. This makes steaming a good option for anyone suffering from congestion or blemishes. Dr. Arash Akhavan (The Dermatology & Laser Group) told Marie Claire: "Facial steaming is a great option for patients with acne prone skin or with stubborn blackheads.”
Steaming is also a great way to restore moisture to parched skin — especially in the harsh winter months. Because humid air is filled with moisture, it can be used to ease the symptoms of cold weather damage, such as cracked lips and dry skin.
It's worth noting that facial steaming may not be suitable if you suffer from rosacea. The hot air causes blood vessel dilation which could worsen the issue. Avoid overindulging in steaming treatments, too — once a week will suffice or you run the risk of stripping the natural oils from your skin.
Choosing essential oils for facial steaming
Tea tree oil
The antimicrobial properties of tea tree oil make it an excellent choice if you’re facial steaming for acne. It has the added benefit of opening the sinuses, too!
One of the best essential oils for facial steaming before bed is lavender. The comforting, floral scent is incredibly calming and is especially good for dry or eczema-prone skin.
Did you know that jasmine oil is often used to lift low moods and anxiety? It could also reduce oxidative stress to keep the surface of your skin looking smooth.
How to do your own facial steaming at home
Facial steaming is an accessible DIY treatment, which means mistakes are easy to make. Here are some tips on how to steam your face in the safest way possible.
Cleanse your skin to prep it for the treatment.
Fill a large heatproof bowl with very hot (not boiling) water. You should aim to fill it a third of the way to minimise the risk of spillages. Place your bowl on a stable, flat surface such as a table or kitchen worktop.
Add one drop of your chosen essential oil and lean over the bowl, keeping your face about 10 inches away from the surface of the hot water. Your skin should feel pleasantly warm, not hot or burning.
Drape a thick towel over your head to create a tent that traps the steam. Stay over the bowl for 5 to 10 minutes with your eyes closed.
- Rinse your skin with warm water and gently pat dry. Apply your favourite serum or cream as normal. Your skin should feel fresh and rejuvenated!