Modern Medicine

Are facial steam treatments a good idea?
Answered by Science Channel
  • Science Channel

    Science Channel

  1. The ancient Romans thought that steam was good for cleaning and beautifying skin, and many modern estheticians agree. You can benefit from the effects of a full-body sauna, but it’s also possible to have a directed facial steam treatment.

    The heat of the steam causes the blood vessels in your face to expand, and the increased blood flow gives your cheeks a healthy, rosy aura. You’ll also sweat, which can clear out your pores and make your face feel good, just like a sauna does for the rest of your body. There isn’t any hard scientific proof that steam treatments have serious medical value for your skin, but that needn’t stop you from enjoying a good steam, if you feel it’s improving your looks.

    It’s fairly simple to pamper yourself with a facial steam treatment at home - all you need is hot water, a bowl and a large towel:

    1. While you’re boiling a pot of water, wash your face with a mild cleanser.

    2. Once the water has boiled, pour it into the bowl and let it stand for a few minutes to cool to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius). Be careful that it’s not too hot - you don’t want to cook your face!

    3. Place the bowl on a table or bench where you can lean over it. Cover your head and the bowl with the towel to create an enclosed “sauna” for your face. Don’t stay in the steam for more than 10 to 15 minutes; too much steam can actually dry out your skin. A kitchen timer can help you keep track of how long you’ve been steaming.

    4. After you’re done, refresh your face with cool water to wash away the sweat. You can enhance your home spa by adding essential oils to the steaming water for fragrance and relaxation.

    Many people believe in the benefits of steam treatment for the skin, but it’s not appropriate for everyone. Excessive heat near your face can dry out your skin, and this can have a negative impact on your skin health and appearance. You shouldn’t steam too often if your skin is sensitive; once a month is probably enough. People with eczema should refrain from steam treatments of any kind. The same goes for people with rosacea, since the expansion of the blood vessels in the heat can cause rosacea symptoms to worsen.

    More answers from Science Channel »

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