While many turn to exfoliating scrubs and chemical peels to achieve the clear, fresh and bright skin seen in fashion magazines, an easier solution is found in a facial steam. Essentially, facial steams cause the skin to perspire, allowing pores to open up and breathe. Dirt, oil and grime, which can easily clog the pores and lead to breakouts, blackheads and other imperfections, are deeply cleansed as the steam penetrates the face. Steam also revives tired skin, removes toxins and improves circulation. Though primarily used as a skin care technique, the facial steam is equally beneficial in relieving stress and cold symptoms.
Facial steaming has many benefits:
• Opens your pores
• Removes dead skin cells
• Improves circulation
• Allows for deep cleansing
• Is helpful for acne and blackheads
Facial steaming can be as simple as heating up water in a large bowl in the microwave or on the stove, draping a towel over your head and letting your skin absorb the steam for 5 minutes.
How It Works
Whether performed at a spa or in the comfort of your home, the facial steaming experience is a pampering one. Of course, not everyone finds it practical to visit a spa each week, so the at-home facial is a perfect – and less costly – alternative.
To perform a facial steam yourself and reap the benefits of this nurturing treatment, you will need the following materials:
Hot pot of water: The most basic necessity of any steam is obviously water. Fill a tall pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the water sit for several minutes (no more than 10).
Herb(s) of choice: Depending on your skin type (normal, dry, oily, combination or sensitive), you may want to add a therapeutic herb or essential oil to the water. Several types of herbs and oils are recommended for each skin type. The following is a brief list of those most commonly used in facial steams:
Dry Skin: Rough, scaly skin benefits from chamomile, lavender, elder flower, red clover, calendula, jasmine, comfrey, marshmallow root and rose water. These non-irritants are also suitable for normal skin types.
Oily Skin: Basil, lemongrass, rosemary, licorice root, lavender and witch hazel bark are natural astringents that eliminate bacteria and help prevent acne. Tea-based herbal infusions are also recommended for oily skin.
Sensitive Skin: Those with exceptionally sensitive skin are advised not to undergo a facial steam more often than once a month, for no longer than three to four minutes per session. Typically, rosewater and calendula are exceptionally soothing to irritable skin.
Small-sized towel: The towel serves as a “tent”, covering your head and ensuring the steam does not escape from the proximity of your face.
As the water heats, add the herb or essential oil of choice to the liquid. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer. Remove the pot from the heat.
Place the pot on a table. For greater convenience, the pot may be kept on a heat-safe plate or mat and placed on a kitchen table. This will allow you to be seated while leaning over the pot.
Cover your head with the towel and lean over the pot, leaving a comfortable distance between the steam and your face. You should feel warmth. Do not get too close or the steam may burn your skin. Allow your skin to breathe in the steam and herbal infusion for no more than 15 minutes.
Splash cool water on your face upon completion. This will help seal the pores.
Other Facial Steamer Options
An even quicker at-home steam facial can be accomplished at the sink. Simply fill the bowl with hot water and lean over the steam. A drop of soothing lavender or other aromatherapy oil may be added to enhance the experience. As always, it is important to maintain a safe distance between the steam and your face. Allow your skin to absorb the steam for several minutes before rinsing with cool water.
Prefer something more spa-like? Consider purchasing a facial steamer. Many brands offer the product with a variety of special options.
The following is a list of common facial steamers:
Revlon Moisture Stay Facial Kit: This dual facial and nail spa kit includes a splash guard to keep hot water at a safe distance, and a skin exfoliating attachment.
Conair Warm Steam/Cool Mist Facial Sauna: This convenient set makes steaming a breeze. A timer and automatic shutoff ensure a proper steam each time, and the included sinus cone helps to ease congestion.
I would recommend steaming once a week. It is very enjoyable, and it’s especially good for your skin, but some people have reported breaking out over time with excessive use. Just to be on the safe side, err on the side of caution. A ten minute session is definitely enough time to reap the benefits of a facial steam treatment. Some even recommend using it for as little as five minutes. You don’t want to overdo it with a facial steamer; there is a risk of broken capillaries with excessive use.
Contributed by: Tsharma © 2006-2009 LoveToKnow Corp.Skincare Categories