Q: I’ve heard that facial steaming is beneficial for my complexion. Can you tell me more about it?
Licensed esthetician Catie Wiggy of MyChelle Dermaceuticals responds:
Warm steam feels so good, and it absolutely has beneficial aspects for skin. For centuries, all around the world, steam has been used to support many different areas of health, from promoting relaxation and relieving muscle soreness to boosting the vibrancy of skin.
There are several ways you can go about steaming your skin. Professional salons offer facials featuring steam treatments. You could also invest in an at-home facial steamer, which ranges in cost from $40 to $250+. Hot tubs, steam rooms, showers or even a bowl of hot water covered by a towel are also good options for steaming your skin.
Depending on your skin type, steam can have great effects on your complexion. Here is a breakdown by skin type:
Combination / oily / blemish-prone skin
Facial steaming can help open pores so products penetrate easily, but it also works to soften the skin, allowing whiteheads, blackheads and other debris to be extracted more easily. This is why many professionals and estheticians utilize steam in facials and specialized treatments. A common skin myth, however, is that acne can be healed or treated with steam. While it’s true that steaming can help clear skin of debris, it’s not enough to stop or prevent future breakouts.
Utilizing good anti-bacterial and anti-blemish products such as the MyChelle Cranberry Mud Mask in conjunction with steam will help reduce breakouts. After steam warms the skin and opens the pores, this product’s unique blend of richly detoxifying kaolin and bentonite clays will absorb excess oil and debris. The ingredient Totarolâ„¢ helps purify and balance, while cranberry extract, known as a superfruit for its high antioxidant content, supports overall skin health and helps give skin a luminescent glow.
Since steaming helps the skin become more receptive to products, dry skin will absolutely benefit from steam treatment. If you have dry skin, try incorporating steam into your skincare routine once a week. First, cleanse your skin. Apply steam for several minutes to allow your pores to open. Next, apply a MyChelle Hydrating Cactus mask. This product’s skin-protecting and antioxidant-rich prickly pear cactus combines with soothing blue agave to ease discomfort and signs of redness ““ while deeply hydrating and preventing moisture loss. Protection is further enhanced with smithsonite and malachite stone extracts to shield against environmental stress and pollution.
Facial steaming can help plump dull, dry skin, but keep in mind that if you over steam, your skin can become dehydrated. If you let too much heat get near your skin, the increased blood flow could lead to weakened capillaries as well. It’s recommended to have a heat no higher than 110Ëš and keep the steam a safe distance of 12 to18 inches from the skin.
There’s one dreadfully uncomfortable trait that comes with every variety of skin sensitivity: inflammation. You may recognize the signs””redness, discomfort and good old-fashioned irritation. It’s no fun at all, and everything from genetics to environmental stressors and harsh skin care products can act as triggers.
Sensitive skin conditions must be handled delicately, so steam must be used with care. Using warm steam (as opposed to hot steam) will help supply moisture without overstimulating or irritating your skin. Similar to dry skin, sensitive skin can benefit from a weekly dose of steam used as a tool to open the pores and encourage circulation.
Cleanse your skin as you normally would, then steam for a few minutes allowing pores to open. Next apply MyChelle Pure Harmony Mask, which is loaded with arnica ““ a natural anti-inflammatory that improves cellular circulation, provides pain relief and repairs damage associated with skin irritations. Leave it on your skin and continue steaming for five minutes. Rinse, then follow with a good hydrating cream.
Your skin will look and feel great with these easy DIY treatments.
Catie Wiggy is Innovative Programs Manager for MyChelle Dermaceuticals. She has been working in the skincare industry for over 10 years as a makeup artist and licensed esthetician. She holds several certifications in esthetics and has hands-on experience with chemical peels, microdermabrasions, acne management and anti-aging treatments.