Steaming skin: useful or not?
Dear Gorgeous Reader,
In my article in which I explain to you that pores cannot open and close, This is kind of part 2. So what do some estheticians use steamers during a treatment? My thoughts as a teenager before I became esthetician, Were as far as I knew then your pores open while steaming so that all dirt comes out or you can remove the dirt better. I was told this by my esthetician I went to as well. But pores cannot open at all. Then why do we steam? And why is it still so often used by estheticians?
I immediately started investigating and some sources even dare to claim that (too often) steaming is bad for your skin, while others stimulate it. I run into contradictions everywhere, so below I’ve listed all the facts of what I could find about steaming your face.
First, let me start by explaining what steaming your face is all about. There are special facial steamers, a device that converts water into steam and vaporizes it over your face. You can also DIY steam at home by hanging over a bowl of boiling hot water with a towel over you. For example, you can drop essential oils into the water that enhance the cleaning effect of steaming, such as lavender oil or tea tree oil. On average, you steam for about 10 to 15 minutes. Everywhere on the internet, I come across that steaming is good as a pre-treatment for deep cleaning of your skin, because it “will open your pores”. We now know that this term is incorrect (see my article on pores).
In fact, this is happening; the hot temperatures of the steam dilate the blood vessels in your face. This causes your face to swell slightly, making your pores look smaller and finer. Therefore, if you have severe acne and so many clogged pores and subcutaneous inflammation, it is possible that your acne will get worse because the dirt is “trapped” by the swelling of your face.
In most cases, steaming can help cleanse your face, but not because it opens your pores. It helps because the moisture from the steam softens and softens your stratum corneum (the top layer of the epidermis, which consists of dead skin cells and often dirt). Softening ensures that dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, and other mess are loosened up and are better removed by the products you use after steaming. Often a mask is applied after steaming because it can “penetrate better and deeper into the skin because the pores are open”. That is not true, but because your top skin layer is now soft, the active ingredients in the mask will now be able to reach the layer under the stratum corneum more easily. So it does indeed penetrate deeper into the skin, but that has nothing to do with opened pores. Your (clogged) pores after steaming are suddenly easier to reach and therefore blackheads are easier to remove.
Steaming promotes blood circulation in your skin and stimulates sweating. Improved blood circulation provides that coveted glowing skin and with sweating you lose moisture, but also waste products that could have clogged the skin.
However, steaming too often does not seem to be good for your skin. Hot water can get into your skin via steam and cause a burning reaction there. Ouch! It is true that steam from boiled water is hotter than the boiled water itself, in other words, steam is hotter than 100 degrees Celsius! That’s hot (but not in a Paris Hilton kinda way). And as you know, showering with hot water every day is very drying for your skin, and steaming is exactly the same. If you steam your skin too often, your skin will eventually dry out and you are not waiting for that. In any case, it is advisable to apply a good moisturizing cream after steaming and cleaning.
After my research on steaming the face, I can draw a few conclusions and I hope you agree with me.
First, steaming is not for everyone. Have your skin type and the extent of your acne determined by a dermatologist or beautician to find out if steaming can make your acne worse or not.
Secondly, I do believe that steaming helps cleanse your face because it softens your top layer of skin so that the products you use after steaming can better reach the skin layer below. This way you can clean your skin “deeper”.
However, steaming too often is drying for your skin, so try to find a balance here. If you have dry skin, steaming once a month seems to be sufficient. If your skin is combined into fat, you can probably steam more often. On some sites, I read that you should be able to steam twice a week, but I would do it no more than once a week, but this of course differs per person.
So why does the one esthetician/beautician in the treatment and the other not? Depending on the classic treatment it will almost always be used in the treatment. But the beauty industry always keeps in-proofing and developing. And in my salon at the moment there is no steamer. In my professional opinion is it not a vital point in the process. It feels great and adds ambiance to a treatment for the client. But the products that are used now don’t need direct steam to work. Now you probably are confused because just a minute ago you said that it works for products applied after steaming? For at home it is fun to do. If your skin is suitable for it. Giving in in the wellness feeling it gives is also good for the mind and relaxes you. And as always ”Less stress = Fewer lines!”
As a final tip, I would like to tell you to be careful with too hot steam. Steam from boiling water can be 120 degrees hot and you can get burns from this! There are devices called facial saunas where you can set the temperature. This is much safer because you know how hot the steam is because with a bowl of hot water you never know! You can also burn yourself on the bowl and also make sure that you do not accidentally knock over the bowl. Do not immediately hang too close over the boiling water, first take some distance. You will notice when it gets too hot and stuffy for you and if you can get a little closer to the water with your face.
I hope you have become a bit wiser about steaming, at least I do! Do you ever steam your face? I never really do it, but I will try it sometime (but not too often!).