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Steam cleaning your face at home

Image: © Péter Mács / Fotolia

Steam-bathing is an ancient and efficient method for cleansing your face at home. It can be utilized as a stand-alone procedure or as part of the preparation for a more thorough cleaning of the face. Beauty salons use steam to prepare the face for many procedures because it softens the skin and makes it more susceptible to the following treatments.
The traditional steam bath of the face does not require a lot of time or expenses. All you need is to be willing to care for your skin, although not all types of skin respond well to a steam bath.

Advantages of steam bathing

Steam softens the skin, opens the pores and releases impurities, facilitates the process of removing dead cells. It is very beneficial for oily skin prone to formation of comedons – blackheads with an inflammatory element, which the steam helps soften. Yet it is precisely this effect of steaming, which is the foundation of its usefulness in cosmetic therapy that is also responsible for the negative sides of this procedure, making it dangerous for other skin types.


If the skin isn’t just oily, but problematic, prone to inflammation and cuperosis, with blood vessels close to the surface, instead of helping to deal with these issues, steam can complicate them. Take care when you treat dry skin with steam, especially if you are at an age when you are starting to use anti-aging products. In this case the skin does not have enough moisture, elasticity and flexibility and thermal treatment can deplete is further, aggravating its reactions to irritants of any kind.

Never treat flabby skin with steam.

Enlarged pores is yet another condition where steaming the face is not advisable. It is sad that there are still women who do not realize the severity of the problem posed by enlarged pores and not only keep subjecting their face to steam baths, but also scrub the skin even further with abrasives claiming to be cleaning the pores.
Large pores are a natural condition, which cannot be remedied by cosmetic treatment. But to stretch them further by subjecting them daily to steaming and scrubbing is counterproductive.

Steaming rules

Steam bath can be used once a week for oily skin. For normal skin with a tendency toward forming blackheads, use once a week for a thorough cleansing. If your normal skin is strong enough and is not problematic, use as often as twice a week as a precaution against pollution or for enhancing the work of other cosmetic treatments you use.

The procedure

To prepare a simple steam bath, all you need to do is boil water, pour it into a bowl and cover the head with a towel whilst bending above the bowl for 5 to 15 minutes. 15 minutes is the longest amount of time designated for the roughest, most polluted skin. Afterwards dry the face off with a soft towel (dab, don’t rub), give the skin a little time to dry completely and apply nourishing lotion or facial mask.
If your skin needs more than one steam bath, you must help with its cleansing immediately after the steaming while the pores are still open and impurities surface. Whiteheads are easier to draw out. You can use your hands to remove the larger ones among them, just make sure that they are clean. If you want to ensure complete cleansing of the face, then scrub gently massaging with mild exfoliant. Do not use strong abrasives at this point under no circumstances. More suitable would be a light peeling with a creamy base and dissolving particles, preferably with oat bran.
After the scrub, be sure to apply regenerative nourishing lotion to compensate for the skin losing its uppermost protective layer.
Besides pure water, you can also use herbal solution for your steam bath. The most common are chamomile and peppermint, which soften the skin and have an anti-inflammatory effect.

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