Is Hot Steam Good for Your Face?

Sure it's soothing, but is steam good for your skin?

Photo: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Whether the steam is created by an actual facial steamer, or by a pot on your stove, the steam is supposedly great for your skin and pores. But is it really? Before you go and try this facial technique, you should know if it will really live up to all the hype.

Coming Clean about Steam

Placing your delicate face in a cloud of hot steam may sound a little dangerous, but it is actually good for your skin. The heat and moisture open your pores, allowing any gunk inside to come on out. Doing so also hydrates your skin, which is particularly beneficial for gals who are feeling a bit parched in that area.

How to Steam

If you don't have a fancy schmancy facial steamer at your disposal, don't fret -- you can make one yourself. Simply place a pot of water on the stove and allow it to come to a boil. Sticking a few drops of rosemary or lavender oil in the water adds soothing properties for normal skin and peppermint or lemon oil helps skin that is oily. Drape a towel over your head so that it acts like a cover, turn the stove off and place your face in the steam. Don't get it too close; if you feel any discomfort, take a step back. Allow your face to soak up all the glorious moisture for five to ten minutes, or until the steam runs out. Your face should feel revitalized after the treatment.

Precautions

Placing your face too close to the pot could cause your skin to become irritated. Bottom line -- if it hurts, step away. Additionally, you could run the risk of becoming overheated, so if you're starting to feel your temperature rise a little too much, take the towel off and come up for air. Avoid steaming your face more than once a week, and your skin will thank you for looking so good and being taken care of.

Water Steam Alternative

Steam created by water is helpful, but there may be another type of steam that works even better. Next time, try boiling some milk and sticking your face in the steam created by that. Pour the milk into another bowl once it starts boiling to avoid creating curdles. Place the towel over your head and get to relaxing. The lactic acid in the milk helps unclog your pores and gives you a nice glow.

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