Warm steam has the ability to soften the skin, along with dead skin cells, left-behind cosmetics, oil and bacteria that plug pores, filling the blackheads, whiteheads and pimples that appear on the surface of broken-out skin.
Although steaming your face will not “open" your pores, it will, however, warm and soften the material stuck inside them. This will make it easier for you to evict this debris and purify your pores. As such, steaming is an integral first step to deep skin cleansing, something that should be part of your regular care regimen if your skin is oily or prone to developing acne.
Creating Steam At Home
Fill a two-quart saucepan with water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the water simmer. Note that the saucepan that you use to steam your face should ideally not also be used for food preparation.
If you plan to make steam part of your regular skin regimen, you may want to purchase a facial steamer. A basic model can be purchased for approximately $20, and models with additional features and tools can cost $100 and more.
A mixture of herbs and steam is very soothing to your skin and senses. Reduce the boiling water to the minimal temperature needed to produce steam and add a handful of herbs.
The following herbs are appropriate for acne and oily skin: yarrow flowers, peppermint leaves, lemongrass, witch hazel leaves or twigs, rosebuds, lavender flowers, sage, elderflowers and lemon peel. These herbs are known for their astringent and antibacterial properties.
Pre-Steam Skin Preparation
Cleanse the skin, taking care to remove all make-up and residue from your face before steaming. Follow cleansing with light exfoliation to remove dead skin cells, makeup and debris from the surface of your skin. Use a light hand to avoid irritating your skin. When finished, pat your skin dry with a clean towel.
Steam Your Skin
Place a towel or cloth over your head to create a steam tent and lean over the steaming water for approximately 15 minutes. If you are steaming via the stove top, keep your face about 12 inches from the top of the pot to keep the steam from burning your skin. Breathe deeply, inhaling the steam and relaxing the muscles in your face.
After steaming, lightly pat-dry your skin with a clean towel. Although face steam is an excellent addition to your acne or oily-skin care regimen, do not steam more than twice a week.
Dip a pure cotton ball in toner and apply it to your skin. Repeat, changing cotton balls, until the ball’s surface is clean after being passed over your skin.
Avoid alcohol-based astringents, which strip the skin. Indeed, the oiliest skin requires nothing stronger than witch hazel. If you are tempted to apply straight alcohol to these areas in hopes of quashing acne, think again. To even the oiliest of complexions, alcohol is so intense an astringent it typically results in more oil being sent to the area.
- Acne RX; Dr. James Fulton; 2001
- Herbs for Healthy Skin; Dr. Cindy L. A. Jones; 2002
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Nicole Makauskas