Blackheads are caused by clogged pores, usually when sebum combines with skin pigment within the pores. Steam is used to open the pores, which allows for easier removal of blackheads. Facial steams are made more effective by using herbs or essential oils, providing a painless way of getting rid of embarrassing blemishes. However, a plain hot water steam can be just as effective, if it is done properly.
Pour 1 pint of water into a large saucepan. Bring the water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Then remove the pan from the heat.
Add the dried herbs to the water and stir to combine. Place oven mitts on your hands to prevent burns. Move the pan from the stove to a sturdy, flat surface such as a table top.
Make a tent over your head and the pan using an old towel. Sit with your face at least 6 inches from the water for 10 minutes. Make sure the towel contains the steam so it penetrates your skin.
Remove the towel from your head and stand in front of a mirror. Circle any blackheads with a clean piece of cotton or wool cloth while pushing lightly, to gently remove them from the pores. Avoid touching your face with your hands.
Rinse your face with cold water, or apply an astringent to close the pores once the blackheads have been removed. Repeat the facial steam as necessary, if stubborn blackheads are still embedded in the pores.
Any dried herbs which are beneficial to the complexion may be used to remove blackheads with a facial steam. Chamomile, nettle, fennel, comfrey, yarrow or lady's mantle will work well. If herbs are unavailable, they may be omitted and hot water used alone, or essential oil may be used instead. Try 2 to 3 drops of lavender, chamomile, tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil in place of the herbs.
If the steam becomes too hot or uncomfortable at any time, or if you begin to feel light-headed, remove the towel for a few seconds and then resume the steam.