In the pursuit of healthy, radiant skin, steaming your face can be a game changer. But what comes next after indulging in this refreshing ritual? In this guide, we delve into the essential steps after steaming your face, ensuring you get the most out of your skincare routine.
Steaming not only unclogs pores, promoting clearer skin, but it also enhances your skin’s ability to absorb products, increasing their effectiveness.
However, like any skincare practice, steaming demands proper technique and your skin will need some extra TLC afterwards. Post-steaming care is very important, otherwise you may end up with excessive dryness and exacerbated skin issues.
As perfect as it may sound, face steaming can have some side effects if you don’t take care of your skin properly afterwards.
Acne breakouts are one of the multiple side effects you may be dealing with. Your pores may look even bigger.
That’s why proper post-steaming routine is so important.
Don’t worry tho, this article will unveil the secrets to a glowing complexion and help you understand what to do after steaming your face.
Everything You Need To Know About Face Steaming
Facial streaming is exactly what the name implicates.
This skincare practice involves exposing the skin on your face to the steam produced by heated water. Steaming your face is effective in loosening up the pores, allowing impurities, dirt and excess sebum to be easily removed.
Warm and moist air makes your skin sweat (it triggers sweat glands, facilitating the expulsion of additional impurities), which is the body’s natural way of detoxifying1.
Facial steaming works by allowing water molecules to penetrate deep into your pores, effectively dissolving dead skin cells, dirt and other impurities. The steam has the additional effect of expanding pores, making hardened sebum more accessible for purging2.
What’s more, steaming enhances blood circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the surface of your skin. The moisture from the steam also helps hydrate your skin.
The effect? Softer, supple skin with a healthy glow. Moreover, steaming efficiently eliminates blackheads and excess sebum.
When done correctly, steaming can prepare your skin for other skincare treatments, allowing products to penetrate deeper and work more effectively. Thanks to that, your skin absorbs the active ingredients in serums, moisturizers, and other skincare products way better.
This beauty technique can be done in a spa or at home using facial steamers or a DIY steamer, but the basic idea is to expose your face to warm steam first, which helps dissolve product buildup on the skin’s surface while boosting hydration.
Facial steaming also generally feels relaxing and enjoyable – like taking a spa day at home.
How To Prep Your Face For Steaming
Before steaming your face, ensure that your skin is clean and free of makeup, dirt or oil.
Preparing your face adequately before steaming is crucial to maximize its benefits.
Begin by cleansing your face thoroughly to remove makeup and all that gunk. A clean canvas ensures that the steam can penetrate deeply into your pores, effectively clearing out debris.
- If you deal with oily skin, you should wash your face for example using double cleanse method in order to get rid of all the excess oil.
- If you have very dry or sensitive skin already, over-washing your face can make it even drier and damage your skin barrier. In that case, preparing your skin before steaming should only include using a gentle cleanser.
- If you have any type of acne treatment on your skin such as benzoyl peroxide or typical retinoid, be sure to wash it off completely since those products can cause irritation when exposed to steam.
Next step is exfoliation – although it’s not necessary every time, it can be beneficial when done occasionally. This process sloughs off dead skin cells, allowing the steam to reach newer, healthier skin layers. However, be gentle to avoid irritation.
Remember that you can adjust you pre-steaming skincare routine according to the needs of your skin type.
As for timing, incorporate steaming into your evening skincare routine. Evening steaming enables your skin to recover and absorb nutrients overnight, promoting optimal rejuvenation.
However, if you prefer morning steaming, make sure to follow it up with a good moisturizer and sunscreen to protect your skin throughout the day. Whichever time you choose, the key lies in consistency and moderation, ensuring your skin reaps the rewards without unnecessary stress.
Also, remember about hydration. Drinking water before exposing yourself to heat of any kind is a good idea, so drink some water before you begin.
Should I Exfoliate My Face Before Or After Steaming?
It’s best to exfoliate your face before steaming. Exfoliation involves removing dead skin cells, either through physical scrubs or chemical exfoliators.
Physical scrubs work by manually sloughing off dead skin, while chemical exfoliators – such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), beta hydroxy acids (BHA) or polyhydroxy acids (PHA), dissolve dead skin cells chemically, providing a gentler option for sensitive skin
By exfoliating first, you clear away the top layer of dead skin cells, allowing the steam to penetrate deeper into your pores.
Thanks to exfoliation before steaming, it’s easier to cleanse impurities, dirt, and oil trapped in pores.
Some beauty experts recommend doing the exfoliation after the steaming.
This is because dirt and impurities are loosened up, therefore the scrub (or acid) is better able to remove all that gunk afterward.
However, be careful about the type of the scrub or acid you choose to use – to avoid irritation after steaming.
My favorite is lactic acid – the most gentle AHA.
Exfoliating after steaming can still be beneficial for refining the skin’s texture and ensuring a smoother complexion, but the core benefit of deep cleansing is achieved more efficiently when exfoliation is done beforehand.
The goal of exfoliation is to remove dead skin cells and impurities that are trapped. But since the steam has already softened all that dirt, you don’t need to exfoliate your facial skin to remove them.
How To Do Facial Steaming At Home
There are various techniques to performing DIY face steam at home, if you don’t have a facial steamer.
Steam Your Face With A Hot Water
- Cleanse: Prep your face by washing it with a gentle cleanser. If you wish, you can follow up with an exfoliator.
- Prepare your bowl: Boil water and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Add your chosen herbs or dried flowers to the hot water. Let it steep for a few minutes. Position the bowl on a stable surface and sit comfortably in front of it.
- Keep your face over the bowl: Drape a large towel over your head, shoulders, and the bowl, creating a tent-like structure to trap the steam. Once the steam is comfortable, lean over the bowl, keeping your face about 12 inches away from the water. Close your eyes to prevent irritation. Breathe deeply and relax while the steam envelops your skin.
- Duration of steaming session: Steam your face for about 10-15 minutes. For sensitive skin, limit it to 5-7 minutes to prevent overstimulation.
Remember, steam can be hot, so be cautious to avoid burns. If the steam feels too intense, adjust the distance between your face and the water.
Here are some tips for choosing dried flowers accordingly to your skin type:
- Normal skin: Thyme, parsley, chamomile and lavender.
- Oily skin: Mint, willow bark, neem leaves, slices of orange or lemon, sage, eucalyptus, rosemary.
- Dry skin: Chamomile, lavender.
- Wrinkle prone skin: Rose petals.
You can also replace the dried flowers with essential oil according to your skin type.
Don’t forget to follow up with a gentle cleanser, toner, and moisturizer after your steaming session to lock in the benefits.
How To Steam Your Face With A Warm Towel
- Prep your face: Use a gentle facial wash to cleanse your face and neck.
- Prep the bowl: Fill a bowl with boiling water and add essential oil or dried flowers, accordingly to your skin type and concerns.
- Prep the towel: Put the towel in the hot water, let it soak up, and then wring it out.
- Keep calm & steam: Lie down and place that wet warm towel on your face. Keep it on for about 5 minutes.
How To Steam Your Face With Lemon And Honey
- The bowl: Pour 1/2 liter of boiling water into a bowl and add 10 drops of lemon essential oil (if you don’t have it, you can also use lemon juice).
- The towel: Drape a towel over your head, covering the bowl. To avoid irritation, close your eyes. Steam your face for 10 minutes.
- Exfoliation: In another bowl, prepare DIY peel. Mix 1 teaspoon of honey, lemon, sugar or salt (choose the size of the particles accordingly to your skin’s sensitivity). Apply this mixture to your face and gently massage it for about 3 minutes. Then rinse it off.
- Follow-up with your skincare routine: Don’t forget about toning and moisturizing.
Steaming Your Face With Mint
This steam is suited for oily skin and acne-prone skin types. The benefit is that mint helps to tighten facial pores.
If you have acne-prone skin, steam with peppermint leaves will be particularly beneficial.
Experts recommend performing this peppermint steam treatment no more than twice a week3.
What Should Be Done After Steaming Face?
Different skin types require different after-steam care steps that should be performed4.
Here are my tips on what to do after steaming your face, depending on your skin needs.
If you have dry skin, your after-steaming care should focus on adding moisture back to your skin and locking it in.
Applying a regular moisturizer is essential, but if you want your skin to feel ultra-hydrated, do a whole moisturizing routine:
Start your skincare routine with a hydrating toner to balance back your skin’s natural pH after the face steaming session. Look for ingredients like rose water or chamomile.
Next, hydrate your thirsty skin with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E or propolis facial serum.
In the next step, apply a moisture-rich sheet mask.
Seal everything in with a thick, creamy moisturizer that contains for example: squalane, birch sap, ceramides or propolis.
After-steam skin care routine for sensitive skin should include a final round of cleansing, with a fragrance-free gentle face wash, to avoid irritating or compromising your skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Use mild milky facial cleanser to completely remove any impurities left after steaming.
Then, apply alcohol-free, hypoallergenic toner with soothing ingredients like aloe vera, cucumber, or Centella Asiatica to calm your reactive skin.
If you have time to perform longer skincare routine, now you can apply essence, ampoule and/or serum, specifically designed for sensitive skin. Look for products containing ingredients like chamomile extract or calendula to reduce redness and inflammation.
After that, follow up with a hypoallergenic fragrance-free moisturizer to provide gentle hydration without irritating your skin.
Steaming is definitely beneficial for oily skin, but that extra moisture and heat from steam can make it look more oily right after.
The first step should be gentle cleansing to remove softened oils and dirt. If you like homemade remedies, use diluted lemon juice to remove excess sebum after steaming session.
Then, apply mild, alcohol-free toner to balance your skin’s pH levels and tighten the pores. If your skin is oily and sensitive, rose water is a good choice.
Next step is optional: essence and/or serum. If you use these products, apply a lightweight, non-comedogenic option to avoid clogging pores. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid or salicylic acid.
After that, you can use a pore-tightening sheet mask.
Your oily skin after-steam care should end with an oil-free, gel-based moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated without adding excess oil. Glycerin is one the ingredients recommended for oily skin, just like hyaluronic acid and tea tree and Cica.
Regardless of your skin type, make sure to finish your AM skincare routine with sunscreen.
Should I Wash My Face After Steaming?
Yes, it’s generally recommended to wash your face after steaming.
Steaming loosens up your pores, making it easier for impurities, dirt, and excess oils to be released. Washing your face after steaming helps to remove all that gunk, ensuring your skin is thoroughly cleansed, and the pores are unclogged.
Additionally, washing your face after steaming also helps to cool down your skin and shrink the pores afterwards, preventing dirt from entering.
This post-steaming cleanse is especially important if you have oily or acne-prone skin, or you struggle with clogged pores, as it ensures a deep clean, promoting a clearer complexion.
After steaming, it’s advisable to use warm water instead of cold. Cold water can shock your skin, causing the pores to close abruptly, potentially trapping impurities inside.
How Do You Close Your Pores After Steaming?
After steaming your face you should apply toner to close your pores (or to be precise – to make them look smaller).
Remember that steaming can’t change the size of the pores (it doesn’t enlarge or shrinks them). The steam can only soften up and loosen the dirt that is trapped inside the pores5.
Cleaning the pores naturally tightens them. Once the dirt from your pores is removed, they no longer have to stretch to fit all that debris.
This means that your face sauna session can help unclog the pores and make them absorb your skincare products way better.
Of course I recommend you to use the facial toner that will help to make the pores look smaller. Besides, toner will balance your skin’s pH, which is very important for keeping healthy skin barrier.
Here are my tips for ingredients to look for in facial toners, depending on your skin type:
- Acne & oily skin: Witch hazel, tea tree (to control excess oil production).
- Dry & sensitive skin: Chamomile, aloe vera, rose water, Cica.
- Mature skin: Hyaluronic acid, mugwort, snail mucin.
Benefits Of Face Steaming
Here are some of the key benefits of steaming your face:
- Deep cleansing
Face steaming loosens up trapped dirt, and excess oils, to be easily removed, leaving your skin cleaner and fresher.
- Improved blood circulation
Thanks to warm steam your blood circulation is enhanced therefore more more oxygen and nutrients get to the skin.
Steaming softens dead skin cells and blackheads, making it easier to slough them off, revealing a smoother and more radiant complexion.
The moisture from the steam hydrates your skin, making it softer and more supple, especially beneficial for dry skin types.
- Acne prevention
By clearing out pores, steaming helps prevent acne breakouts and reduces the appearance of existing blemishes, promoting clearer skin.
- Enhanced absorption
Steamed skin is more receptive to skincare products, allowing them to penetrate deeper, maximizing their effectiveness and benefits.
Beyond the physical benefits, face steaming offers a soothing, spa-like experience, promoting relaxation and reducing stress, which indirectly contributes to healthier-looking skin.
Possible Side Effects Of Facial Steaming
Although face steaming sessions have many health benefits, you need to take a few precautions as it’s not recommended for every skin type and skin concern!
- Aggravation of existing skin conditions
Steaming can worsen conditions like rosacea or eczema, leading to increased redness and inflammation. You should be careful with steaming if you’re dealing with these skin conditions.
- Skin dryness
Excessive steaming can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and potential irritation. Don’t overdo the steaming, if you already have dehydrated skin.
- Excessive redress
The blood vessels get dilated during steaming, which can lead to redness, especially if you have sensitive skin.
- Burns or scalds
If the steam is too hot or if you get too close to the steam source, it can cause burns or scalds, resulting in redness and discomfort.
- Broken capillaries
The heat from the steam can dilate blood vessels, possibly causing broken capillaries, particularly for individuals with sensitive skin.
- Overstimulation of oil glands
Steaming excessively may overstimulate oil glands, leading to an increase in oil production and potentially exacerbating acne.
Tips For Safe & Effective Facial Steaming Sessions
- Cleanse your face
Use a mild face wash before steaming session. This should always be step one.
- Use filtered or distilled water
Tap water may contain impurities that can irritate your skin.
- Monitor steam temperature
Before you lean over the bowl, check if the steam temperature is comfortable, to avoid burns. It should be warm, not scalding hot.
- Limit session duration
Don’t steam your face for more than 10-15 minutes.
- Avoid over-steaming
Limit facial steaming sessions to once or twice a week. Over-steaming can lead to skin dryness, sensitivity, and other issues.
- Follow with toning
After steaming apply a gentle alcohol-free toner to balance your skin’s pH levels. This will also make pores look smaller.
- Use a face mask
Your skin is particularly receptive to products after steaming, making it the ideal time to apply your favorite sheet mask.
Apply moisturizer to lock in the hydration and make sure that your skin retains all facial steaming benefits. Just make sure to choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer, suitable for your skin type.
Is Facial Steaming Good For Acne Prone Skin?
Facial steaming can be beneficial for acne-prone skin when done correctly and in moderation. The warm steam helps to open up pores, making it easier to remove impurities, excess oils, and dead skin cells that can contribute to acne. Additionally, steaming can improve blood circulation, promoting skin healing and regeneration.
However, it’s crucial to exercise caution. Over-steaming can potentially worsen acne by overstimulating the sebaceous glands, leading to increased oil production.
Moreover, if you have active, inflamed acne lesions, steaming can exacerbate the inflammation.
For individuals with acne-prone skin, it’s recommended to limit steaming sessions to once a week and to follow it up with a gentle skincare routine, including toning and moisturizing.
It’s also advisable to consult with a dermatologist before incorporating facial steaming into your skincare regimen, as they can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific skin condition.
Why Do I Get Pimples After Steaming?
Pimples after steaming can occur due to increased oil production. Steaming opens pores, allowing oils, dead skin cells, and bacteria to surface.
If not properly cleansed afterward, these impurities can block pores, leading to pimples. It’s essential to cleanse, tone, and moisturize after steaming to prevent this.
Is Facial Steaming Necessary?
Facial steaming is not necessary for everyone. While it can benefit certain skin types by opening pores and enhancing product absorption, it’s not a fundamental step for everyone’s skincare routine.
Individuals with specific skin concerns, such as clogged pores or dry skin, may find it beneficial, but it’s not a universally essential practice.
Can I Steam My Face Every Day?
Although facial steaming is a relaxing experience that helps to detoxify skin, it’s not safe to be done every day.
Daily steaming can lead to overstimulation of oil glands, causing excess oil production, and may disrupt the skin’s natural balance. This can be especially problematic for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin, exacerbating these concerns.
Moreover, frequent steaming can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and sensitivity, particularly for those with dry or sensitive skin.
You can get best results by performing steaming session once per week, for about 10 minutes6, or as advised by your dermatologist.
For individuals with active acne, frequent steaming can worsen their condition. The increased heat and moisture can escalate inflammation and redness, making acne lesions more aggravated.
People with sensitive skin are prone to irritation and redness; excessive steaming can disrupt their skin’s natural barrier, leading to heightened sensitivity, discomfort, and even rashes.
Similarly, individuals with rosacea, a chronic skin condition characterized by facial redness and visible blood vessels, can experience flare-ups due to the dilation of blood vessels caused by the heat from steaming.
In all these cases, you should first consult your dermatologist before including facial steaming sessions into your skin care routine.
The purpose of this article is informative and entertaining. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Safety should be your priority.