It’s no secret that steam, whether it comes from the sauna or your shower, has a way of soothing aches and pains and easing colds and congestion. But, did you know that a quick 5-minute facial steam can impart the same benefit as a full body soak? When you only have a few minutes to decompress and pamper yourself, opt for a homemade facial steam to keep colds at bay and get that circulation pumping!
Steam for Skin
When we are young, our skin cells shed every 28 days, revealing newer skin cells and fresher, more youthful looking skin. As we age, those dead skin cells hang on for dear life, and rejuvenation is far less frequent. A weekly 5-minute facial steam can help lift away the old skin cells to make room for the new.
How? The warmth and moisture of a facial steam “opens” pores and increases perspiration. Perspiration is 99% water, and as the water flows from your pores, so do the toxins, dead skin cells, bacteria and other debris that’s been trapped at the skin’s surface. Essentially, your cleansing your skin with steam and sweat!
Our skin is moisturized by natural skin oil called sebum. Sebum is produced in the sebaceous glands of the hair follicles. When these hair follicles become clogged by excessive sebum or bacteria, acne and blackheads develop. A facial steam unclogs the hair follicles, releasing trapped oil and bacteria.
A 5-minute facial steam also boosts blood flow in the skin. When you expose your skin to heat and steam, skin receptors send a signal to the brain that the “heat is on!” The brain then activates a thermoregulating response that causes blood vessels in the skin to dilate and increase blood flow to the area. The blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the tissue, giving skin a healthy, radiant glow.
Steam for Health
Looking good is just one benefit of a 5-minute facial steam. Steam also eases colds, congestion, and coughs by loosening mucus so that you can breathe easier. Put a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in your facial steam to help ease inflammation when you’re stuck in the grip of annoying sinus congestion.
Facial Steam Tips
Start with clean skin and hair pulled back out of your way. Warm water to approximately 110° F. Upon boiling, pour water into a bowl and make a tent with a towel over the bowl and your head. Keep your face 12-18 inches away from the steam. It’s important not to get too close to the heat, as too much increased blood flow can cause broken capillaries under the skin.
What to put in the bowl? Whatever you have handy! Pure water will do the trick, but open up an herbal tea bag and throw in the leaves. Or get fancy with lemon slices, peppermint, cloves, rosemary, and cinnamon!
Splash your face with cold water to shrink back up those pores, and apply a decadent moisturizer to your beautifully prepped skin.
Too much of a good thing applies to facial steams as much as it applies to cookies. Only steam for five to seven minutes once a week, as any more heat may dry out your skin.