Facial steaming has long been loved by beauty editors and skincare aficionados alike. According to New York City dermatologist Dennis Gross, “By steaming, you’ve primed your face for exfoliation and targeted treatments.” Speaking to ELLE, he continued, “Ingredients like retinol and vitamin C will absorb deeper into the skin for even better results.”
Esthetician Tarin Graham agrees, telling ELLE, “It helps dry skin by adding moisture, opens pores to allow better penetration of products, relieves sinus congestion, and promotes blood circulation.” But how often should you be using facial steamers? And, more importantly, what happens if you use a facial steamer every day?
You should only use your facial steamer once a week
Gross recommends using a facial steamer no more than once a week, and you’ll only want to use it for about five to 10 minutes at a time. “By doing this, you will see both immediate and long-term results,” he told ELLE. Doing any more than that and you can “can dry out the skin and cause inflammation,” Graham added.
Dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., at Schweiger Dermatology Group, agrees, explaining to Marie Claire that the biggest risk of using your facial steamer too often and for too long is overheating. “The heat that you’re exposing your skin to causes dilation of blood vessels — leading to flushing, increased inflammation, and worsening of conditions like rosacea,” Nazarian told Marie Claire. “Hotter temperatures and hot water strip more natural moisturizers from skin then cooler temperatures.”
Facial steamers can damage sensitive skin
If you’re considering using a facial steamer, it’s important to consider whether its right for you and your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., recommends skipping facial steamers altogether. “For my sensitive skin, I avoid ‘hot and steamy’ at all costs,” she told Refinery29. “No very hot water, no steam rooms, no saunas, and no steam facials.”
If you think your skin can handle it, remember that you are not a professional and should not try and conduct your extractions after steaming. “Just because you steam the face doesn’t mean you have license to pick at every bump, New York City facialist Cecilia Wong warned Refinery29. “Never use fingers, only Q-tips. It’s very difficult to get a good angle for real extraction on one’s own face, and going too vigorously on softened, steamed skin could lead to scars.”
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